Last month, I attended one of the most beautiful and fun weddings I’ve been to. One of my besties got married and it was an opportunity to catch up with many old friends and acquaintances, and make new ones too.
I ended up having quite a few interesting conversations about purpose. This topic often came up in the context of talking about what we do professionally and me prodding into the why.
Some people hadn’t thought much about why they were doing what they were doing – beyond making a living. Some were curious as to how you even go about finding your purpose or discovering your why.
Good question! I thought. And an ideal topic for an episode of Soulful Branding Live with Lulu :).
Purpose can be defined as “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists” [Dictionary on Mac].
From a Soulful Branding lens, your purpose in life very much influences your professional purpose. Whether you’re thinking about your personal branding but also if you’re thinking about your business branding – the reason behind what you do and what you stand for – your WHY – is ideally what you want to put across.
This is what people will resonate with – more and more, we as consumers want to know more about what we’re buying into. We care about having shared values with the businesses we patronize.
Your why is what will help people choose you when they’re presented with similar options. I believe that your unique perspective is often tied to or driven by your purpose (even unconsciously!).
Your why is what will help you rise above competing on price. When people like your product or service, and additionally resonate with your purpose, cost becomes less and less of an issue.
So how do we go about finding this sometimes elusive purpose thing?
Today I wanted to share some lines of enquiry that have helped me figure out and refine what my purpose is. That have helped me to clarify my WHY.
They’ve helped me figure out my purpose as an individual first, and this has naturally informed the purpose behind what I do professionally and with my businesses.
Beth Kirby is somebody whose work I follow who I felt really described what your why is quite well. She suggests that it is:
“the thing that, at your core, inspires you. It’s your reason for getting up everyday, personally and professionally. It’s what fires you up & excites you. What you could spend hours doing and time disappears. It’s the place where your values, passions, talents, and skills intersect to bring value to the lives of others.”
Her Intentional Goal-Setting workbook, as well as The Life Plan book by Shannah Kennedy, have some great questions to inspire the kind of soul-searching that results in answers that can help you in finding your purpose.
The following questions are inspired by both of these resources.
Discover your why
If you already have a journaling practice, use these questions as journaling prompts.
If you don’t, simply reflect on each question and note down on paper (or on a screen), all the things that come to mind. Favour getting everything out, as opposed to striving to instantly come up with the perfect response (I’m talking to you – over-thinkers!)
What’s most important to you?
This can include ideas, things, people, places etc.
What inspires you?
What stirs excitement in you and influences your thoughts, ideas and action?
What makes you feel alive?
When gets you to that high vibrational feeling? What sets your soul on fire?
What comes naturally to you?
What are those abilities you sometimes take for granted because they come so easily to you.
What do you love to do?
Think of times when you’ve felt in total joyous flow – what was happening?
What do you care about? What change do you want to see/create?
When you’ve answered all of these questions, look at your answers and identify the common themes and the thread that connects them. Think of your purpose – your why – as how you can bring together all the things you care about, that are important to you, and that you love to do – and harness them in a way that creates value for others.
Start with why
Once you’ve done this exercise, you can start to apply it! Using your why as a compass for all your activities (and to help you say “no” also!).
I highly recommend checking out this Ted Talk featuring Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why. The book proposes that some people and organisations demonstrate more excellence than others, continuously and consistently, because of their clarity about why they do what they do.
More tools for finding your purpose
My free webinar, 5 steps to level up your soulful brand, also has some unorthodox lines of enquiry to help you better articulate what your purpose is and what’s special and unique about you. Check it out anytime here.
Please share your questions – or experiences – in the comments. I’d love to read them!
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