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The SeamLess Life

Issue #8, August 24, 1998

The Power of Purpose

"Live from a Deep Place."
--Rainer Rilke

In The SeamLess Life #7, we outlined the 7 facets of what we called The Declaration of Y.O.U., the essential steppingstones for living from a "Deep Place." It's not easy to find our Deep Place when our lives are cluttered and busy. What it requires is being still and quiet, focusing on beginning the work that we describe below. And making a commitment to yourself--putting yourself at the top of your to-do list. There are no slogans, no easy short-cuts. You are getting to know yourself fully. It brings you to the willingness to live close to your heart as well as through your intellect.

Finding your Deep Place, we believe, begins with discovering your Lively Vision and your Purpose. Knowing both gives you incredible power to choose and to act.

That's what it did for Terry Fox, a young man from Canada. Terry was an athlete who was stricken with cancer, lost one of his legs, and was naturally depressed about his situation. He had lost his sense of a viable future. Some months into his recovery, after being fitted with a wooden leg, Terry did the serious work of reconsidering who he was. He discovered a Lively Vision: that people in his area would care enough about cancer to contribute money to find a cure for bone cancer. Then, he found his own personal Purpose. He would be the carrier of the message that if communities contributed, a cure could be found. Shortly thereafter, his Missionsurfaced: He would run across Canada, from coast to coast, bearing personal witness to the strength of the human spirit and the need for a cure.

Terry's run across Canada was filmed and made visible to many people. Your work may be known only to you. It doesn't matter how public your Vision, Purpose and Mission are. What is important is that you clearly articulate them, commit yourself, and use them to create meaningful work and a satisfying life. You know how to live, work, and be "on purpose."

You are Purpose-full.


Your Vision is a statement of the world in which you want to live. You don't need to consider the whole planet unless you want to. Just your personal world of friends, community, work colleagues. The world that touches you in some way every day.

  1. List the Top Ten things you love to do, or have always done and loved.

    Name several things that you have consistently made part of your life, no matter what the circumstances. Your networking with like-minded people, your spirituality, your creativity at work. Or, your heart-felt communications. Your ability to take action under pressure.

  2. Now, identify the environment that supports your list.

    a)     List the qualities of people you want and need to be around to accomplish your Top Ten. Draw a series of concentric circles on a blank piece of paper, and put "ME" in the center circles. Each circle represents a group of people who is important to you. Put those closest to you, who affect you most, in the circle next to you. Then, continue to draw your circles outward: for family, friends, work colleagues, professional groups, community. In each circle, list a few words that describe the qualities this group must have to support you in just the way you need and want.

    b)      Identify the other resources that are essential to you: peacefulness, a natural environment, other creative people. Ask yourself, "What are the essential supporting features of the world I want to live in so that I can be at my best?"

  3. Using the phrases you've generated in #2, write a 1-2 sentence stating your Lively Vision of the world you want to live in.

    This is the path of least resistance for you, the one you flourish in and want to create for yourself through purpose-full action. In one sentence you crystallize what is essential. For example, "My vision is all people of the world will be able to live their life at choice--in the way that matters to them." This vision says that choice is what is essential for the writer.


Your Purpose serves you in many ways. It is your compelling reason to be. It gives meaning to your work and your life. It guides your choices. You may refer to your purpose by other names. Some people describe it as their "calling." Whatever its name, it profoundly shapes the direction of your life. As Frederic Hudson says, "Your values, deep energy, and passionate destinations are all wrapped up into one profound sense of purpose, pulling you ahead into more of yourself, through the chapters of your life."

Do the following to begin to put words to your Purpose:

  1. Ask yourself, "What is my part in creating the world of my Lively Vision?"

    Brainstorm the things you want to do, are personally drawn to do, which create the world in which you want to live. Include the qualities and characteristics which you must show to have your purpose create your vision. Must you be a partner? A leader? With whom do you partner or lead? What qualities define the way in which you will do what you do? Spirit? Courage? Respect? Wisdom?

  2. Explore 5-10 experiences in the past 5 years when you felt you were living and being "on purpose."

    Your purpose statement is unique to you. In fact, you have been living out your purpose in some way, even if you are not conscious of it. That means you can plumb your past to find your purpose.

    For each of the 5-10 experiences you list, write a paragraph about each of these experiences. Write down what you did, where you were, what the outcome was, how you felt. And, the paragraph should answer the questions, "What was essential to my sense of being 'on purpose?'" " What about this experience was richly satisfying?" "What was of value here for me?"

    Once you've written your paragraphs, underline the key words from each experience. Put all of the underlined words on a separate page. Examine them and find the commonalities, the themes among them. These are the phrases you will use to build your statement of purpose.

  3. Draft a 2-4 sentence statement of your purpose.

    Every person has a unique purpose. So no one else's statement can fit you. How does a purpose statement sound? Here are a couple of examples:

    Example 1
    "My purpose is to support and partner personally and professionally with leaders who want to create organizations where the human spirit thrives."

    Example 2
    "My purpose is to workgenerously and to live in service; to manifest love through connecting and caring for self and others. To support the development of inner wisdom and inner peace in myself, my colleagues, my clients, and my community.

    Example 3
    "My purpose is to build and lead businesses which model the best practices in our industry, are profitable financially and viable long-term, and which offer dedicated workers meaningful work and sustained employment."

    Draft a version of your purpose. Don't expect yourself to get it just right in one hour. Let your draft incubate for several days. Getting it 85% right is enough for now. Read it to others and get feedback.

  4. Test Your Purpose.

    A good purpose statement pulls you toward it. It engenders energy--like the wind in your sails. You know where you are headed when your purpose is clear. Does your statement help to clarify for you what you'll do in your work, in your life?

    Here are some clues that you've connected with your purpose: - you feel the connection with the purpose you've described, - you have a desire to fulfill it, - you feel deep pleasure when you act in concert with it, - your interests naturally gravitate toward fulfilling it.

  5. Use Written Resources to help you.

    Sometimes it helps to read about how others have discovered and lived their purpose. Here are several of our favorite resources.

    Laurie Beth Jones, The Path.

    Barbara Braham, Finding Your Purpose.

    Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. (Covey focuses on principles but the intent is the same.)

You may never run across Canada to fulfill your purpose, or get in the news, like Terry Fox. But knowing and living your purpose is a means to meaningful work and a fulfilling life.

Contact us if you have questions or need assistance in creating your purpose. Our purpose is to partner with people just like you!

Contact us with questions or suggestions.
Sherry can be reached at
The Lowry Group, Austin, Texas USA,

Ph: 512-527-0097

Diane and Sherry's book, Discovering Your Best Self Through the Art of Coaching, can be ordered at

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Text © Diane Menendez & Sherry Lowry, 1998, 1999. Part of the original Sideroad.
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