Passion is important, but it isn’t enough; you need purpose to succeed.
You’ve most likely heard the saying, “Follow your passion.” I’ve discovered passion is not enough to achieve what really matters in life. To achieve happiness, contentment and fulfillment, you need to have a deeper purpose.
What’s the difference between the two? Passion is the compelling emotions behind your dreams. It’s what you find stimulating and fun to do. It’s your feelings that drive your passion. Purpose, on the other hand, is the why behind it all – your deeper, inner reason.
Mark Twain once said, “the two greatest days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out what your purpose is.” If you don’t know what your purpose is, then you don’t know why you are here, and sometimes it can be hard to keep going.
When I sit down with a new athlete or a client, one of the first questions I like to ask them is, “What is your purpose?” At first they’ll look at me a little startled, and then proceed to answer the question with something related to their line of work or chosen sport. But that’s not what I’m looking for.
I posed this exact question to an Olympic athlete I consulted with before the 2012 London Olympics. She’d been finding it difficult to motivate herself. A few years prior, she’d dealt with depression. Answering my question, she told me her purpose was to win a medal. “Fair enough”, I said, “but that’s a goal.” I wanted to know her life’s purpose. She went away and thought about it, and then came back the next week with this answer: “My deeper purpose is to be able to inspire people who are going through what I did, so that they too can overcome whatever challenges they have going on in their lives.” A few weeks later, we met again, and I noticed something totally different in her. She had more motivation and assuredness about her. She told me that in finding her deeper purpose, her ability to train longer and harder had increased. She now had a deeper purpose and not just a passing goal. She even said that after her career was done on the track, she wanted to get involved in setting up a foundation to help others who suffered from the same condition.
During Mark Zuckerberg’s commencement address at Harvard in May 2017, the Facebook founder commented, “Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed, that we have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates true happiness.”
The champion minded understand that it’s their purpose in life that matters most.
Purpose is an incredible alarm clock. What’s yours?
Original text by Allistair Mccaw