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How To Properly Define Your Passions & Purpose

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Over the years, I’ve worked with many companies and found the ones with lucid and succinctly described visions are more likely to succeed than those with unclear or highly complex visions. Yet as individuals, we often don’t take the time to clearly articulate our own passions or purpose. To help you define yours, I’ve created a simple test that I call The Funnel Test.

The following is an excerpt from Your Network Is Your Net Worth: Unlock the Hidden Power of Connections for Wealth, Success, and Happiness in the Digital Age by Porter Gale, former VP of Marketing for Virgin America.

Define Your Passions & Purpose With The Below Funnel Test:

The Funnel Test To Define Your Passion & Purpose

Step 1: Define your three greatest passions or a succinct set of words that clearly define your core interests

You can put a high priority on any type of passion, from family to fitness or education to the environment. For example, I watched my mother build a network based on her passions of volunteering, family, and fitness when, after having lived her entire life in Minnesota, she moved to California to be closer to her family. Within sixty days of arriving, my mother joined a master’s swim team, found a group of women who played tennis at the park, and became an alternate in a golf foursome.

If you can find activities, work, or relationships that combine two or more of your core passions, you are likely to hit the jackpot and be more effective in and excited about your actions and activities.

Next, grab a pen and make three columns, one for each passion. Make a commitment to improve, particularly where your involvement is limited. Let’s say that if you’re passionate about photography, make a commitment to go to photography exhibits several times a year and find online communities about the topic.

For example, two of my goals are to take an improvisation class as a way to nurture my interest in storytelling and to go on weekly hikes with friends to support my passion for health.

Step 2: Define your desired tone

How do you want to present yourself to the world? What is your authentic voice? Are you quiet and reserved? Witty? Bold? Irreverent? To use the example of my mom again, I’d define her tone as reserved. She’s understated and is more likely to listen first and talk second.

Now fill the space below your passion circles with a selected word for your tone. Like a funnel, where the contents flows from top to bottom, envision all of your actions being influenced by your tone. Remember, simple is good.

Step 3: Define your core purpose in twenty words or less

What do you want to accomplish in life and work? Write what is in your gut, and look at the passion words in your Funnel Test. Your goal is to write a phrase of fewer than twenty words that describes your purpose.

My recommendation is to keep this as simple as possible. Some brands and companies do this, and it also happens to be a valuable exercise for self-reflection for any individual.

Fred Reid, the founding chief executive officer of Virgin America, shared with me how the airline’s purpose, “To create an airline people love”, was born: “I had written it on a paper and had thrown it into the trash. I initially thought it was too simplistic, but that is what we wanted to do. Can you imagine? Have an airline people loved?” After some deliberation, Reid and the founding team kept coming back to the simple phrase and decided it was the perfect mantra for the start-up that faced a complicated uphill battle prior to liftoff in 2007.

Sometimes we have to make sacrifices or take baby steps in the short-term to help us get to where we want to be. However, if you don’t even know where you want to go, it will be even harder to get there.

Once you’ve defined your passions and developed a focused purpose, your networking efforts will be more effective and authentic. Use this test as a filter to help you guide your activities and meetings.

Stay optimistic, stay productive, and be the best you can be. Stay focused on your purpose, but know there is potential learning in every action.

Do you have any suggestions on how someone can define your purpose and passions? Please suggest your thoughts below!

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. frank

    Aug 6, 2013 at 3:48 am

    This is truly motivating!

  2. Internet Business Kick Start

    Jul 19, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    As Napoleon Hill said so succinctly, a burning desire coupled with a definite major purpose is the true recipe for success.

  3. Jim

    Jun 22, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Writing goals down and articulating them each day further internalises the goal to position ones self for the inevitable success

  4. Admin

    Jun 20, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    As it’s been said many times…write down your goals and put them somewhere you can see them EVERYDAY…eventually you’ll take action and those goals will become a reality!

    And as always, never try to re-invent the wheel..just learn to how to take what has worked for someone else and then duplicate their success!

  5. Theshef (@TheShef)

    Jun 20, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Keeping your goals simple and in front of you is absolutely essential to your success! Don’t complicate, just create and execute!

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8 Ways to L.E.V.E.R.A.G.E Your Story and Make Your Book Your New Business Card

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“I should write a book,” is something that every single person says to themselves at one point or another. Then, on the occasion that a family member, friend or mentee echo’s the statement, we decide to commit and dive into the process of translating our powerful story into the pages of a book. But here’s the thing, although “Just write” is a widely shared piece of advice for those bold enough to take action to go from idea to finished book, that advice will leave your book collecting dust on virtual shelves and not generating the revenue you envision for your message. (more…)

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6 Steps to Changing Your Scarcity Mindset

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Having a scarcity mindset means fearing you’ll lose your source of income, shying away from taking risks, and believing there’s a set amount of success in the world. Its counterpart, an abundance mindset, believes that there’s opportunity for growth, risks are worth taking, and when we win, we all win together. To succeed in business, you need to adopt an abundance mindset. But how do you change your perspective?

Here are 6 ways you can change your perspective immediately:

1. Decide You Want to Change

The first step in changing your scarcity mindset is to acknowledge who you are and decide that you want to change. I compare it to the time twenty years ago when I decided to quit smoking. 

Smoking is clearly stupid, but back then it was widely accepted. Still, that’s not an excuse. The first thing I did was admit that I was addicted. The second step was making the commitment to quit. I had to decide that I didn’t want anything to have control over me anymore.

Those who want to change their scarcity mindset have to do the same thing. You may have to break your goals down into doable chunks, but you also have to keep your oars in the water. You have to keep rowing, put your back into it, and look for better opportunities. 

One of the hardest challenges will be changing how you view the ideas of others. You can’t think of those ideas as a threat, or the people as a threat. Don’t worry so much about personal success as you do about the success of the group. Remember the adage: there are three ways to do things—my way, your way, and a better way.

This notion of abundance goes beyond wealth. That’s part of it, of course, but embracing the idea of abundance means you want to experience more. You want to help more people. You want to have a greater impact on your family and your community. You have to acknowledge that you’re tired of worrying about your car breaking down and reassure yourself that if it does break down, you’ll find a way to fix it or get a new one. If you decide to buy a new car, donate your old one to the humane society so they can help animals. That’s abundance.

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” – Jim Rohn

2. Stay on Your Path

If you’re an entrepreneur starting a business, you probably already have an abundance mindset. That’s excellent. But you still need to keep working on your idea, regardless of the failures or setbacks you encounter. Just because you’re optimistic about your future doesn’t mean you don’t have to work hard and swim against the tide from time to time.

3. Talk about the Obstacles You’ll Face

Having an abundance mindset doesn’t mean you blithely glide over every hurdle. You won’t. Instead, you have to anticipate potential problems and start plotting how you’ll get past them. If you’re confident and optimistic, the answers come more quickly and in greater numbers, thus improving your chances of success. You can’t assume your business idea is going to be a mega-hit right from the start, and that you’ll make tons of money. That might happen, but chances are you’ll have to work long and hard hours first.

4. Develop Good Habits

It’s vital that you set strong goals and adopt the habits that will help you reach those goals. Networking is key to learning and to building contacts and community. It’s not just about the help you can receive, but the help you can give. Find ways to appreciate the uniqueness of others, whether you’re working with them or having a cocktail at the local pub.

“I have learned that champions aren’t just born; champions can be made when they embrace and commit to life-changing positive habits.” – Lewis Howes

5. Address One Problem at a Time

Starting a new business is often daunting. You may have a dream of what you want to accomplish, but the task in front of you seems overwhelming. Where do you start?

I like the approach Desmond Tutu once advocated. He said “There is only one way to eat an elephant, [and that’s] one bite at a time.” What this means is that the bigger the endeavor, the more crucial it is that you break up the challenge into smaller pieces. The problems seem less intimidating and more doable when you look at them in smaller, discrete portions.

It’s not unusual for people to freeze up or get discouraged when faced with a big, hairy task, so in addition to the wisdom of Desmond Tutu, it also helps to keep in mind this observation by Mark Twain: “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” It’s much easier to make progress in your big goal when you chip away at the challenges.

6. Don’t Kick the Can

It may be tempting to put off work on a particularly gnarly problem or to delay a decision on something until you have more information, but be forewarned: you can only kick the can down the road so many times before it becomes the size of a fifty-gallon drum. When that happens, procrastination is no longer an option.

Instead, just make a decision. Whether it’s the right decision or the wrong one, at least you did something. If it turns out to be the wrong decision, at least now you know what not to do, and you’re halfway there. You’ll learn and you’ll be able to adjust. You miss those opportunities when you put off making a move.

Once you have an abundance mindset, the possibilities open to you will seem endless. 

How have you developed an abundance mindset in life? Share your thoughts and ideas below!

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