in life

Purpose. Passion. Plan.

“Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to burn his ships and cut all sources of retreat. Only by so doing can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a BURNING DESIRE TO WIN, essential to success.”

If you haven’t Napoleon Hill’s, Think and Grow Rich”, go read it. Now. It’s an essential read for any entrepreneur or anyone looking to do big things in their life. In his book, Hill highlights three clear ingredients necessary for success:

  1. A defined purpose.
  2. A burning desire.
  3. A definite plan.

Most of us can define what our passions are. What we love doing. What inspires us and excites us. And most of us can make plans.

But we get hung up at step one. Defining our purpose. What do you want to do? How do you want to contribute? What story do you want to tell? What legacy do you want to leave behind?

Answering these questions requires you to really know yourself. It demands deliberate decision-making. It takes guts and unwavering courage. Defining your purpose is nowhere near as easy as it sounds.

It’s easy to know what you don’t want. It’s much, much more difficult to decide what really matters.

But if you’re walking through life only knowing that you don’t want what you have, you’ll end up never arriving at the destination of getting what you want.

Hill lists the following obstacles as the primary causes of failure:

  • Lack of a well-defined purpose in life.
  • Procrastination.
  • Lack of persistence (not finishing what you start)
  • Lack of power to make and stick to a decision.
  • Overwhelming fear
  • Wrong selection in a spouse/relationship
  • Being over-cautious
  • Wrong selection of vocation/career
  • Indiscriminate spending due to fear of poverty.
  • Guessing instead of thinking (acting on opinion rather than fact)

All of these, every one, points back to purpose. Once you’re confident in what you want to accomplish; What you will accomplish, nothing, absolutely nothing will stand in your way.

When I chat with folks about how I arrived to where I am today as a business-owner, I share with them how I defined my purpose. My purpose isn’t to code websites or consult with businesses about their brands. It isn’t to send invoices or answer emails.

My purpose is to create. My purpose is to inspire and motivate anyone and everyone who will listen to achieve what they want, personally or professionally. I believe I can make a difference. I believe that the only way to be truly fulfilled is to contribute to something bigger than yourself.

Once I established my purpose, I worked backwards to turn that purpose into profit.

So today, if you’re wondering what your purpose is, I ask you to take a step back and think about the big picture. Don’t think on a micro “what-my-day-to-day-tasks-should-be” level – think more holistically about the life and legacy you want to build. Don’t hold back. Think big. Dream bigger. As Hill says:

“If you do not see great riches in your imagination, you will never see them in your bank balance.”

Purpose. Passion. Plan. The three keys to success. Start with step one. The only thing holding you back is yourself. And there’s no better time than now.

What’s your purpose?

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  1. Love love Napoleon Hill and you should check out my friend Natalie MacNeil’s 21 Day Challenge using Napoleon Hill’s book. Actually it’s a video each day from Napoleon himself and it’s been really powerful for me in this New Year.

      • Hi Matt, thanks for posting . I ve been reading and listening to the great Napolean Hill recently and am totally sold on everything he is prescribing, however, as you pointed out , defining your purpose is not easy. In my case, my background is art but for the last 10 years Ive been a real estate appraiser. Now I have taken a further step and have recently become a realtor as well. I want to make money, but I dont see how I can do that with what my real passion is – creating beauty through art. Art is after all a luxury item and is dependent on personal taste. If I truly follow my passion and persue my art as a full time career, my family will suffer financialy – at least for awhile.
        I am trying to get passionate about being a realtor and helping people with their housing needs but I dont consider this my purpose or legacy. What would you suggest?

  2. I too love Napoleon Hill’s book! It is one of those that you need to read every now and again to really understand the pearls of wisdom inside of it.

    Purpose… What is my purpose??? That is a good/tough one that needs a bit of thought put into it. I imagine that many of us don’t have a purpose, which leads to all sorts of complacency and no forward motion.

    The obstacles outlined above that are the primary cause of failure are a scary list, aren’t they? Enough to make one stick their head in the sand and just carry on. It is difficult to 1) come up with a purpose for one’s life, and 2) plow through the obstacles that get in your way of achieving that purpose.

    Great post (as usual)!

    • Thanks, Marshall. I think more than plowing through the obstacles, the defining of a purpose is really the daunting, even terrifying part of the equation. If you have a clear vision of what it is you want to do, it’s much, much easier to actually go and do it. As they say, nothing in life worth doing is easy. :)