The difference between living a life “Of Purpose” and a life “On Purpose”

The difference between living a life “Of Purpose” and a life “On Purpose”


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For many years I’ve lived a life “Of Purpose”. Running around day to day doing things for others, living a life “Of Purpose” I spent a majority of my time calling people to check on them and meeting with individuals in an attempt to help them better their lives. I was doing some introspection a few weeks back when I came across the definitions for what it meant to live a life “Of Purpose” and to live a life “On Purpose”. The definitions literally crumbled my existence. For some, having everything they’ve known questioned can be too much to handle, but I welcome and enjoy such contemplations.

The definition of a life “Of Purpose” completely aligned with a realization I have been processing for many years. Although I spend a majority of my time being of service to others, if I take a hard, honest look at my motives in these actions, they are not from a spirit of actually caring for individuals. A majority of the experiences I have of being of service, or living a life “Of purpose”, is engulfed by the need to be liked, or better yet the need to be viewed a certain way. A life “Of Purpose” is defined as a life of a robot. I do this and I do that and you will think this about it or you will think that. I will do this for that praise and this will get me that. If I help this man and he goes and helps others, then others will surely see how of service I am. A life “Of Purpose” is filled with doing things only to the extent in which they get done. In other words, doing things just to check that box complete. This realization caused me to get extremely defensive, which as one of my Coaches has been stating for years, means that there may be some dishonesty in what I had been viewing as the truth. He states, “The truth does not need to be defended”. So when I identify a defensive stance, I usually take a deeper examination. An examination if, when completed whole-heartedly, more often than not reveals dishonesty.

So what does it mean to live a life “On Purpose”? The foundation of living this way of life is authenticity. My definition of authenticity means that I do not sell myself short of what I believe or who I am to please someone and seek their approval. I say what it is there for me to say in that moment, or when I realize that it is there for me. If your conversation is with someone that is not authentic this can sometimes be uncomfortable. The discomfort is worth leaving each interaction you have with nothing unsaid. I try to not leave conversations with things unsaid, or without clarification on things said. I act with meaning. When I’m with someone I am truly with them. I get them and all they are standing for in that moment. I’m not checking Facebook, I’m not people watching or thinking about doing the dishes (which I don’t believe I’ve ever thought about. Ask my wife). I’ve been turning my phone off. This allows me to be fully with someone when I am with them.

To be “On Purpose” means that each action taken or not taken was done or not done with meaning. Not just to check a box or gain praise from others. A life “On Purpose” truly means that each day I am connected to the realization that it could be my last. When I become present to this I now possess the power to touch, move, and inspire individuals that I come in contact with through my authenticity and fully being with them.

This clarification has transformed my life, and it is my hope that it will lead you to the same.

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