Why You Should Name Your Purpose

We all have unique value to bring to the world. But knowing how to bring that value to life isn’t easy — unless you have a purpose statement.

According to Deanna Singh, chief change agent at Flying Elephant and author of Purposeful Hustle, a purpose statement is important, because it’ll help you determine what to say yes to, and what to walk away from. Plus, when you find yourself conflicted or facing obstacles, reminding yourself of your purpose can help you overcome those challenges.


  1. [Music]

    On screen: AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE

    DEANNA SINGH: Hello, my name is Deanna Singh, and I'm the Chief Change Agent for Flying Elephant.

    On screen:DEANNA SINGH, Chief Change Agent, Flying Elephant

    DEANNA SINGH: And what we're going to talk about today is naming your purpose, why that's so important,and what you can do once you've named it.

    On screen:WHY IS NAMING YOUR PURPOSE SO IMPORTANT?

    DEANNA SINGH: Now a lot of times, the question that I will get is, "Deanna, why do I need to have a purpose statement? Why is that even important?"

    On screen:PURPOSE STATEMENT: A BRIEFF DESCRIPTION OF YOUR PASSIONS AND VALUES

    DEANNA SINGH: It allows for you to understand what you need to say yes to, what you need to say no to, and it helps you get through obstacles. The “weight” that you get to naming your purpose is by looking at the experiences, the opportunities, the skills that you have, and the things that make you feel so passionate? And then writing out what is it that I am uniquely positioned — because of all of those experiences — to do in the world?

    On screen:SAY YES TO THE RIGHT THINGS

    DEANNA SINGH:So the very first thing that you'll be able to do once you've named your purpose is, you are going to be able to say yes to the right things. You see, when you have your purpose statement, you'll be able to apply it to the things that are being requested of you, the things that are taking your time, and you'll be able to say, you know what? Does this fit within my purpose? And if it does, then you can go ahead and move forward.

    On screen:KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO

    DEANNA SINGH:But you're also going to be able to use it to say no. Now, I know this has been a big problem for me. I love to say yes to people, so it's hard to say no. But when you know what your purpose is, it's easier, because you can tell people. You know what? This doesn't align with my purpose.

    On screen:STAY ON TRACK TO OVERCOME OBSTICLES

    DEANNA SINGH:And the third thing-- and probably the most important thing — is that when you know what your purpose is, in those moments where you get stuck — you can take your purpose statement and you can ask yourself a simple question. What is that next thing that I can do that will really help me align with where I'm headed and what I'm dreaming about and what I'm passionate about and what my purpose is?

    On screen:WHY NAMING YOUR PURPOSE IS SO IMPORTANT, SAY YES TO THE RIGHT THINGS, KNNOW WHEN TO SAY NO, STAY ON TRACK TO OVERCOME OBSTICLES

    DEANNA SINGH:So if you name your purpose, and if you use your purpose to say yes to things and say no to things and to get yourself through obstacles, you are going to find that you will be able to do things that you couldn't even dream of. All you have to do is hustle with purpose.

    On screen:AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE, Insure carefully, dream fearlessly.

    [Music]


But, what exactly is a purpose statement?

A purpose statement is a brief description of your passions and values. And it should be used to guide all your big decisions in life. When you’re crafting yours, think about what gives you energy and what tasks excite you. What are you good at, and how can you use those skills to live a more meaningful life? How and for what do you want to be remembered? Etc.

For some, naming their passion is easy. For others, it may be difficult to choose just one! But challenge yourself to think about ways your many passions might fit together. What is the common thread, and how might you weave it through a purpose statement that can ground you when the lines seem a bit blurry?

After some initial brainstorming, it’s time to craft a succinct purpose statement that you can live by. To do this, first write out some thoughts answering this prompt: “I am passionate about…” Then, follow up with a response to this: “I am uniquely positioned to…” Once you write these out on paper, you’ll likely feel inspired to write out your official purpose statement.

For example, Deanna has many passions, but the thread that runs through them is helping others — particularly those in marginalized communities. And, through her experiences, education, skills and position in life, she’s uniquely able to do so. So, her purpose statement reads like this: “My purpose is to shift power to marginalized communities.”

What’s yours? Watch the above video for more ideas, and check out Deanna’s work to remain inspired!


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Related Topics: Passions , Personal Development