Vision and Purpose
Vision and Purpose. Common enough words these days, but pretty difficult to figure out. There’ve been so many words like this used and misused in corporate circles and the ‘happiness’ industry, that it’s any wonder some value remains in them today.
They are though important and useful words. They can provoke a wide range of definitions, so I’ll offer mine based on the value I believe these are to us personally, and having wound my way also through happy corporatism.
Simple enough. Although one’s answer might easily sound like something from a Miss America pageant… “Well, I’d like World Peace and I’d like all the starving children not to go hungry.” Yes, indeed. Of course.
Our Vision is the picture we have of our future world, and it can be as broad or as specific as it is useful to us. Too broad and it gets too big for one person (unless maybe you’re a world leader); too specific and it only lasts until tomorrow.
Your vision may be world-embracing, or it may be the world closer to you – your family, the nature of your career, the kind of life you’d like to lead, or these and other things combined.
What would be the life that would make you feel you were at your best?
What would be the life that gave you the most satisfaction?
What would be the life that plays best to your strengths?
What would the life of the best you that you can think of look like?
What does that future life feel like?
And is there a sense of when you can achieve this Vision? I generally suggest folks think five years out from now – ahead that is. Or maybe ten, but the world is changing so fast, I think that can be too far.
Your Vision may be enormous – let’s say it is World Peace. It may or may not be that you achieve your Vision in your lifetime even. That’s okay. If this is the thing that is truly going to drive your Purpose, then that’s fine. In all likelihood though, you will want and need to bring such an enormous vision down to earth a little. On the other hand, don’t not aim for the stars if that’s where you believe you need to be. I know of a young woman who wants to travel to Mars, and has wanted to her whole life. That’s her vision and she’s never given up on it.
Your vision may take your whole life to achieve – that’s also fine. It’s true that it’s as much about the journey as the destination. You may also reach points of wanting to re-define or re-establish your vision.
And so to purpose… it’s a very large philosophical question to ask whether human beings themselves have a purpose, and answering it would take centuries, if indeed a definitive answer were possible. Whether we have purpose as a species or not, I believe as individuals we must have one just the same. Either a clearly articulated purpose, or as many may put it, a sense of purpose.
Your purpose is the putting into action of your vision – some will also use the term mission, and some will differentiate further between purpose and mission and even goals, but let’s keep it simple. Your purpose is what you DO. Do you heal? Do you teach? Do you write? Do you inspire? Do you invent? Do you do all those things or some combination of them?
quote: Steve Maraboli; photo: The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, 1963
If you’re joining our course today, then you have started on a path that will continue for the rest of your life, sometimes clear, sometimes obscured, but like the sun: always there. Your Vision is happening now. Congratulations!