Part II: What you stand for is the integrity of a meaningful and actionable purpose.
Ifa house is built poorly, it will break down quickly and require constant maintenance. Who wants to live in a place like that? Likewise, if you don’t know your core values in life, or what you believe in and why, it will be a challenge to live with integrity. It will be a struggle to act on what’s most important to you if you don’t know what you stand for in your life.
In part I of this series, Is What You Stand For In Life Making a Meaningful Difference in the World? I said that knowing your core values keeps you in alignment with your integrity? You can see how these elements work together, but what’s missing thus far is direction — your personalized map to chart a purposeful direction in life.
Without a meaningful, actionable purpose, you might be a fine and upstanding person, but you’re left standing at the intersection of life unsure of where to go next.
Every step you take in life is successive. Each step follows the next, representing an action that brings energy to your purpose, and how you act on your purpose to make a difference in the world.
The Foundation of Integrity: Having a Meaningful, Actionable Purpose
A clearly defined, guiding purpose is the foundation of your life that grounds and supports your beliefs, character traits, and core values.
Integrity is a cyclical process, meaning, all the parts work together as a unifying whole. If you don’t have meaningful clarity about what you believe in and what you value, it’s like having an incomplete map. Your efficiency in moving ahead in life and accomplishing your goals and intentions will be challenged at best.
Do you have a clearly defined and written purpose?
The foundation of a well-built home is something you might not think about, nor something you can easily see, but you know it’s there. A purpose doesn’t really exist until it is written down, otherwise it’s just an idea in your mind that’s easily subject to change like the weather. If you want to weather the challenges of life, you need a grounding purpose.
How then do you craft a meaningful and intentional purpose statement, one that will inspire you to act even when facing the most significant challenges that you are sure to face in life? For example, this is my purpose statement:
I help deep thinkers and creatives cultivate their purpose and uniqueness to enjoy more peace of mind, acceptance, and freedom.
My purpose speaks to my core values. When I act in accord with my purpose, it leads to me showing up as my best self via the character traits I most aspire to. This a meaningful and intentional correlation for me because, if you read my purpose again, you should have a sense of what I stand for, in the sense of my beliefs. Separately, I have done the self-examination to understand what I believe (and why) about freedom, purpose, creativity, and acceptance.
Your purpose may lead to having an impact, which is different from influence.
Impact is the outcome of your purpose-based actions, self-mastery, and the leadership that others see in you and choose to mirror by following your example.
If you’re reading this, you are most likely someone who is consciously working to improve yourself, as well as sharing your message or creative output with others. If you desire to make a difference in some way, you are seeking to have an impact, which is different from seeking influence.
Wanting influence is self-serving, in the sense of trying to get others to do something for you, like buying your product, or paying attention to you. Impact, on the other hand, is the humble and indirect result or what you are doing or have done, which inspires others to follow your lead of their own accord.
Knowing where you stand in life is a conscious choice and an action.
The expression, where you stand, is paradoxical: it seems like a static position. Yet, how can you move forward with conscious intention and integrity unless you know where you stand and what you stand for?
Being grounded with a clear understanding of who you are and what you stand for is like gravity. We know gravity exists because of how the earth rotates and revolves around the sun. We can’t see gravity, but you can witness its effect on physical objects around you. Just like gravity keeps you grounded to this earth, your integrity keep you grounded with a set of personal leadership principles to guide you with every step you take in life.
Pursuing a meaningful goal, or wanting to make a difference in the world, requires a clarity of definition, refinement, and emotional alignment. The more clear you are about what’s most important to you, the easier it will be to navigate the challenges you will face in life while acting from the integrity of your principles.
When we aspire to make a difference in the world, we act in ways that support others, and we concurrently demonstrate self-leadership, self-awareness, humility, and the endurance that comes from having a compelling purpose to live our most authentic and meaningful life.