Understanding Your Purpose — The Six Steps for Creating Your Purpose Statement

David Paul
7 min readMay 26, 2020


Every great business has a “why” behind it. What’s yours? If you don’t know, you need to figure out your purpose to keep yourself pumped for your work.

Every business owner needs to have a defined outcome for their work.

There needs to be a goal or a target that you’re shooting towards. Maybe it’s something you want to achieve in your personal life, like early retirement. And in business, that goal may be to help people solve a specific problem.

The goal, whatever it may be for you, is the endpoint from which you derive your purpose. But to achieve that goal, you need to do more than think about it.

You need to get your purpose down on paper and make it a tangible thing.

That’s where your purpose statement comes into play.

Defining Your Outcome — Melissa Gets to Work

When Melissa came to me, she felt unfulfilled in her work.

She’d transitioned into the hospitality industry and spent a lot of time in the service side of things. She worked in the front of house, bartended, and served in any way that she could.

When she finally had the opportunity to move into a managerial role, she grabbed it.

Sounds great, right?

The problem is that being in lower or middle-management in hospitality means you’re making less money while working more. In her case, she’d just gone through the peak season and found herself resenting the staff who got to clock off on time. They’d leave while she’d still find herself working at 3 am!

But that’s not the only problem. In fact, staying late was not even her major concern.

The biggest problem for her was that she didn’t feel like she was making an impact with her work.

That’s why I recommended creating a purpose statement. But that leads us to a question…

What Is a Purpose Statement?

Simply put, your purpose statement could become the most important document in life.

It’s a way for you to craft who you are and get it down on paper.

Think of it as a codified and tangible resource that you can use to remind yourself why you do what you do. I’ve done this with everybody — from CEOs to my wife.

And I worked with Melissa to create hers.

Your purpose statement becomes the doctrine that you live your life by.

Are you mulling over a new job? Check the statement and see if that job aligns with who you are and what you want.

Thinking about moving to a new location? Check the purpose statement.

Not sure about the relationship you’re in? Check the purpose statement!

Of course, you need to create the thing before you can check it. Just follow these steps and you’ll have it written up in no time.

Step #1 — Map Out Your Four Proudest Events in Life and Business

You’re going to start with a little thought exercise.

I want you to pick out two events from your personal life that you’re proud of. And do it again for your business life. You’ll have a total of four events.

These events are moments in time where you really nailed it. It’s when you felt like you were a gladiator in Rome with thousands of people cheering you on from the stands. This is when you were at your best and felt like nothing could stop you.

Melissa gave me a few of hers, including the time that she gave up alcohol for a few years after her father suffered a stroke. She also told me about an event that she played a huge part in organizing, with the payoff being that 20% of the proceeds went to charity.

How about you? What are those four events for you?

Now, the purpose behind this is to get yourself into a certain mindset.

To feel pride, you must feel fulfilled. You’re proud of yourself because you made the sort of impact that you want to make every single day.

By singling out these moments, you’ve defined who you are in broad strokes. From there, you need to dig a little deeper.

Step #2 — Draw Out the Essence of Your Four Events

Now that you know what made you proud, it’s time to figure out why you felt proud.

This is where you pull out the core themes and elements of your four events.

In Melissa’s case, her business achievements were all about bringing something to fruition. She felt pride because she put her heart and soul into creating something amazing that she cared about.

Melissa also talked about the discipline required, which bled over to her personal events too. And we started to get an idea of the essence of the person from this.

What are the common threads that link your four events?

Maybe you showed great courage in the face of adversity. Perhaps you used the power of empathy to understand others. Take some time to identify the point behind the activities.

This may be the hardest part of the exercise, so don’t rush it. Try to put yourself back into each moment so you can feel how you felt at the time.

Step #3 — Identify Your Power Words

Your power words are the drivers in your life. They’re the words that blend in between your business and personal life.

Put your moments and themes in front of you and try to tap into your inner awareness. Ask yourself what words you feel drawn to when you contemplate those moments.

Melissa came up with a bunch, including:

  • Unforgettable
  • Executed
  • Impacted
  • Created
  • Helping
  • Discipline
  • Willpower
  • Service
  • Connect
  • Inspired

What she has there is a list of what drives her. These are what gives her some emotional juice. Yours may match some of those power words, or you may have something completely different.

But what you’ll have here are the words you’re going to use in the next step…

Step #4 — Write Your Purpose Statement

Take all of the power words you have and think about how you could put them into two or three sentences. That’s your purpose statement. It’s a short piece of writing that defines you, based on what you’re most proud of in your life.

Now, you may not use all of the power words that you came up with. And if something doesn’t fit, don’t try to force it in. But if we use Melissa’s words as an example, we can come up with something like:

“My purpose in life is to create unforgettable experiences for myself and others. I will do that through connection and service. I will stay disciplined and exercise my willpower to find my internal truth.”

In three sentences, Melissa’s defined who she is and what means the most to her in life. This statement links every step of the exercise together for you to discover what really drives you.

But you’re not done yet…

Step #5 — Redraft Your Statement

It took me a couple of weeks to nail down my own purpose statement. I came up with something that I liked the sound of and then revisited it. I’d tweak something here, or switch up a power word there. And eventually, I came up with something that worked wonders for me.

You’ll go through the same process.

You don’t have to get the purpose statement right the first time. After running through this exercise, you might think of a different moment that you want to include. You may even identify more themes and power words that define who you are.

Be like a sculptor with their lump of clay.

Use the exercise to get the basic shape of your statement in place. Then, keep chipping away at it until you end up with a masterpiece.

Step #6 — Stay on Purpose

What’s the worst thing that you could do with your purpose statement?

I’d say it’s locking it away and forgetting about it. You’ve crafted this thing to help you define your purpose. If you put it away once it’s done, you’ll forget about it!

Read your purpose statement to yourself every single day.

Eventually, you’ll become so familiar with it that you have it memorized. When you come to a decision point in your life, recite the statement to yourself. Remind yourself of who you are and what you want to achieve before making the choice.

Remember, this isn’t a one and done thing.

You’re not just going to apply it to your current situation and forget about it.

Your purpose statement is the constant reminder that you use to keep yourself on track so you can achieve your outcomes.

What’s Your Purpose?

I’ve shown you how to craft your purpose statement.

But ultimately, it’s up to you to put the work in. Dedicate an evening to putting your statement together. And once you’ve got your first draft, schedule some time to revisit it every day until it’s just right.

With your purpose statement, you’ve crafted the rules that will govern your life.

As long as you follow them, you’ll achieve your outcome and create the fulfillment that’s eluded you for so long.

That’s how to get you and your business to the next level. And to find out more, just go here.