Purpose: Navigate with Your Internal Compass to Your Highest Intention
Introduction: The Quest for Purpose
In 2008, my adventurous quest for purpose began. With a thriving business, a loving partner, and a comfortable life, everything seemed to be in place. However, I felt that something was missing. I wondered if there was more to life than just having fun and working hard. Purpose seemed to be a nebulous concept, often associated with meditation and spiritual rituals, but I was convinced that there must be a more rational approach.
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Perspectives on Purpose
My first step was to investigate how different cultures and religions perceive purpose. Does each individual have a different purpose? Do companies also need a purpose?
Upon researching purpose in different cultures and religions, it becomes clear that the ways in which people find meaning and purpose in their lives can vary greatly.
In Western cultures, such as Europe and North America, purpose is often associated with individualism. People are encouraged to find their own unique paths and pursue personal goals.
Purpose can be found in career, family, hobbies, or contributing to society. In these cultures, there is also a growing trend of companies focusing on corporate social responsibility, seeking purpose in making a positive impact on society and the environment.
In contrast, in Eastern cultures such as Asia, there is often a stronger collectivist perspective. Purpose is often found in fulfilling roles within the family and community, and contributing to the greater whole.
In countries like Japan and China, there is a long history of finding purpose in traditional values and spiritual practices.
In indigenous cultures, such as the Aboriginals in Australia or the indigenous tribes in North and South America, purpose is often deeply intertwined with nature and spiritual beliefs.
There is a strong sense of connection with the land and community, and purpose is often found in living in harmony with the natural world.
Religion also plays a significant role in how people find purpose. In Christianity, for example, many believers find purpose in serving God and following the teachings of the Bible.
In Buddhism, purpose is often sought by following the Eightfold Path to achieve enlightenment. In Islam, Muslims find purpose in adhering to the Five Pillars of Islam and striving to live in accordance with the will of Allah.
Purpose in Companies
Regarding companies, there is a growing awareness of the importance of purpose. Companies are increasingly encouraged not only to pursue profits but also to make a positive contribution to society.
This can range from corporate social responsibility to creating a company culture that supports the personal growth and development of employees.
Defining Purpose: Contributing to a Greater Whole
After much contemplation, I concluded that purpose can be defined as:
“contributing to a greater whole of which you are also a part.”
It can also be referred to as ‘your highest intention’. People and companies that live according to their highest intention appear to be happier and more resilient.
The Utility of Purpose
Recent research shows that purpose plays a crucial role in the well-being of individuals. It provides direction and purpose to our lives and can even contribute to better physical health.
The Internal Compass: Purpose as a Guide
Purpose acts as an internal compass that helps us make decisions that align with our values and goals. When our lives are in alignment with our highest intention, we experience more joy and satisfaction.
Living Consciously and Unconsciously with Purpose
People and organizations can be divided into three categories based on their relationship with purpose:
Fully aware of their purpose: They know their higher purpose and actively pursue it.
Living unconsciously with purpose: Intuition guides them, although they are not consciously aware of their purpose.
Not engaged with purpose: They are more self-focused and may experience a sense of emptiness.
The Unique Higher Purpose of Each Individual and Company
The concept of a unique higher purpose is deeply rooted in the idea that each individual and company has a specific role or contribution they can make to the world. These roles are influenced by a range of factors.
Purpose for Individuals
Each individual has unique talents. These innate abilities can be an indication of where someone’s higher purpose lies. For example, someone with a talent for music may find their higher purpose in creating music that inspires or comforts others.
Passion is another crucial factor. It is the driving force that motivates people to pursue certain activities. A passion for the environment, for example, may lead to a higher purpose in environmental protection.
IQ and EQ
Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ) also play a role. A high IQ, for example, may lead someone to scientific research, while a high EQ may lead someone to a career in counseling or social work.
The geographical location and culture in which someone was raised can also influence their higher purpose. Someone growing up in an area with a lot of poverty, for example, may be motivated to pursue social justice.
Purpose for Companies
Just like individuals, companies have a unique ‘DNA’. This includes the values, culture, and core competencies of the company. A technology company with a strong focus on innovation, for example, may have a higher purpose in advancing technological progress.
Companies can also find their higher purpose in the social impact they have. This can range from creating sustainable products to supporting community projects.
A company’s higher purpose can also be influenced by market needs. A company may, for example, find a higher purpose in solving a specific problem that affects a community or society as a whole.
Authenticity and Purpose
It is essential for both individuals and companies to be authentic in pursuing their higher purpose. Imitating others or pursuing a purpose that is not in line with one’s own values and capabilities can lead to a lack of fulfillment and impact.
Strategies to Discover Your Purpose
If you are struggling to define your purpose, try reflecting on your inner drives. Make a list of work, projects, and activities that have given you energy and joy in the past. By looking for commonalities in these experiences, you can make connections and discover your purpose.
In my own experience, strategy, marketing, communication, coaching, building schools in developing countries, writing, and philosophizing were activities that gave me energy and joy. What they had in common was knowledge transfer.
Your Beliefs About Purpose
Ask yourself what you believe about your purpose. In my case, I realized that more knowledge can lead to more understanding and love for each other. If everyone knows what everyone knows, then there is room for love, is my belief. Therefore, my highest intention became: “Knowledge is Love”.
Purpose as Your Internal Compass
Once you have discovered your purpose, it can act as your internal compass. It helps you make decisions by asking yourself whether the actions you are taking contribute to your highest intention. For me, my purpose became an indispensable tool in my life.
It turned out that projects or companies that were not in line with my highest intention were less successful and more energy-consuming. From that moment on, I used my purpose as a guide for what I should or should not spend my time on, and I feel more than good about it.
Conclusion: Navigate with Purpose and Intention
Discovering your purpose is an enriching process that enables you to navigate with purpose and intention. Whether you are an individual or a company, your purpose can serve as your internal compass, allowing you to make authentic choices that resonate with your highest intention.