Are you clear why you’re here on earth? Do you have a life mission statement or a life purpose statement?
I’ve been learning from Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) since 2008. Following Jack’s teachings, I’ve enjoyed many successes in my life including starting a career as a writer and authoring or co-authoring more than 40 books that have helped tens of thousands of people get certified and get ahead in their careers. I credit much of my success to applying principles that he teaches in my life. He recently appeared on an Oprah Winfrey Super Soul Sunday show and I decided to go through his book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” again, covering one principle a week. When inspired, I’ll create a post for the principle such as this one.
Principle #2 is “Be Clear Why You’re Here”
In essence it stresses the importance of having a life purpose statement so that you can direct your efforts toward fulfilling your purpose.
When you know your life purpose, it becomes much easier to fulfill it.
As an example, my life purpose statement is:
“to use my writing and creativity to inspire others to pursue their passions and live up to their full potential.”
Once I created my life purpose statement, I focused my efforts on creating the Get Certified Get Ahead brand where I’ve developed study resources to help people pass technical certification exams, get certified, and get ahead in their careers.
Gratefully, I hear from people almost every day telling me that they have passed certification exams using study resources I developed.
Make Decisions Easier
One of the biggest benefits of having a life purpose statement is that it makes decision making much easier. For example, when I’m considering taking on a project, I can ask myself “does this help me fulfill my life’s purpose?” If the answer is Yes, then I know it’s something to seriously consider. If the answer is No, then I easily and quickly decline.
“Successful people make decisions quickly and change their mind slowly.”
As a side note, while having a life purpose statement does make many decisions easier, I found it isn’t enough on its own. At least not for me. Once I began using it, I found that I was getting so many worthwhile proposals for projects that I was becoming overwhelmed. In retrospect, it was a great problem to have, but was still a problem.
Adding in Governing Core Values
Implementing Principle 45 “Hire a Personal Coach” in Jack’s book, I received invaluable coaching. Gratefully, my coach was well versed in Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and he coached me into creating a set of governing core values.
My life purpose statement combined with my governing core values has helped me immensely. When I’m considering taking on a project, I now ask myself two questions.
- Does this help me fulfill my life’s purpose?
- Is this project in line with my governing core values?
Before creating both, I was saying “Yes” to almost everything and ultimately became stressed out, overwhelmed, and close to burn out.
However, after living with both a life purpose statement and a set of governing core values for a few years, I am now living a much happier and fulfilled life.
You Don’t Have to Get it Perfect
You can’t bake a perfect cake quickly. It takes time.
Similarly, creating a life purpose statement and personal governing core values takes time.
However, you don’t have to get it perfect. You only have to get started.
I love Ernest Hemingway’s quote “The secret to great writing is rewriting.” One of my favorite books by him is “The Old Man and the Sea” and while I can’t verify it, I remember reading that Hemingway rewrote the book every day until he finished it.
You can apply the same concepts to your life purpose statement and personal governing core values with these simple steps:
- Write out a first draft.
- After a week, review them, and rewrite them.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you’re happy with what you created.
- Continue to review your life purpose statement and personal governing core values at least weekly. (Many people review them daily.)
Remember, you don’t have to get it perfect. You only have to get started.
Here are two books that I strongly recommend to help you get started:
- The Success Principles(TM) – 10th Anniversary Edition: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change