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Discovering Your Life Purpose - An Overview

By Karin Syren

When you look in the mirror, do you see a purposeful, productive, satisfied human being looking back at you, or do you see someone who's caught in the grind, moving on autopilot, and not having much fun in the process?

How long has it been since you opened your eyes in the morning with a sense of anticipation, yes and even excitement? If you haven't felt that sense of wonder and expectancy since you were a child, you're not alone, read on!

If this sounds familiar, you're probably also wondering why you're here, whether there is a purpose or if you're an accident? Is there something you should be doing with your life that you're missing? How will you know? And how in heaven's name should you go about it?

Life with a plan is the answer. You're may be thinking, "Oh, no, not that, not another plan! Ah, but this is a grand plan, one you can truly live by, a freeing plan, not another system to be bound to. This plan works for you not on you!

Today we're introducing the concepts of PURPOSE, MISSION, VISIONS & GOALS. These terms are often confused and mistakenly used interchangeably, when in reality they're very different, though definitely linked. An understanding of their meanings and the part they play in moving us forward is vital to getting us back to that place of excitement and anticipation we knew as children.


These two terms are often used interchangeably, but what appears to be a subtle difference is significant to your success. The simple difference is that purpose is what you're made for and mission is what you're meant to do about it.

Each of us has a purpose, a reason we were created. Discovering what that is unlocks our greatest potential and catapults us forward into our destiny.

Mission, from the Latin mittere to send, is the beginning of the adventure. Once we know our purpose for existing in the first place, we can begin the process of discerning our destiny, what we're meant to do about it.

No one is here without purpose and each of us has a mission we are meant to live out. Everyone has sensed at some time that they were meant to be or do something bigger than themselves, a reason for living beyond just getting by. No one is a mistake. Whether you know it or are even able to grasp it, you're here right now, at this particular point in history, for a reason.

No one on earth, from one end of time to another can fill your spot exactly the way you can. You are unique. Even the marks of your fingertips are unlike any that ever were or ever will be again; you're "fearfully and wonderfully made according to the Book of Psalms. If your very fingerprints bespeak such uniqueness, how much more your purpose for existing!

Once you are certain of your purpose, discovering your mission is an adventure in itself, a journey into the realm of your gifts and talents, a look at what excites you and where your passions lie. It's uncovering and examining those markers that have been there all along pointing the way to the answer to the major questions of your life.


Webster defines vision as the act or power of imagination; mode of seeing or conceiving. It is engaging the mind in conceptualizing. And it's a great activity for the porch swing, walking through the forest preserves, or floating in a boat, loosely attached to a fishing pole.

Visions are the pictures of what you will do about your discovered mission, your reason for being here. If mission is the hub of the wheel, then visions are the spokes. Visions are a lot like oil paintings, colorful, detailed, diverse and they come in all sizes and styles.

They all have in common that they begin as a dream in the mind of an artist and they only appear on canvas when they have become life size on the inside of the visionary and they simply must manifest! When the vision is so real on the inside that you find you can almost operate from within it, it's time to make a path for it into the physical world (see the author's article, Birthing Your Dream).


It's at this point that goals come into the plan. According to Webster, one of the synonyms for goal is design, which implies a carefully calculated plan. Goals are where the rubber meets the road.

You may be thinking "oh no, not more goals. I get goals at work, goals at home, on the school board, from the Chamber of Commerce No more goals! But this is where the artist begins preparation to bring the dream to life on canvas; building the frame, stretching the canvas, applying the gesso, choosing and mixing the paints, drawing preliminary sketches. Each step in the process is necessary; each step pointedly bringing him closer to the realization, in living color, of what until now has been alive and vibrant only in his mind's eye.

It's at this point that she begins the visible work. The rest has been an inner exercise, a function of the mind and heart. Designing goals involves doing the research, getting out the slide rule, making the Gantt chart, doing the sketches, calculating the cost. But by this time the vision is so real and the visionary is so ready to burst with it, that the goals are no chore, but a welcome means by which to deliver the dream.

It's only when we confuse the process, mixing up the terms, trying to do them out of order that life becomes a chore. Discover your purpose and your mission, begin to create your visions and design well-crafted goals to support them and bring them to pass and before long you'll be the enthusiastic kid in the mirror again, eager to get out and make a giant splash in the world!

Copyright 2005 So-lu'shunz Management Services

About The Author

Karin Syren is a certified coach specializing in the EffectivenessCoaching process. She has helped leaders at all levels to increase their personal and professional effectiveness by guiding them through the process of learning to do less and be more. Gain, regain and maintain control of your life direction and sign up for the FREE introductory DISCOVERING YOUR PURPOSE & WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT teleclass,


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