Success depends on your understanding of why you do what you do. You cannot define the “what” or the “how” unless you have clarity on the “why.” Know the reason – the original intent, the purpose – for what you do and you’ll go farther, faster. You will learn more. You will grow more. And, ultimately, you will be better equipped to help someone else do the same. To help you gain clarity, follow these four simple steps.

1. State your purpose. State your why. (Write it down.)

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Many people lack direction because they do not know their purpose in life. Your purpose is like your mission.  Sure, we have great knowledge of our gifts and talents. We even focus heavily on developing our gifts and talents and putting them to use. Yet, we lack the understanding of our purpose behind those gifts and talents. And, because we do not know or understand our purpose, the use of our gifts and talents are more apt to be abused and misused which will lead to frustration and burnout. For example, start with statements like these.

  • I was created to __________.
  • I exist to __________.
  • I am good at (insert your gift or talent) because I was created to __________.

2. Define for yourself a vision statement. Define your what.

What is your end game? What would you like to see yourself doing? And, don’t just think long term, define for yourself a 6-month or a 12-month vision statement. This will help to clarify your mission and always keep you operating within your purpose. A personal vision statement need not be elaborate. It too can be simple. For example, start with answering this question. My life vision is to __________.

3. Build your own personal strategic plan. Define your how.

Strategic plan sounds so corporate. It makes what we are working on seem larger than life. Honestly, what you are working on, your life work, is larger than life. And, your plan of action – your strategic plan – will guide you through the process. Your strategic plan should include your goals and objectives. Simply put, it should state what you are going to do, how you are going to do it and in what timeframe you are going to do it.

4. Go do it. Go live your life on purpose, with purpose.

Now that you know your why, you have clarity on your what, and you have defined your how, go do it. Now, you can live out your coming days with clear direction always having a guide to help you maintain your course and be successful at it. Finally, knowing these things will eliminate you wasting time doing things that you have no business doing. It will keep you from allowing others to dictate your comings and your goings. And, it will eliminate the possibility of you getting burned out. People who live out their purpose do not suffer from burn out.

[Adapted from “Understand Your Why” at]