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Creating a Compelling Purpose Statement

Updated: Sep 6, 2019

By Boris Joaquin (Originally published in Philippines Star http://www.philstar.com/business-life/2016/02/08/1550815/creating-compelling-purpose-statement last February 8, 2016)

We had our business kickoff last week. It’s the time when we help our people review and recalibrate their goals to align with the organization’s vision and mission, and get everybody pumped up for the year’s targets. It is very important to remind people first of the corporate vision before we hit them with targets and quotas. It enables everyone to answer the question, “Why are we doing what we are doing?”

This year, however, we changed things up a little: we decided that each and everyone in our organization should know what their personal vision statements are. Truth be told, many have no idea what their personal purpose is. And even when they do, they are not sure whether it is compelling enough to build their lives around. It is very important for people to know their purpose in life. Who do you really want to be in the world?

So we requested all our staff to reflect and create their own purpose statement. We went through a process so simple that anyone would be able to write their personal purpose statement without any hesitation.

There are three steps to writing a compelling purpose statement:

First, think about two or three strengths or personal characteristics that describe you and are unique to you, and you feel good about yourself, and list them down. What nouns come to mind? Are you a mechanical genius? Do you have a good sense of humor? Do you have sales ability? For instance, I picked for myself energy and people skills. These are two obvious strengths that I have whether I am teaching or working with other people. How about you? What are your strengths? Write these down using nouns.

Second, identify some verbs that really tell how you like to influence other people. Since I am a teacher by heart, I chose the verbs teach and motivate to describe how I influence others. List ways you successfully interact with people. Do you encourage rather than tell? Do you manage more than you motivate?

Finally, visualize what your perfect world looks like. This is what we call your vision or image of the future. It also tells you what purpose you are working toward to help see happen. It should answer these questions, “What will the future look like if things are running as planned?” “What are the people saying and/ or doing?”

Now, complete the sentence, “My perfect world is…” In my case, my perfect world is when people know their life destinations and enjoy their life journeys. What’s yours?

Now, it’s time to write your purpose statement. Combine your two to three nouns with your two verbs and your description of your perfect world.

Here’s mine following those steps:

My life purpose is to use my energy and people skills to teach and motivate people to know their life destinations and enjoy their life journeys.

So what’s your purpose statement?

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