Fourteen years ago, after a deeply introspective process of discernment, I drafted a personal “Statement of Purpose.” I had done some work helping committees, groups, and organizational teams to develop mission and vision statements. I had also participated in such efforts for groups that I was a member of. It only made sense to take some of that experience and turn it inward to examine myself.
For a group or organization, even the best-crafted mission and vision statements are not useful if they metaphorically sit in a drawer.
These statements need to be living and breathing—they need to be operationalized in order to be impactful. The same is true for a personal statement of purpose. It represents an articulation of an individual’s mission and the personal characteristics, strengths, strivings, and values that are realized in achieving this mission.
I encourage everyone to spend time developing a personal statement of purpose. Seek guidance if you need help doing so. My goal here is to talk about how to make that living and breathing in your own life. To do so, it helps to think of heart, head, and hands—easy to remember because all three words begin with “h”. It also helps to think of three words beginning with “a”: alignment, authenticity, and action.
Most people are living from the perspective of their heads, where their ego-derived identity and personal narrative are embedded. The heart is our center where the essence of our true identity resides.
Many spiritual traditions refer to the false self and the true Self as a way to distinguish between these head-focused and heart-focused centers that co-exist within each of us.
In arriving at a personal statement of purpose, much of the discernment process gives voice to your heart-space. When the hands–what we do, the action part of ourselves–are directed from the ego-driven head, there is a disconnect between who we are in the true core of our being and what we do. When the hands are directed from the heart, we are in alignment with our true selves–who we are and what we do are essentially the same. We are living authentically when we have this heart-to-hand connection. The head does not go away; rather, it aligns into the spaciousness of this expanded consciousness where the self is no longer constrained and bound by a limiting egoic identity. When this occurs, heart-head-hands are all congruous.
The alignment of heart-head-hands allows us the live authentically. Our actions subsequently flow from this. In other words, all the things we do–our thoughts, behaviors, pursuits, actions, conduct, etc. flow outward as a manifestation of who we are at the core, at the essence of our being. What we do reflects and expresses who we are. If my purpose is to chop wood, I give expression to this by chopping wood.
One of the challenges we face is that of discernment or coming to understand what our purpose/mission is. This is the challenge of finding our song. Singing our song is another challenge unto itself. The unique gift that you are can be “operationalized” by remembering heart-head-hands, and alignment-authenticity-actions.
I still follow the same personal “Statement of Purpose” that I crafted fourteen years ago. It has provided me with a North Star to guide me and to help navigate my way through many decisions, and in daily life. I encourage you to find your song. Then, sing your song. Aspire to be the best expression of your true Self on a daily basis. Inspire others to do the same.
Be all that you are…