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How to Write A Purpose Statement

In late 2007 I was introduced to “Coach Terry,” a phone-based life coach.

I was dubious about the phone-only part but I gave it a shot for a few months and learned a ton.

The most important thing I learned from Terry was the importance of having a statement of purpose for anything substantial in my life (you can find a sample statement of purpose below).

I began writing a statement of purpose for my life, my business, my role in business, a holiday trip, my romantic relationship or even just my plan for a day.

I’ve found it useful to constantly be asking myself what the purpose of something I’m doing is, or when people ask me to do something or say they are doing something, I ask them: “What is the purpose of that?”

Be purposeful about all things in your life…and you’ll find that the outcome is more favorable.

So, here’s how to write a statement of purpose along with some purpose statement tips:

1) List Your Expectations

Write down all the expectations you have about your purpose related to a certain topic (e.g. your life, job, relationship with someone, etc.) on the left-hand side of the page.

Examples of expectations are wants, needs and even fears — for example, if you’re writing a purpose statement about a job you should be answering the following questions:

What do I really want my job to be?

What do I really need in my job?

What fears do I have about my job?

Spend at least 5 to 10 minutes on this part…and really open up!

You should now have at least 7 to 10 expectations — and they will probably be centered around a few topics or themes  (e.g. for a job, it might be to make money, have fun, have a flexible schedule, etc.)

2) Purpose Statement

Now, fresh from writing out those expectations, immediately write down one long sentence that starts with “The purpose of my __________ is to …” and the rest of the statement should flow pretty naturally (hint: if you have any challenge here, take your Expectations and group them into a few topics or themes and use those as your purpose statement).

Writing a purpose statement is that easy!

You now have the beginnings of the purpose statement — you can refine this now or later (if you’re like me, you’ll find that you remember new wants, needs and fears later on — so just add them in and iterate).

3) Bonus Round: WriteI Will” Statements

If you want to take this thing one step further, return to the expectations and to the right of each of them write down an “I will” statement.

The “I will” statement should be something actionable that you could do to be more purposeful.

Try to make each “I will” statement specific, measureable, actionable and timely.

Don’t worry about ever doing such things — this isn’t a to-do list — just write it down!

The act of merely writing them down will make you more mindful of your purpose.

I promise you that if you do this exercise, you will be more purposeful on whatever the topic.

So, now you have a purpose statement (remember, you can refine it all you want) and even some actions that you can take (I sometimes DO treat it like a to-do list by printing it out and doing some of the actions immediately)

Samples of Purpose Statements

Here are some sample purpose statements I’ve written:

Life Purpose Statement — My life purpose is to smile most of the time, develop myself constantly to find my greatness, be productive the vast majority of the time, give plenty to others and to have a positive vibration on the planet.

Purpose Statement For Layoffs I Had To Make — The purpose of our layoffs is to be able to execute the plan on a timely basis, to be respected in the execution and to protect the jobs of productive people

Business Purpose Statement — The purpose of our business is to have fun, help people and make a little money.

Purpose Statement For My Job –  The purpose of my job is to make money, meet only with people I love and respect, work on things I enjoy and provide a flexible schedule to take care of the primary choices in my life. Check out 3 Easy Steps To Write A Purpose Statement For Your Next Job.

Purpose Statement For A New Management Meeting I Had To Start (see my Daily Huddle Article) — The purpose of the daily huddle meeting is to align the management team and to increase the speed of our growth.

Purpose Statement for My Wife — The purpose of the relationship with my life-mate is to have a passionate, healthy and positive relationship — while still enjoying some vices! — that leads to a larger family with children I adore.

I also highly recommend you check out this How To Write A Purpose Statement article by Steve Pavlina.

That lead to the following life purpose statement by Mr. Pavlina: To live consciously and courageously, to resonate with love and compassion, to awaken the great spirits within others, and to leave this world in peace.

Enjoy being purposeful!

14 Comments

  • http://www.symphonyoflove.net/blog BK

    Thank you for this article. I need to write a purpose of statement for a programme I am applying to and don’t know where to start. Coming to your page and reading this post sure brought back some memories of the time I went through effective writing course in University. Suddenly, everything is coming back to me.

  • Rob Kelly

    Ahh, that sounds quite purposeful, BK! Best of luck with your programme!

  • http://robdkelly.com/career-advice/questions-to-ask-employers-when-youre-interviewing-for-a-job/ Questions To Ask Employers When You’re Interviewing For A Job | Rob Kelly

    [...] the company have a purpose statement or mission [...]

  • http://robdkelly.com/entrepreneuriship/how-to-build-a-successful-business/ How To Build A Successful Business From The Ground Up (Tips From Gerber!) | Rob Kelly

    [...] your “primary aim” (as Gerber calls it). I call this a Life Purpose and you can try my How to Write A Purpose Statement article which includes an exercise that you could use to figure out your “Primary Aim” [...]

  • Venugopal Gopakumar

    Thank you.. it was really helpful.I am yet to start writing a purpose statement to a new job application , but I found this to be very useful.

  • Sara Ebrahimi

    Hi.im sara ebrahimi from iran.i want to write a statement of purpose for applying for nursingjob please heip me.thank you sooomuch.

  • http://www.robdkelly.com Rob Kelly

    Hello, Sara. You’ll have to write that purpose statement yourself — just follow the steps above and you should do just great. Best of luck.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002046553027 Danish Khalil

    Thank you so much… very helpful indeed!! =)

  • Poop

    poop

  • http://ocdelight.com/2012/03/30/productivity-the-job-purpose-statement/ Productivity: The Job Purpose Statement « ocdelight
  • Nanghtayhtay

    Thank you so much for the article. It is very useful and I have to start writing for the statement of interest.

  • Farzanaali53

    I really liked this ideas .it’s so helpful thank you so much .this page is solved all my problems and its so useful. thank you 

  • http://www.ongig.com/ Rob Kelly

    Good article on how purpose in life can help stave off cognitive decline and promote a healthier life. 

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323316804578163501792318298.html

  • abdilahi

    thnk u very much for this article i am very glad this design and writing the purpose of statement