You don’t find your purpose, you build it (HBR)

A newly-hatched turtle sets off to live its purpose

Mark Twain said,

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

The Harvard Business Review recently published an article about ‘finding out why’: about finding our purpose.

It argues that purpose isn’t something we find but something we build. It might not be only one thing and it might change over time. Inner Leadership agrees.

Mark Twain’s ‘finding out why’ doesn’t have to be a single event: it is an understanding that emerges and deepens over time. But we do have to start somewhere.

Inner Leadership is a set of tools for getting started: for finding your best understanding of your purpose today. Then finding the best way to put that into practice, and inspiring yourself and others to take your first step.

And once we know (even approximately) what our purpose is then we start to know what matters and what we can ignore. That frees up time, reduces stress. And then we can start to bring purpose into everything we do, building enthusiasm, fulfilment, and satisfaction. And even changing our genes.

Viktor Frankl called this search for meaning our “highest calling.” Over time, we deepen our understanding of what our purpose is, which then helps us put it into practice even better.

Do you know your purpose in life? Do you use it to focus on what matters most to you and brings you most joy (and pay a little less attention to some of the craziness of the world)? And do you reflect from time to time on what you have learned recently about what your purpose is, and what it isn’t?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By Jolene Bertoldi via

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