Week 9: Vol. 9. The Power of Purpose

06 Mar

VOL. 9

"True happiness... is not attained through self-gratification,
but through fidelity to a worthy purpose"


-- Helen Keller 

flow dimension shaded. spiritual

I like to describe Motives, Values, and Purpose as three synergistic yet overlapping principles that are the core drivers of human behavior. In my mind, however, both motives and values serve the greater principle of purpose—our reason for doing, meaning and being.

While the power of purpose can be seen through a selfish lens, it more often focuses on something that is much larger than self. Developing the capacity to identify and tap into a deep seeded purpose or purposes unleashes deep and vast resources of energy that can influence the world significantly.

When I think of purpose, I’m reminded of Viktor Frankl’s personal story of transformation (described in Man’s Search for Meaning), where he came to the realization that even if he no longer had any expectations for life, that perhaps life itself expected something more from him. This was a tremendous and profound insight given the circumstances he and millions of other persecuted classes were facing at the time. At that moment, life was no longer about him—it was about something larger than his trials.

If you’ve ever read the books or seen movies about Ernest Shackleton's Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-17) you will not only see great leadership, you’ll come to recognize another classic example of the power of purpose: to save the lives of his men—which he did—another unthinkable accomplishment given the odds of survival.

Another emotional power of purpose example is the extraordinary father and son racing team of Dick and Rick Hoyt. If you haven’t heard of these two men I’ve attached a Sports Illustrated article briefly telling their story. With Rick (the father) having no athletic background or inclination and a son with multiple physical challenges and unable to walk or even communicate without a computer, you would hardly guess that this team has, to date, completed more than three hundred triathlons, marathons, and Iron Man races. Dick was the propulsion and Rick the inspiration. Dick’s driving purpose: to serve his son. Together, this team has inspired the world: Rick, for his passion for life but without the physical tools to act, and Dick, for being perhaps the world’s most dedicated father who helped him experience it.

The power of purpose is seen through a thousand lenses and actions by people who dig deep to actualize powerful missions and vision that serve family, friends, communities, and causes that make a difference in the lives of others and the world.

The power of purpose is so important because it is a major contributor to flow. It draws upon deep levels of energy, connects people to their core values, clarifies mission and vision, compels the planning, goals, preparation, focus, discipline, action, feedback, and many other Flow Assets already discussed in this series.

With purpose, one can hardly escape the blessings of flow. Without the power of purpose, flow is more elusive.

This week, as you consider the life arenas that you desire more flow in, ask yourself: Is there a compelling purpose that you can tap into? If there is not, can you create one? If there is, can you clarify it, embrace it, and commit to it? Either finding it or creating purpose is a skill that will serve you anywhere you want to perform and excel.

Designate this week as a week to tap into the purpose of purpose!


  • The Power of Purpose exercise.
  • Fill out the Power of Purpose exercise and see if you can tap into a deeper source of energy and focus.
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