Most of us set goals we perceive to make us successful. We do so based on outside influences or associate success with fame, name, or money. While some end up pursuing their short-lived passion thinking that it is their purpose, some go through their whole life never truly knowing what they are really after. And because they never try to find, most of them experience feelings of emptiness. If you are content with what you do, that’s perfectly fine. But to live your life to the fullest, it is just not enough to set goals. It is also important to align them with your passion and purpose and must know how to find the right balance.
Though most of us do work towards certain goals, often we neglect the very reason why we work so hard for success in the first place. When you set goals from a place of external approval, need, or fear of missing out, it robs you off of your time and energy. You then pursue them with a sense of obligation, compulsion and lack of control. This makes you give up on your goals easily. Whereas focusing on what you love doing and why you do proves more worthwhile.
True success is all about working passionately towards meaningful goals.
What makes passion different from purpose
Some people consider passion as a source of motivation, while some consider it as an inherent quality. Passion however is most commonly defined as having a strong desire for something that brings us utmost happiness, joy or keeps us in the zone/ flow state. It acts as a push and pull and creates a sense of enthusiasm and motivation.
Some people are content with pursuing things they are passionate about. But, to find real meaning of your life, it is important to make your passions more purposeful. Purpose provides you with a sense of meaning and helps shape your passions into goals. Good goal-setting is not preferring one over the other, but it is about both purpose and passion. While both are connected, they are quite distinct. Here are few things that make them different
Emotion & Reason.
The goals we are mostly passionate about are driven by our emotion. It is a state of mind when we are effected by something external, such as perception, desires or feelings.We want to achieve certain objective because achieving them makes us feel good. Like for instance, a particular sport, career or a profession. It is the emotion or a feeling that is primarily driving you to move forward with what you want to do.
Passion is something you need in your life, but it is not everything. Purpose on the other hand is the intended or desired result; aim or an end goal. It is the real reason why we do what we do. Purpose creates a sense of resoluteness and determination in achieving an intended result. In other words, your purpose is the foundation on which you set goals you are most passionate about.
Passion can be often about selfish motives. You derive deep enjoyment from things you are most passionate about. This is the reason when you are not passionate about something, you cannot give your best. Passions are often pursued even when it means putting yourself before other.
On the contrary, purpose involves an attitude of servitude. It is about adding value to what you do or to others while you are pursuing your goals. Your purpose often requires you to put others first and may require you to push aside selfish motives for greater good. However, when you use your passion to positively impact or serve others, it becomes a purpose.
Purpose needs a singular focus. Passion on the other changes according to what you feel or based on the emotions you are experiencing. The thing is that you might pursue more than one passion at a time, or at different times of your life. One can be passionate for several things. Also, they don’t change even if things do not go as planned. Purpose is singularly focused, is very specific and is for long-term. Passion on the other hand can come and go and can be short-lived.
What & Why
Passion is all about ‘what’ you are passionate about or what you love the most. Whereas your purpose is ‘why’ behind what you do or a particular goal. It gives you a sense of direction. Passion is often connected to your innate abilities, talents and desires. It is what you love to do well without being stressed and helps shape your personality. Purpose is more about the reason behind your actions. It shapes who you are as a person or your identity. Purpose allows you to align your life choices to your authentic self.
Why both are important
Though many of us believe passion comes first, but when it doesn’t last, we get frustrated and abandon our goals. Simply knowing what you are passionate about is not going to help you achieve it. Since our habits are a manifestation of our beliefs, only motivation cannot take you longer in accomplishing your goals. If you are setting goals only from a place of interest without clarity on what they really mean for you, you will not be able to stick with them for long-term.
Your goals must be centered around what you truly are passionate about, but it is also is essential to explore what they mean for you, or what purpose they serve. Even if your purpose is something very big, when there is no passion driving you, you will eventuality lose your enthusiasm and get burned out. Passion and purpose are vital for a successful goal-setting. Just as you need purpose that positively impacts other areas of your life, you need passion to stay course and to find your flow in achieving your purpose.
How to find the right balance
The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score. — Bill CopelandTweet
Setting goals for a purpose and being passionate in going about achieving them will allow you to balance between structure and flexibility. You might have a specific purpose or few passions, but if you don’t make sure that you set goals around them, you will not be able to pursue any. Here are some questions to explore your passion and purpose and to include them in your goal-setting process
What am I passionate about?
Many of us lead our lives based on outside influences which often lead to living life superficially, rather than living from your authentic self. Self-awareness is the key to gain clarity on what really drives you if you still haven’t figured it out yet.
Ask yourself, What makes me feel in the zone? Or what is it that inspires me the most? Or What would I use my time for if I would do what I like and still get paid? May be it is that the things you are currently involved do not represent your true passions. It might be your chosen subject, job, or career. Try to gain clarity on how it differed from things you really love. This puts you in perspective of what you love the most.
How can I make my passion more purposeful ?
If you have difficulty in finding what makes your passions purposeful, then it is better to begin with identifying your core values. Since your personal values are central to who you are and who you want to become, they act as a foundation for your most meaningful pursuits. Having clearly defined values will save you from the inner conflict or turmoil.
Do a self-evaluation of your personal strengths, skills or talents and check whether they are or aren’t in alignment with your values. Ask yourself, What is my purpose and Why do I want to do what I am doing? Is what I am doing in alignment with my priority values? Are my goals meaningful? What impact do they have on others?
Are my goals well defined?
Use your passion and purpose as guideposts to set clearly defined goals. One way to check whether you can turn them into something achievable is to run them through SMART goal-setting framework. This way, you can break down your unstructured passions into vision-based goals. When you turn your purposeful passion into a well-defined goal, you make it specific and focus on improving specific areas of your life.
Similarly, by making them measurable, you can track your progress or measure them in some way. Sometimes our passions can be very vague and not all of them seem achievable. This might be because either they don’t fit within your abilities, skills or it might be the case that some of them can be beyond your control, or it might be that you don’t have available resources. Checking whether your clearly defined goal is achievable, realistic and making it time-based can make it more achievable.
What are my priority to-do’s
Once you have clearly defined goals, use that as a core list and translate them into to-do tasks. Having effective to-do lists is to avoid the planning fallacy or the tendency to underestimate the resources required to complete your tasks. Without to-do’s you might optimistically try to fit too many things or you might fail to reach them in required timeframes and eventually might become discouraged or lose momentum.
When your goal is big and complex, you end up with long list of tasks to accomplish. Break-down your big goals into small manageable tasks. While breaking down however, you might find that some your goals aren’t achievable or not time-based. Edit your smart goals and go through the process again until you have a list of to-do’s. Then organise your to-do’s according to their priority based on importance and urgency. Prioritising prevents procrastination and you can attend to what is essential to reach your smart goals.
Are my desired outcomes clearly defined?
Just as having a well-defined goal is important, so is having well-defined outcomes. Outcomes are the positive changes that happen as a consequence of doing a particular task. If you know your desired outcomes, you can make appropriate decisions to overcome any obstacle you face in the process of attaining a goal. Well-defined outcomes pave way to manage your resources efficiently. Otherwise, you get entangled into excessive processes or busyness and might get discouraged in face of an obstacles or challenges.
Knowing the purpose of your outcome helps you decide on whom you want to involve in achieving your outcomes. Write down all the reasons why this broad outcome is most desirable or important to you. Your outcomes should be positive and motivating enough to reach your final goal. Ask yourself, What will be the good thing that will happen when I achieve my goal? What may I or others gain by achieving this outcome? What are the risks and challenges involved and what is my plan to deal with potential obstacles? What are the potential consequences of my outcomes?
Are my thoughts aligned?
Our mindset plays an important role in pursuing our passions with purpose. Thoughts if aligned with our goals and with what we want to achieve can take us forward. We all engage in a continuous internal dialogue in which the meaning and emotional associations triggers the next. Negative thoughts make us out of tune with what we want to achieve. They can make us stress about the future, or dwell on the past failures and thereby sabotage our efforts.
Work on developing a positive mental attitude to free yourself from your negative self-talk. Challenge your negative thoughts and feed your mind with positive information, affirmations, conversations that make you more capable and competent. A positive mindset keeps your thoughts aligned with your purpose and passion.
What is important for you— passion or purpose?
What motivates you the most and why?
How aligned are your goals with your purpose and passion?
What are some of your strategies to make your goals more meaningful ?
How can you make your passions more purposeful starting from today?
If you don’t pursue things you are passionate about, then it’s almost certain that you will be very disappointed. Same is the case if you don’t set goals with a purpose. Having a clear perspective on what is the difference and finding the right balance is what enhances your goal-setting process. Knowing that your time, focus and energy are put into right purposeful passions, it will make your goal pursuit more fun and exciting.
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