Clarity of purpose and direction is one of the keys to career and life success in my Common Sense Success System. I discuss it in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success. To develop your personal clarity or purpose you need to do three things. First, define what success means to you. Second, create a vivid mental image of you as a success. Once you define what success means to you personally, I suggest that you develop a clear mental picture of you as a success. This image should be as vivid as you can you make it. Third, clarify your personal values.
Yesterday was a beautiful day n Denver, sunny and warm. I went on a bike ride. As I was riding my bike, I was thinking about how clarity of purpose and direction has played out in our family. I have a younger sister, Betty. She and I are in two completely different fields. Betty is a CPA. I am a consultant, speaker and coach. I remember a conversation we had over 30 years ago about our career choices.
At that time, Betty was working for a very large public accounting firm as an auditor. She said something like, “I don’t know how you can do what you do, getting up in front of people all the time and speaking. I’d be scared to death.” I said something like, “I love helping people learn and get ahead in their lives and careers.” Then I said, “I don’t know how you can do what you do, sitting there working with numbers all day, not interacting with many people.” Betty replied, “I like numbers, they are consistent. Numbers can tell you a lot about what’s going on in a company. I feel as if I can help companies succeed by helping them better understand their numbers.”
This conversation demonstrated how we both found our clarity of purpose early in life. Betty enjoys numbers and has had a number of high level finance jobs over the years. After helping to sell the last company where she worked and was the CFO, Betty embarked on something new and exciting several years ago. This was the period immediately following the Enron and World Com scandals. The Sarbanes Oxley act had just passed. Betty saw an opportunity and became a SOX expert. Now she is one of the most accomplished SOX practitioners in the USA.
On the other hand, I’ve gone from working in training and development in large companies, to running a small consulting, coaching and speaking business. Right now, I am learning how to use the internet to bring my common sense success message to an even larger audience.
My sister and I found our purpose in life early on. We’ve continued growing and developing in the fields we’ve chosen. Our purpose has stayed the same over the years. Our direction has changed as we’ve have grown in our careers and the times have changed.
There is a common sense point here. Successful people are clear on their purpose and direction in life. Think of your purpose as your mission – something that in broad terms is unlikely to change much over the course of your life and career – unless you experience a significant emotional event that alters your perspective on life. Your direction on the other hand is more of a short to medium term vision of where you are going. As you grow and develop in your career, and the times change, your vision is likely to change too. However, your vision should be consistent with your life’s purpose. The two should fit together like a hand and glove.
That’s my take on how my sister and I have stayed true to our life’s purpose while growing and evolving in our fields over the years. How about you? Please leave a comment sharing your life’s purpose with us. Tell us about how it has guided your vision over the years. As always, thanks for reading.