How often do you find yourself saying “that wasn’t what I meant to say (or do!)”? You may be very clear about how you want a particular conversation to go and instead you find yourself saying or doing something that you don’t actually mean.
Situations or people can get the best of you. So can stress, exhaustion or other pressures. Whatever the reason, you immediately realize that what just happened was not at all in alignment with your defined purpose or who you want to be. If you are like me, this disconnected behavior not only shows up in your leadership, it also, unfortunately, shows up with the people you love.
The question is this – How can you become more consistent and purposeful? How can you leverage your purpose to drive your actions? What are the possibilities if you succeed in doing so?
Here are 5 questions to help you to align your words and actions with your purpose. These questions apply to purpose with a small “p” – a situational intent – or to purpose with a capitol “P” – a life purpose.
What is your purpose or intent? –At its core, a purpose is a beacon. It is the energy behind your most fulfilling behaviors. It is inspirational and yet can be translated into concrete action and clarity of language. For more on creating a life purpose, click here.
How do you know when you are living “on purpose?” – To answer this question, you may want to begin by defining the impact of your purpose. Understand what behaviors and communication support your purpose. How would others recognize when you are living your purpose? How do you know when you are living your purpose? When your message and behaviors are aligned with your purpose, you are likely highly energized.
What difference does your purpose make? Why does aligning your purpose and behavior matter? To answer this question, you might consider the impact of your purpose on others. Ask yourself what is important about your purpose to the people with whom you interact? What difference does it make? Keep asking “what else is important” to really get clear on the difference your purposeful behaviors make.
What is getting in your way of acting in alignment with your intent? The answer to this question may take some digging. Are there emotions that have gone unexpressed that are now showing up in your communication? Are there questions of trust or skills or relationship that are influencing your behavior or words? Your best intentions may be sabotaged by long held beliefs or emotions that have not been acknowledged or expressed.
What reminder points you back to your purpose? The answer to this question is especially important when you are tired, angry, unfocused or otherwise distracted. This reminder might be as simple as a screensaver that holds an image that represents your life purpose. It could be a story or a song. It might also be a trusted friend who gently reminds you when they see you acting out of alignment; anything that brings you back to your purpose. The idea is to have something that brings you back to and reminds you of the importance of your purpose.
The clearer you can become on these questions, the more likely you will be to naturally speak and act from a positive, purpose-filled place. And when you fail to do so, recovery is possible by using the 5 questions to clarify, plan and act.