THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PURPOSE AND GOAL
by Jayne Johnson
To address being aware of your purpose, it’s first necessary to distinguish between a purpose and a goal.
A Goal is quantitative in nature; that is, it is measurable. It is something toward which one aims with a specific, measurable outcome in mind. It is an objective toward which one is aiming. It is a specific, measurable result one wishes to create.
Some examples of Goals:
- to buy 5 investment properties that give me $2500/month in passive income by May 2005
- to make 25 phone calls to potential customers per business day
- to take my herbs and vitamins every day
- to have 12 people on my business team by August 15, 2004
A Purpose is qualitative in nature; that is, it is quality-oriented and is not readily measurable. A purpose is an on-going intention that continues into the future. It may entail aspects or phases which can be measured as one goes along, but the purpose itself does not have a completion point. It continues into the future unless and until one decides to end it or change it.
Some examples of Purposes:
- to be an educator
- to be healthy
- to provide for my family
- to contribute to the betterment of mankind
- to continue my spiritual evolution
- to be honest and ethical in all areas of my life
Goals can be measured. If one in fact has 12 people on their business team by August 15, 2004, one has achieved one’s goal. It can be readily observed that the result was attained.
With a purpose one is intending to create an effect also, but it’s an on-going effect. It is like a vector that is heading in a particular direction and continues along that course – it has no end, unless one chooses to discard the purpose and create a new one.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR PURPOSE IS?
Some people are very clear on the main purpose they have in their lives. You often hear celebrities say, “When I was 5 years old, I knew I wanted to be an actor” or “I knew I wanted to be a musician.”
Some people struggle, however, with knowing what their purpose is. One trap is to compare yourself to another person. For example, it states in her biography that Mother Teresa’s “divine mission was to aid ‘the poorest of poor’: the sick and dying in the streets of Calcutta.” In other words, that was Mother Teresa’s purpose, and she dedicated her life to that purpose 100%. Another example is the Rich Dad organization and specifically its Foundation for Financial Literacy organization. The mission or purpose is “to elevate the financial well-being of humanity.”
You know that the magnitude of these purposes is on a grand scale, far above the norm, and while you honor and appreciate these dedicated people, it is not constructive for you to compare your purpose to theirs, or anyone else’s, and come to the conclusion that your own purpose is not noble enough, altruistic enough, not worthy enough. If that conclusion is drawn unconsciously, it automatically blocks you from seeing what your purpose is. You already “know” it’s not good enough so why even bother with it? That brings you to a dead end, with nowhere to go.
So, it’s a trap to judge the worthiness of your purpose by comparing it to another’s purpose. If any comparing is to be done, compare it to your Self: to who you are, how much power you have, what your ideals are, what your prime dream is, what your skills and talents are, and what size of games you are capable of playing. It takes a lot of courage to face those questions. Having the distraction, or attention directed elsewhere, works as an escape from facing them.
WHAT ARE YOU INTERESTED IN IMPROVING IN YOUR LIFE?
Many times people get stopped because they are searching for their prime purpose in life, THE ONE PURPOSE that drives everything else in their lives. Of course it’s optimum to know what that purpose is, but if you don’t know it and you haven’t been able to find it, the solution is to put your quest aside temporarily, and focus on what you DO KNOW.
From Alan Walter, author of The Secrets to Increasing Your Power, Wealth & Happiness, I learned a very simple question to ask: What are you focused on in your life that you want to improve?
Do you want to be a good parent to your children? That is a purpose. Do you want to be wealthy? That is a purpose. Do you want to be healthy, happy, peaceful, successful? Do you want to help other people? Do you want to enjoy life? Each one of those, or any others you think of, represents a purpose you have.
That’s how simple it is to find and know your purpose. And it also demonstrates that you can have, and probably do have, more than one purpose.
If you follow, and align your goals with it, you will be happy, peaceful and successful, and that contribution is to the whole world. Your successes contribute to everyone else.