Defining Your Purpose

When tackling new challenges, it is often difficult to stay on track without a clearly defined purpose. When I work with clients they often have something they want to change but struggle to define the why. Often the reason why is about pleasing another person. Other times it is about what they are supposed to do. At the end of the day, it needs to be about something much deeper.

I do a little exercise with clients that goes like this…write out all the reasons why you want to change _________. These answers tend to be on the surface of things. There is nothing wrong with the answers, but they tend to be more superficial in nature. For example, I want this change, so I can be there for my kids.

I then ask clients to review the answers they wrote down and think about why those reasons are so important. Why are those reasons meaningful to you? Why these reasons? How do these reasons benefit you? Then I have them jot down the series of responses. These tend to get a bit deeper. For example, why is being there for your kids so important? It is important because I didn’t have a better life.

I ask them again to review the response they wrote and think about why those reasons are so important. Why these reasons? In what way will they benefit you?
The goal is to go even deeper. For example, why is your children having a better life so important? It is important because my childhood was filled with times that no one was there for me and I do not want that for them.

Last, I ask them to look at the list that was written and consider why these are important. Why these reasons? In what way will they benefit you?
For example, having no one during my childhood to support me makes me want to be sure that I can feel proud of myself for being there for my children.
When the last set of answers are written, look at those answers and complete the following purpose statement. The word that belongs I the first blank should be an action word. The words/phrase in the second blank should be why you are doing what you said in the first blank.

“I AM _____________________SO THAT _____________________________________.”
What are you trying to change and what is the purpose that will keep you motivated?

Until next time….
Change. Discover. Transform.
Carla Carter, Ed.D., LCPC, CMPC, EMDR Certified

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