Giving life a purpose is the surest way to make your life miserable

Maya Angelous quote on purpose.png

“Giving life a purpose is the surest way to make your life miserable.”

I came across this comment on a social media post this morning and it made me sad that someone believed this. And was teaching others the same thing.

After all, one of the things I teach people is how to identify their purpose, as I’ve seen how powerful this knowledge is in helping people who are feeling stuck, are considering a career change, or are facing a major life decision.

Knowing your purpose is a game change and one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

And it makes it so much easier to find work that you love.

But that statement was correct…. in a way.

Let me explain.

If you think of your purpose as what you do, you’re setting yourself up for potential disappointment. And possibly more stress and confusion.

Let’s say you believe your purpose is to write a best-selling nutrition book.

Or perhaps you identify your purpose as being an entrepreneur.

How do you feel if you don’t accomplish these goals?

Because that’s what they are – goals, not your purpose.

For those who define their purpose this way, failing to achieve it can make them question their purpose.

Beyond the disappointment we’d all feel for failing to reach a goal we’ve set for ourselves – it can also call us to question our purpose.

But what if you re-framed your purpose from what you do to why you do it?

The author might restate his purpose to be - Helping people live happier, healthier lives by eating a healthy diet – chosen because of his personal success in achieving health this way.

He can then choose multiple ways to live out that purpose, whether it’s by writing a book, working as a nutritionist, volunteering to help others with their diets, or in dozens of other ways.

The entrepreneur might restate her purpose to be -  Improving the lives of millions of pets – chosen because of her personal loss when dealing with inferior pet products.

She can then live out her purpose by launching a business, working for a pet supply company, educating others through speaking opportunities or any other way that serves her why.

Re-framing your purpose statement from what you do to why you do it gives you a framework around which to build your life and your career.

And opens up worlds of opportunities with lots of different options.

So, to revise the quote from that unknown blogger at the top of this article - stating your life purpose as a goal can cause misery – but figuring out your “why” is the greatest gift you can give yourself.


 For help identifying your purpose, schedule a free, no-obligation Discovery Call.