What’s your Greater Purpose? (And why it’s important to have one).


Steven Burns

Hi! I’m Steven. I’m a professional therapist, coach, trainer & author with over 20 years experience. I teach the latest psychological tools and techniques to help you transform and make a difference.

I’d like to ask you a couple of quick questions.

Before I do though, I’d like you to first think about a meaningful goal that you’d like to achieve.

Got it?

Great, here are the questions:

  • What greater, and more important, purpose does this goal fit into?
  • How does this goal go beyond you?
  • Who or what will it affect positively when you achieve it?

Interesting questions.

When you fully consider them I find it takes your mind to an interesting place.

A place that transcends the psychological lock we can sometimes get ourselves into when we’re attempting to achieve a meaningful and challenging goal.

Often people will set a meaningful, important, and challenging goal only to struggle to take the required action because of fear.

Fear of failure; fear of being found out; fear of coming up short.

So they either put in a doubt-ridden attempt that doesn’t really go anywhere, or worse, they completely shutdown and don’t make any kind of attempt at all.

Have you ever let self-doubt or fear of failure get in the way of achieving something that you want?

I know I have, and I don’t mind admitting it.

In fact, I think it’s a normal part of being human – if you don’t experience it at some point then you’re probably not challenging yourself enough.

When we push ourselves into new challenges there will inevitably, at some point, be an inner voice that pops up telling us that we’re not good enough to achieve it.

Like an unpopular person at party who doesn’t seem to want to go home.

And how we manage this can often be a crucial part of the journey.

Connecting with your Greater Purpose...

So how do we deal with this?

How do we rise above the doubts and fears that can sometimes paralyse us and prevent us from taking compelling action towards the goals that really matter to us?

Do we try to fight them?

Do we attempt to conquer self-doubt and fear, treating them both like some kind of unwanted parasite?

Well, it’s an option, but before you call in the psychological exterminators, it might be worth first taking your mind to the greater purpose behind the goal: the overarching, more important value that achieving it would fulfil; what I like to refer to as “the goal behind the goal”.

Every goal we attempt to achieve has a “why”. The pay-off that we believe we’re going to experience when we successfully achieve it.

Why do you want to achieve it? What might that give, or do for, you that’s important?

Will it give you more money? More security? More passion? A greater sense of fulfilment? More connection? Or something else?

Sometimes just knowing the “why” behind our goals can fuel our desire enough to get us over the “self-doubt hump”.

We might still feel scared but we take action anyway because we know there’s something worthwhile waiting for us at the end.

But sometimes even that’s not enough and we need some extra oomph.

In times of intense self-doubt and fear of failure, what can sometimes be required is to explore the “why behind the why” — the greater purpose behind the goal.

So if you experienced more money and security what would that allow you to experience that’s even more important?

If you have a greater sense of fulfilment where would that lead that’s even more exciting?

Greater fulfilment…in order to do what?

By connecting with the greater purpose(s) of our goals we tap into a source of energy that can transcend most fears and doubts.

It can create a determination that, at times, feels unstoppable.

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What's your Super-Objective?

In acting there’s a popular method called The Stanislavsky Method.

One of the techniques within the method is to understand both the character’s “objective” and also something called their “super objective”.

The “objective” is what the character wants to achieve in the scene that they are playing — what would they like to have happen if their actions were to be successful.

To create a convincing performance, the actor is must connect with this, and then allow it to colour and shape their behaviour.

By moving and speaking from a place of being connected with their objective, they become believable. Their inner purpose aligns with their outer actions.

But, as well as aligning with their scene objective, it’s also useful for them to connect with the character’s super objective.

This is the overarching goal, or mission, they have for the entire play.

What is their deeper, broader, and more meaningful objective?

What is their raison d’être?

Their objective within an individual scene is only ever just a small part of this greater and more meaningful mission or purpose.

Connecting with the greater purposes behind your own goals can be a bit like this.

You’ll have your individual goals and outcomes that you’d like to achieve, but they will also fit into something larger: something more meaningful.

And when you connect with this greater purpose it can help you tap into a power that can propel you into taking compelling action, irrespective of how you feel.

It can help turn the mountain of self-doubt into a pebble; the fear of failure into a mere inconvenience; the angst of the unknown into a nervous thrill.

One of the biggest driving forces we have within us is “purpose”. And “purpose” has many layers to it.

There are the immediate emotional pay-offs we feel when we work towards an important goal, but there are the even more powerful feelings we get when we connect with how the goals fit into a larger and more meaningful mission.

That’s why these questions can take our mind to such a powerful place.

And that’s why this place can help us take compelling action towards our goals, irrespective of whether we feel afraid or not.

So here are the questions again.

Take the time to fully consider them, in relation to your own ambitious goals.

Let them affect you.

  • What greater, and more important, purpose does this goal fit into?
  • How does this goal go beyond you?
  • Who or what will it affect positively when you achieve it?

Great questions, and worth exploring regularly.

Have a great week.


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