There’s a scene from my favorite movie. I got to see that scene on the live stage when we attended The Color Purple on Broadway. From the first time I saw the movie 30 years ago until now, the words have always resonated with me. It’s the scene in which Miss Celie finally musters the courage to leave Mister. He’d just finished saying some pretty nasty things to her (paraphrasing): “You’re poor. You’re black. You’re ugly. Nobody wants you.”
To which Miss Celie replied, “I’m poor. I’m black. I might even be ugly. But I’m here!”
Those words resonate with me because of this:
If you’re here, there is a reason you’re here. There are people who were here this time last year who aren’t now. They’ve moved on. In some instances, they’ve passed on. Whatever their purpose, it is now done. But you’re here. And one of your most important jobs in life is to know why.
If you can’t articulate your purpose in a single, simple sentence, I have a question for you. It is a question I’ve used many times with clients, friends, and even with our students who are training to become personal executive coaches:
How is someone’s life better when they cross your path?
Whatever your answer, it is something you can articulate quickly – in under 15 seconds, in fact. My purpose, for example, is to inspire others to live more fulfilling lives.
Your purpose is about how you uniquely serve the world and make it better in some way. It uses your unique gifts, strengths and experiences. It is something you do well. And it comes naturally to you. At work, it answers the question, how is this company better because I work here? In your family, it answers, how is this family better because I’m in it?
I invite you to take just a few minutes to get quiet and answer this question. And once you get the answer, write it down. Don’t forget it. Make it your mantra. A fulfilling life is a life lived with purpose.