“I guess the Lord’s been good to me, and I lived my mission and my purpose.“ That was the response of my botany professor from my freshman year of college when we asked why he thought he was still so vibrant. He was still driving and living on his own well into his 90s.
It struck a real chord with me. I had recently reviewed some of the research on how having a purpose affects our lives. One of the newer research projects has revealed that longevity is one of the many great benefits of living with purpose.
Living longer is just one benefit. Here are some others:
- Higher functioning immune system
- Greater quality of life
- Less depression and sadness
- Decreased incidence of anxiety
- Improvement in symptoms of ADD/ADHD
- Greater quality of sleep
- Healthier relationships
- Greater financial satisfaction
- Protection from heart disease
- Less likely to develop memory loss or dementia
- More resiliency when facing challenges
- Greater energy levels
- More joy
- More peace of mind
- More fulfillment
WOW! What a list!
You can see that having a purpose, and living it passionately, comes with great benefits. Benefits that we all desire!
Because I understood this early on, I developed a signature program called “The Power of Purpose.” I wanted everyone that I knew to experience these benefits.
Many mistakenly think that finding your purpose is simply about setting goals and doing a little bit of daydreaming. Although those are things that people who live with purpose do, it is not all there is to purpose.
In my program, I help those who are not aware of their purpose get on the path. However, most people come with an idea of their purpose but are not sure how to live it with passion. Or even how to get started.
There are five major components in the program. I’ve never shared them outside of the program before. I will share all five of them with you here to get you inspired. I hope you will find them compelling.
These are the five major components we cover in an “immersion” experience at the Power of Purpose:
3. Goals on fire
Let’s walk through them.
The power of focus is greater than you can imagine. Our moment-to-moment focus determines the direction of our lives, our destiny, and whether or not we live with purpose.
I attended a workshop many years ago where a professional racecar driver spoke to us. He told us that professional drivers are taught to never, ever even glance at the wall. Because at such a high rate of speed, one glance will thrust you into the wall and a horrible crash.
He then talked about how our lives move very, very quickly — and that just one glance at obstacles can set us up for a crash.
Every moment matters. What are you focusing on? What do you need to be focusing on in order to live an extraordinary life of purpose? These are things we examine in the workshop.
Years ago, I was conducting my Power of Purpose program on the Gold Coast of Australia. We were doing an exercise on focus. In the middle of it, a businessman sitting in the back corner slapped his forehead. He moaned loud enough for me to hear him in the front of the room: “Oh my God! It’s me! I am my business’s worst enemy!”
Since he had shared his “aha moment“ loud enough for the whole room to note, I asked if he would like to explain. He said that a couple of years ago, as he was opening his new business, he had taken a business course. The course had encouraged the class to always be aware of potential risks and challenges. (I am certainly not saying that those should be ignored!).
However, he said he had spent an hour or two each morning focusing on those and attempting to mitigate them. He now understood why every single risk and challenge he focused on became his reality! He spent a couple of hours every morning setting up his own crash!
The next year when I returned for my annual workshop there, he was sitting in the very front with ten of his team members. I immediately recognized him and gave him a big hug as he excitedly introduced his team.
He said that he only attended the year before because his wife pestered him into it. This year they were back with their whole team! He shared with the group that his “aha moment“ about his focus had turned his business around. But that wasn’t all. He now had ten employees that he proudly called “team members!“
Proper focus often turns things around immediately. Take a moment to review what you are focusing on, moment to moment. Then consider what you NEED to be focusing on to live your purpose and to live it with passion.
2. THOUGHTS & BELIEFS
(You might want to grab pen and paper! We’re going deep!)
Your thoughts and beliefs are a huge component of whether or not you live your life purposefully.
Well duh! You are likely thinking! Of course thoughts and beliefs matter!
Don’t blow this off as being “obvious!”
We all come with an “owner’s manual” of thoughts and beliefs. These are installed somewhere between the age of five and eight. They are installed on our “hard drive.” Our thoughts and beliefs can either be terrific sources of our success, or they can be terrible “ceilings” that place great limitations on our lives.
In my workshop, you will examine some critical things about your thoughts and beliefs. (I encourage you to pause at this point and actually start making notes!)
Write three answers to each of these questions. Good, bad, or ugly — it doesn’t matter. Just write what pops into your mind:
- What do you think or believe about your life?
- What do you think or believe about your capability to live your purpose daily?
- What do you think or believe about the financial possibilities (or impossibilities) in your life?
- What do you think or believe about how well you are doing in your relationships?
- What do you think or believe about your future?
Your thoughts and beliefs are not right, nor are they wrong. They just “are.” The question is, are they empowering, neutral, or disempowering?
Now go back to all of your answers and write an E for empowering, N or neutral, or D for disempowering.
Let’s pause a minute. What do I mean by “empowering?” These are thoughts and beliefs that undeniably propel you toward your purpose.
In fact, these thoughts and beliefs COMPEL your forward movement!
Next, I want you to take time to re-write all of your N snd D thoughts and beliefs. Only this time, write them as “empowering” beliefs.
After spending some time on the exercise above, we do two things: first, we scramble up the old beliefs. There are a number of ways we do this. Quite often, we put the old beliefs on paper on the floor and stomp on them to the tune of “Shake Yourself Loose!” (Click here to use the song!)
These lyrics are excellent help when leaving old beliefs behind:
Shake loose… everything that binds you up
Who told you that you can’t make it?
When God says that you can shake it!
Shake loose — everything that binds you up!
Proclaim like it’s your last chance
Get up and do the Vic’try dance
Yes! I want you to get up and do something! There’s power in using your energy and your body to make deep inner changes.
Stomp those neutral and disempowering thoughts and beliefs out of your body!
But we don’t stop there.
Next, we install empowering thoughts and beliefs by physical action. Often, we jump up and down to the beat of an inspiring song while reciting the empowering thoughts and beliefs — loud and proud!
One of the songs that we use is: “Up!” (Click here to use that song!)
Up, up, up
Can only go up from here
Up, up, up
Where the clouds gonna clear
Up, up, up
There’s no way but up from here
Don’t just sit there! Get up and get moving! I know it’s much less intimidating to do it alone than to a room of a hundred people doing it! But you can do it!
Even though it may seem silly, neuropsychology tells us that it is a powerful way to make new grooves in our brains. And I want to see you grooving to living your purpose with passion! Gaining all the fabulous benefits!
3. GOALS ON FIRE
As I said earlier, goalsetting is part of living with purpose. But unless we know our purpose, we may send ourselves down multiple trails with our goalsetting.
In my program, “Designing an Extraordinary Year,“ we set goals. But those goals are specific to your purpose. They are all about getting us on the path of living our purpose and living it passionately.
There are a couple of secrets that I teach in that program, which are also very useful in the Power of Purpose. The programs are designed to “leverage” each other.
In the Power of Purpose, we set one-month goals. Then we use my specific exercises to set those goals on fire.
There is a lot of research and even books written about finding your “why.”
We call that finding the “fire in your belly.” Those things that compel you to reach your one-month goals — that will get you started on your path to living your purpose.
To set one-month goals, we use the “RESPECT” acronym:
- Emotional mastery
- Spiritual growth
- Purposeful living with priority
- Energy and health
- Career and finances
- Teaching/touching others
We proclaim these as the way we “respect our purpose!”
Write your seven one-month goals to create your “respect for your purpose.” Then write down what would give you “the fire in your belly” for each one of them. (Told you that you’d need pen and paper…)
Identifying the fire in your belly is great. But research reveals that we will all do more to avoid pain than we will do to reach for something pleasurable. So understanding and using the “why” is powerful, but not powerful enough. You also need a “fire on your backside.“
So go back to each of those goals and also write your “fire on your backside.“ This is important!
These are the things you will miss out on or lose out on if you fail to reach those goals.
Remember that all seven of your goals are specific things that will move you toward your purpose. Otherwise, they may be excellent and worthy goals, but you may find yourself scattered and miss your target of living with purpose.
I would suggest that you pause and go back above to the benefits of finding your purpose. Decide which of those you most long for in your life. You may find that they can be some of the “fire in your belly” or “fire on your back side” if you failed to do these things and miss out on the benefit that means the most to you!
Having support as you work toward finding purpose and living it with passion is often the difference between success and failure.
Years ago I read in the research that we are likely to become most like those we spend the most time with.
Hmmm — I began reevaluating my inner and middle circles. (You can click here to read my blog on that topic).
Specifically, the research says we are most likely to do the following:
- Settle in at the average of their incomes
- Adopt their health lifestyles and become the average of their weight, energy, and health
- Find ourselves at the level of their relationship health (or dysfunction) in our relationships
When I learned that, I began a very determined process of evaluating my support system.
In the Power of Purpose, we evaluate our top ten relationships (the ten people that we spend the most time with). Then we “redefine” what support is in our lives.
We define support as: Those who are what we desire to become, will cheerlead us into our purpose, but also be courageous enough to come alongside us and redirect us when we are off course.
Sad to say, years ago, when I did my personal evaluation, I had to acknowledge that I had very few people who meet the definition.
In the Power of Purpose, we do a truly life-altering exercise. We install new expectations of what “support” needs to be. I did not know how to do that for myself when I began my journey. But I’ll get you started by teaching you what I did that turned support around in my life.
(It’s actually one of the many reasons that I have designed the programs that I have designed. The people who attend the programs are stellar folks. And many find their new support partners in the program).
I had no idea how to go about it, so I invited sixteen people to join me for lunch. I told them that I was setting up a “Board of Directors” for my life, both personally and professionally. I used the job description of the “support” definition above (with a bit more psonalized info), and formed my “Board” of seven amazing people.
Those on my Board are still very influential people in my life. I am very grateful to all of them. I acknowledge them all. They are to be credited for inspring me to transform my “ordinary” into “extraordinary!”
Do something similar! Do it today! It’s so much easier in today’s world because we have the advantage of doing things via zoom.
You need and deserve this level of support to live a life of great purpose and reap all of those benefits!
Last but perhaps most crucial, you must have great commitment.
I often say that we live in an uncommitted society. I see evidence of it on a daily basis. In my practice, among friends and family, in groups where I volunteer.
What do I see? People who are committed to their relationships, as long as it goes their way. People who are committed to a healthy lifestyle, as long as they get to drink all the booze they want. People who are committed to living a life of purpose, as long as it includes their nightly binge on Netflix. People who are committed to doing well financially, as long as they do not have to give to charity. People who are committed to building a business, as long as they get to sleep late, go home early, and take the weekends off.
To live a life of purpose and reap all the fantastic benefits, you must be completely, 100% committed to living your purpose. It won’t always be easy, it will not always be convenient, but the results are so very worth it.
A few months after completing a Power of Purpose workshop in New Zealand, I received a letter from a young businessman and his wife that I met there. I remembered them because I had had a very nice conversation with his wife.
The letter said:
Dear Dr. Neecie,
My wife and I attended your program a few months ago in Christchurch, New Zealand. Our business was doing fairly well, but two major changes that we took away from Power of Purpose have changed our business.
1. I never realized how misaligned my business and my purpose were. At first, I was afraid I would have to start a new business. But after a great conversation, my wife and I made a small shift, and now they are perfectly aligned. Not only is it easier, but it’s growing swiftly.
2. I had never thought about my commitment to my business. I was committed to financial gain, but that’s not the same as being committed to my business. I became committed to the people and the businesses we serve. It made all the difference in the world, and our clients and customers are commenting on it regularly.
However, that’s not the real reason for this letter.
The real reason for this letter is that something totally magical happened. I had never looked at commitment as you presented it in the Power of Purpose. I was one of those people that was about 90% committed.
I was committed to being faithful to my wife. That was never a question. I was committed to supporting us financially. But I was not committed to knowing, honoring, and meeting her personal needs and desires.
As you were working with the volunteer couple at the front of the room, I was thinking to myself what an “*ss“ he was. How could he be so insensitive? How could he be so disconnected from her desires?
Something inside me was a little disturbed when we left. I wasn’t sure what it was until the next evening when I realized that the husband sitting on the stool beside you was me. Different heights, different business, different wives, but the same kind of husband.
I committed to my wife 100% as I laid awake in bed for most of the night. I did not speak to her about it, because I had made many promises with words before.
I came home from the office this evening and my favorite meal was prepared, candles were lit, and some nice soft music was playing. I certainly had no idea what it was about because it wasn’t my birthday, and it wasn’t our anniversary.
Halfway through the meal she took my hand and leaned across the table and said to me, “I don’t know what’s different about you, but I have fallen in love with you anew, and this is my simple way of saying I noticed, I love it, and I love you!“
No, I don’t have a great testimony for you about how you saved a failing marriage. But to us, commitment meant the world! Just wanted to share with you that our business is thriving, but more importantly, so is our marriage!
Our love, our thanks, our devotion!
D & N
100% commitment changes everything. Get committed! Remember all the benefits that are so fabulous! You deserve every one of them!
Yes, my botany professor is now a new fire in the belly for me. I was so happy to tell him that I arrived at the University hating science. That I took every science course he taught while there, and I graduated loving science. He had fulfilled his mission in this girl. I thought of him with every registration for science classes in graduate school. I smiled, knowing I would do well because he created in me the love of science.
But more importantly, perhaps he also passed on to me the power of living with purpose by modeling it!
I hope you will embrace all five of my powerful reasons for finding the Power in your Purpose. I hope you will become a beneficiary of all of the amazing benefits of living your life with purpose! And with great passion!
If you are local to the Dallas area or can get here on Saturday, March 27, I am re-launching a newly revised version of the Power of Purpose! Click here for more information.