Personal Development

How to Write Your Personal “Life Purpose Statement”: A Guide to Successful Living

Woman writing in book with coffee mug beside it

We live as an example of peaceful and intentional living. We believe that you can achieve long-term success, impact lives, and have a positive purpose filled and united family. 

It’s a pretty clear and bold statement. You might be asking, “Hannah, why the heck did you start your article with this random phrase?”

Well, if you have landed here at KNOWLEJOBLE, you will find that we create all our content with the purpose statement you just read in mind.

Our purpose statement describes the purpose of the company that my husband and I created. And it embodies the greater purpose of our mission impacts many aspects of life. We channel our mission through our articles (no matter what the topic is) and we use it as a “north star” to help us decide how to grow KNOWLEJOBLE further. Our purpose statement helps us to align our decisions and keeps us on track.

Purpose, vision, and mission statements are critical to long-term success

I have written about them repeatedly. So much so that you might think I’m a bit of a broken record.

But since every area of your career is strengthened by knowing what your life purpose is, it’s is a core topic that I want to empower you to understand. Everything comes down to your why.

Your purpose statement solidifies your “why” and helps you to communicate it with others. Your mission creates a powerful bond to your own self and builds your personal brand.

Marketing talks a lot about branding. So you might be wondering why I am talking about it in the context of your career? But your career progression requires that you become the #1 marketer of your skills, strengths, and purpose. It is a responsibility not to take lightly.

Your personal brand goes with you everywhere. You cannot separate yourself from it. Understanding and communicating your personal brand is vital so that people understand who you are, and why they should get to know you. They want to know what value you can provide to them and your life’s purpose statement gives them the answer.

A clear mission statement translates into understanding and directing your career in a personalized direction. It also allows others to understand the purpose of your journey.

What is a purpose statement?

A purpose statement is a short sentence or two that defines the reason why you exist on the earth. Depending on your faith and spiritual life, you may believe (like I do) that your purpose has been given to you by a creator/God. Or you might believe that it is linked to the essence of your soul.

Your purpose statement is a guiding statement that you can use to live life with more peace (who doesn’t want that?). One of the greatest challenges we face is the amount of opportunity that we have at our fingertips. In North America, there is so much opportunity for us to pursue new things, learn new topics, make new decisions, and accumulate more “stuff”. But if we don’t know which things or topics are actually valuable to us we start to feel overwhelmed.

We become overextended and stressed out.

Sound familiar?

Your purpose statement can help you identify how to focus your time and your attention, decide what to do with your free time, and how to set your long-term goals.

By developing a purpose statement you understand yourself better. You understand the important things and how to create your life to be the best version for you.

Your purpose statement is going to look different from someone else’s

And it should be personal to you. It helps to really align your life with your specific goals.

Our purpose statement as a couple is different from our individual purpose statements. I gave you our purpose statement as a couple earlier, but my individual purpose statement is more specifically tailored to my skills, strengths and the specific areas that I want to impact the world.

And the same is true for you.

Even if you have a company mission statement that you have for your business or a work mission statement that you follow at work — your can craft an individual statement just for you.

Why are purpose statements beneficial?

It’s a good idea to develop a personal mission statement because it helps you to understand your true self. To develop a personal mission statement you need to ask yourself deep questions that you may have never thought of before. You uncover the layers of motivation and drive that you may not have found without developing your mission statement. Knowing these factors helps you to direct your next steps. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, unsure, uncertain or undirected it could be because you do not have a good understanding of your life purpose.

Imagine someone who is experiencing a mid-life crisis

You might imagine someone buying a fancy car, changing their hairstyle, and buying a brand new wardrobe of clothes. Or someone who is scrambling and looking for a new sense of identity.

They’re looking for a purpose in the factors that are external to themselves… the “stuff” of life.

But we are capable of experiencing these crises of identity throughout your life, not just in mid-life. And when you are experiencing an identity crisis it often comes down to lacking a clear understanding of your purpose or intention.

Just like signs on a highway, to know if you’re heading in the right “life direction” you need to have road markers and signposts for your life. And although your mission statement can adapt throughout your life, it will always integrate the same core values. And your core values are your signposts.

Mission statements allow you to make the right choices that will lead you in the right direction. This limits your stress and reduces time-wasting or striving for something that is not true to you.

It is also beneficial because it helps you to say “no” to things that you might have otherwise said yes to. For example, I have the opportunity right now to buy a whole new set of clothes for my closet. I can financially afford to go on a shopping spree. I have the time to do it. I have the interest to do it. But my purpose right now is not aligned with me buying clothes. Building KNOWLEJOBLE is one of the best ways that I am currently acting on my purpose. Spending hours at boutiques is not going to help! I have to stay focused on the tasks that I need to do to build KNOWELJOBLE and help impact your career and life journey.

My purpose statement guides my decision-making.

Hard work without purpose is wasted energy

Here’s the story of someone that I’ve recently connected with:

She is working incredibly hard and has recently finished a degree from a prominent university. Working hard during her degree was not difficult for her because she knew that her purpose was to graduate (which would help her get a job).

But when she finished her degree she was uncertain about the next steps in her career. She didn’t know what jobs to apply for, how to get a job, or which type of position would be right for her. Ultimately, she was very stressed out and concerned that all the hard work she put into the university process was not worth anything.

This young professional knows how to work hard and has translated that hard work ethic into her job search. But here’s the important thing, she doesn’t know her direction. And the hard work feels like she is on a treadmill.

This life transition is common for you to feel an extra level of stress. Not only are you moving from the safety of a university or college education, but you also have the stress and intimidation of launching the next stage of your life.

Figuring out what jobs to apply for is not the first step for her. The important step was for her to define her life purpose. When you figure out your direction and can define it clearly, it is much easier to pick a career trajectory. And you feel more grounded in each of your decisions.

She needed to be reminded that her personal goals did not need to align with the lives of others.

Many jobs can align with your purpose, so the job is less important than understanding your mission.

Successful people have harped on “mission” for centuries

Successful people often attribute their success to focusing on their mission. They don’t just have mission statements for their companies and their careers, but they have personal mission statements that help to align their life in a streamlined direction.

Many successful people will invest time and money into determining their vision statement, and then they will live by it and proclaim it throughout their lives. Richard Branson is a great example. His mission statement is

 “To have fun in (my) journey through life and learn from (my) mistakes.”

Now that doesn’t sound like it’s very business-y or work focussed. But Richard Branson has built millions of dollars of businesses in a variety of different industries. And his mission statement has helped him to progress those companies forwards despite it being non-traditional.

Successful people (famous or not) will invest their focus their energy and their time into following their mission statement and staying true to who it is that they are. They are intentional about how they represent themselves in the world.

Use your purpose to determine your definition of work-life balance

Focusing on your mission statement will help you to understand your definition of work-life balance.

This buzzword has been in the media for a long time and it still feels like we have a very limited perception of what “work-life balance” means. People use the phrase “work-life balance” to guilt people into taking time off, to make them feel like they need to invest time into social activities, or to make it seem like they don’t need to be working as much as they are. It implies that someone does not know how to effectively prioritize their time and should learn to put boundaries in place. While often this is true, it paints a blanket statement about people’s passions and visions for life.

If you tell someone that they need a more balanced life, it implies that their current priorities are not correct. But if they’re aligned with their life’s purpose statement then their work-life is probably in balance.

True balance is defined by how you work towards your purpose, rather than whether or not you work an 8 hour day, 5 days per week.

I am a great example of this. My balance comes from the way that I perceive my purpose. I pursue my purpose at my day job and while I am writing articles and creating content for people like you. My purpose is to empower individuals to work towards a peace-filled and intentional life. And I choose to act on that purpose in my career and family life.

Here is an example of a balanced day:

  • waking up and going for a walk with my Dog
  • eating a healthy breakfast
  • working my day job (with a lunchtime walk too)
  • cooking dinner 
  • working out (with my hubby)
  • creating meaningful content for KNOWELJOBLE (also with my hubby)

Sometimes this means that I “work” for 12 to 14 hours a day in front of a laptop. I spend a lot of time thinking and creating.

To some people that seems way out of balance. And that would be out of balance for me too if these activities were not aligned with my passion and my purpose.

By following my passion and purpose I am aligning my activities with something that energizes me. And although I still need to remember to take breaks and enjoy things outside of my purpose and passion, I want to commit a good amount of my time to both my day job and to building the content for KNOWLEJOBLE.

I have found so much freedom in understanding my purpose. So by pursuing your purpose you develop the right type of work-life balance for you. This is a much more strategic approach to the way you organize your time. Rather than accepting the fact that you think you should only work 8 hours a day because someone has else said so, you can define your balance.

Creating your purpose statement

The best ways to create your purpose statement is to think about the deep and heartfelt answers to some key questions. I wrote about this in a previous article, but here are the questions for you to work through during some quiet reflection time. I highly recommend revisiting the following questions several times for a week or two until you become more sure of your answers.

  • When was the last time you cried with joy? What were you doing?
  • When was the last time that you were overwhelmed with anger, frustration, irritation, or sadness? What caused it?
  • When was the last time that you have changed something important in your life? What was the change and what motivated it? Was there a deeper purpose attached to the change?
  • When was the last time that you got lost in an action or task what were you doing?
  • Who do you admire and how do they spend most of their time?

There are no wrong answers to these questions. By thinking about the way that you answer these questions you can start to develop a purpose statement. The first step is to analyze your answers and start to pull out trends from each. Then integrate your answers into sentences to understand who you are, what you care about, what makes you sad, what makes you happy, what you enjoy spending your time on, and why you get the most satisfaction from these great things. The next step is to tie these sentences together into a unique and individualized purpose statement.

The deeper you go, your mission will grow

To go even deeper with your answers I recommend asking yourself a series of “but why?” questions. Think of yourself as a young child trying to understand you better by asking more and more “why” based questions. Each time you ask “why” you got a more clear understanding of the answer.

For example:

I need to write a new copy this week.

But why? To ensure that our readers can get consistent insight from us.

But why? So that they can make sure that they are empowered to make high-quality career decisions.

But why? Etc. until you get to the root… This is because I want people to know how valuable they are and the significant difference that they can make by understanding their own values and purpose.

Each layer exposes the deeper roots of your own purpose and mission. It helps you to understand yourself better. And when you can understand yourself better, you can better determine what choices to make (whether that’s in your career or your personal life) to work within your personal vision.

It pays to spend time on your sense of purpose

In summary, your true purpose will be unique and independent to you. Although it’s easy to model our lives after the expectations of others, you will never feel satisfied if you’re going down a path that isn’t aligned with your skills, your passions and your desires. By focusing on your purpose statement, difficult choices become simple. Doing the “right thing” based on your personal statement helps you align closer with your mission.

A major life event may wreak havoc on your daily routines. But when you feel yourself slipping out of alignment and you’re stressing out, it makes it obvious that you are not following your purpose statement. You have forgotten why you are doing what you are doing and have started to say yes to the wrong things.

Although your mission statement doesn’t make life easy (let’s face it, life is hard), it does simplify your choices.

Your mission statement or purpose statement can be a powerful tool in your life to ensure that you are living in peace-filled and prosperous. There’s a reason why successful people for centuries have been talking about the root of their mission. And we like to hear their mission statement and are inspired by their focus. But you can inspire people with your purpose statement too.

If you have any questions about how to develop your own mission statement reach out to me on our contact us page.

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