The following is adapted from The Standout Experience.
There is an idea out there that we each have one special, unique purpose.
This is a lie.
If that were true, imagine how difficult it would be to ever find your purpose. You would have nearly infinite possibilities and only one right choice. Sometimes I struggle simply choosing what to eat for dinner. Having to pick just one all-consuming purpose is far too much stress and pressure.
Fortunately, you don’t have just one purpose in this life. In fact, we all have the same three reasons for being here: we are meant to rise, shine, and impact. How those three pillars present in our lives varies, but the pillars themselves are constant.
Embracing and living by this model will relieve the pressure of finding your one true purpose, and it will give you the power of feeling motivated, goal-oriented, flexible, and free to chase whatever it is you are driven to do within any given moment of your life.
Rise: Reach Your Potential
Your first purpose is to rise, which means to be the “real you” at your absolute best with the talents and gifts you were naturally given, maximizing the unlimited potential you have.
Rising means starting a new day again, being better than you were the day before, being bigger than any challenge you face, enhancing your skills and abilities, and taking a higher road each and every day. Some call it peak performance.
Think back to a time when you did your best at something and remember how it felt—the energy, pride, and joy you experienced. You felt that way because you fulfilled a part of your purpose.
There are three things you can do to help achieve this purpose.
First, learn about yourself. Learn as much as you can about who you really are. Think about what you like and don’t like. Explore your strengths and weaknesses. Discover your core values. The more you know about yourself, the easier and clearer everything else becomes.
Second, set goals and build a personal development plan. Develop short-term and long-term plans for being your best self now and becoming the person you want to be in the future. This also involves your career, life goals, and aspirations.
Third, work the plan to be your best you. Act in accordance with the real you and your plans. Work consistently hard each day to become the person you want to be and do the things you want to do. Grow and develop your skills, talents, emotional intelligence, awareness, and knowledge and other attributes and qualities of your best self.
Shine: Inspire Others
To shine is to lead—to help others rise, develop teams, collaborate across boundaries, innovate, inspire and lead change, create a new vision for your world and those around you, and do all the things that great leaders do.
Shining means that you cast a light of possibility, vision, optimism, learning, development, and other qualities of great leadership on people, functions, organizations, and communities—no matter how small or how large.
To best achieve this purpose, start by learning about leadership. It takes time, knowledge, and awareness to learn what it means to be a great leader. The more you know about how to lead people, processes, changes, and functions, the better leader you will be.
Next, set leadership goals and a leadership development plan. Then, practice being a leader. Develop a plan for who you want to be as a leader, then practice and develop your leadership style in smaller situations and one-on-ones with others. You aren’t born a leader; you become a leader.
Finally, put your leadership plan into action, and embody true leadership for others. Work each day to model your leadership best and shine your leadership light on others. Over time, you’ll build trust, credibility, competence, and confidence because you will be demonstrating your leadership by making a difference in your home, community, organization, and the world.
Impact: Make a Difference
The impact pillar is about making a difference and leaving the world a little better than you found it.
To have impact means your presence and place on Earth has meaning today, tomorrow, or over the course of your lifetime. That meaning could be as small as doing something for one stranger, or as big as impacting the world by creating a product, service, or experience that changes the lives of millions. Either way, you make a difference.
To begin making a difference, learn about opportunities. Learn as much as you can about your job, business, community, and the world. The more you know, the more you can do. Knowledge is power and your power is profit.
Identify what needs to be fixed, changed, or created. What does your company, customer, and the world need? Anchor those opportunities for impact to the things you do best and have the most interest in doing.
Then, develop a strategic plan, just as you did for the other pillars. Develop a strategy to affect change, innovate, and create valuable new products or services. The more knowledge and information you have and the more training and experiences you have, the better you will be at putting together a game plan for solving the problems or capitalizing on the opportunities that you identified.
Finally, implement the plan and measure the impact. A plan is only effective when it’s executed. The more you do and the more people you solve problems for, the greater your impact will be on the world.
Three Pillars, One Tower
These three pillars of purpose do not stand side by side. Rather, they stack one upon the other.
Think about the sun. In order to have an impact on the world, the sun must first shine down on us, and in order to shine, the sun must first rise.
Similarly, you must first rise, then shine, and then finally impact. If you are not able to rise and lead yourself to be your best, you will struggle to shine your leadership light onto others. Likewise, to most effectively impact the world, you must be the best that you can be, and you must be an effective leader. Otherwise, you will face great difficulties in executing your plan for impact.
By rising, shining, and then impacting, you will open the door to endless possibilities of how to fulfill your threefold purpose.
For more advice on purpose, you can find The Standout Experience on Amazon.
John Walsh is an inspirational and successful executive, entrepreneur, author, husband and dad with a passion for impacting the lives of others. John faced many challenges, uncertainty and failures early in his life but he created a purposeful and happy life with a lot of hard work and help from others. Over time, he created a playbook that allowed him to make the journey from homeless in high school to a senior executive with Disney and Madison Square Garden. He is also the founder and CEO of a company whose mission is to inspire and help millions of young adults stand out in their own lives and careers.