Why learning your purpose involves going back to middle school

purpose thoughts Feb 28, 2019

No. Anything but that!

I just hear that coming from so many people when they think about those often treacherous and challenging years. Good news is that you don’t have to think about any of the bad things from those years. Learning your purpose is really about the language that you would have used back then as opposed to any of the cringy things you may have faced (or have caused).

Our purpose has been with us for a very long time and is somehow part of our spirit or soul or energy or the wiring of our brains. The source isn’t as important as the fact that we have been interacting with it since we were young.

That means that how we would have used when we first described it, even if we didn’t know what it was exactly, would be in the language of a young person. I find that many people have a hard time remembering the language they used when they were in elementary school but what they said in middle school, say 5th, 6th or 7th grade when then 10, 11 or 12 is well within reach.

That means the language you would have used back then is the most powerful way of describing your purpose. I’ve done with work with well over a hundred people at this point, and the process is generally the same. They start with a purpose that is in their best “adult” language. The purpose sounds excellent and is often very inspiring but what they don’t realize is that it is heady/intellectual.

When presented with the question “how would you convey that same feeling in language that you would have used when you were 10, 11, or 12?”, they pause and say something like “Oh - that’s a good question. I’ve never thought of it that way.”

This question puts them back in how they want themselves and others to feel. The language they use is more simple and heartfelt. Things like “love,” “happiness,” “joy,” and “beauty.”

That is the language of purpose.

Using this language grounds you in the feeling and the experience of your purpose. It makes it real for you. Less intellectual and “adultified.”

When I follow up and ask “are you about people being/feeling … [simplified word],?” they usually smile, chuckle a bit and say “of course.” Then they go on to explain how this thing shows up throughout their life and influences so many of their decisions.

We explore how their adultified purpose and so many of their other actions are perfect reflections of their more clear purpose. They laugh and get excited as they see how the energy of that younger version weaves throughout the fabric of their lives. Not always perfect and some times not even close, but it is still there.

Seeing that connection between their purpose and their actions throughout their lives strengthens the foundation of their purpose. So no matter what they have or haven’t done, they can say “this is my purpose, this is who I am.” That builds courage and conviction and empowers them to take the actions they see are next for them.

That's why your purpose is always in the language of a young person. But don't take my word for it. If you know your purpose, ask yourself how you would convey that seem feeling in the language of a young person?

See what happens.

If you are looking to learn your purpose, check out my two-question purpose statement session.



Clarifying your purpose doesn't have to take a lot of stress and overwhelm. My two-step process takes less than 10 minutes. And it works.

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