The other day I shared with my husband for the hundredth time (or more) how I planned to try and complete a book project I started many years ago. Doing so will cost me a lot of money—money that definitely could be better spent elsewhere in my business.
I’ve even brought in a partner for this project. And now he is invested in seeing it brought to completion. He’d like to earn some money for his time and effort, too.
My husband asked, “Does publishing this book really serve your purpose? It isn’t really what you do. Will it get you where you are going?”
These are the kinds of questions I typically ask my clients—and myself. Yet, I hadn’t been asking them.
I hate to leave anything unfinished. And it sickens me to think I spent more than a year on this project and won’t ever see it completed. Plus, the book involves 90 people whose contributions will never see the light of day if I don’t publish it.
I had to really stop and think about the project—and the funds and time I planned to commit to it. In fact, it is far from on purpose in many ways. I knew I had to make a huge decision: Drop the project entirely or find a different way to complete it that would not use up so many of my resources but would still give me and my partner a sense of completion—and a way to earn back our investment.
Are You On Purpose in Your Life and Work?
The most important question you can ask yourself when you make decisions about where to spend your time and energy is, “Does this serve my purpose?” And this remains true for every aspect of your life. Work is just one aspect of your life.
That means you should ask:
- Does eating this particular food serve my purpose—to feel good or to lose or maintain my weight?
- Does sharing this particular thought with my spouse serve my purpose—make our relationship closer or more honest?
- Does taking on this project get me one step closer to professional goals—or simply take up my time and energy so I can’t focus on those goals?
- Does spending time with this person serve my purpose—make me feel good, support or serve them or me, enrich my life?
- Does this particular activity serve my purpose—help me fulfill my potential, allow me to play or relax, enrich my mind, develop new relationships, etc.?
Do You Always Have To Be On Purpose?
It can be difficult to look at life this way. Sometimes you just want to sit in front of the television and “veg out.” Yet, this activity could serve your purpose by allowing you to simply relax for an hour or two and enjoy a pleasant show with your family, especially if you have worked hard all day on other on-purpose projects. This can still represent a conscious and on-purpose choice.
If you live your life on purpose all the time you will find that at the end of each day you feel you have been at choice in your decisions and have progressed toward your goals. I know you will feel closer to fulfilling both your potential and your purpose here in this lifetime. I can’t say I always succeed at doing this, but I’m trying to remember to ask the question more and more often. It’s my goal to live on purpose 100 percent of the time.
Do you live your life on purpose? Share your tips for doing so in the comment section below.