Deconstructing Purpose


The Purpose Diagram

purpose diagram
Image shared from Marsha McCartney




The word’s meaning seems…big…complicated… nebulous.

It is much easier to process  words like “mission”, “profession”, “passion”, and “vocation.” Each of these words is slightly more specific. Each of these words provoke their own, unique, curiosity.

The graph above breaks it down for us.

Vocation or Mission? – The world needs it.

Passion or Mission? – You love it. 

Passion or Profession? – You are great at it. 

Profession or Vocation? – You are paid to do it. 

Therefore, a purpose is something that the world needs, that you love doing, that you are great at, AND, that you get paid to do. 

That feels big. Too big.

By breaking down the outer circles of the diagram, we find there are actionable items. These actions include:

  1. Doing something one enjoys
  2. Practicing a skill
  3. Giving gifts
  4. Receiving gifts

What does is take to pursue your purpose? It starts with making a choice to accomplish one of the action items listed above. And fortunately, choices become easier to make the more we practice making them.

Unfortunately, pursuing your purpose doesn’t shield you from systems of inequalities, hardships, or the adverse effects of choosing.


But, many times, purpose can be discovered in the difficulties we face.

Purpose may seem like a big, complicated, and confusing idea – but that is the nature of ideas. Purpose can be broken down into actionable items. Actions are literally the things that we do. Achieving satisfying, and meaningful work starts with making a choice.

Not sure where to begin making choices? It starts and ends with knowing yourself. Click this link to learn the actionable ways in which to find what you love.