In a world where reality TV shows, social media, blogs and YouTube can make the average person a superstar, we’re all looking for a heightened sense of purpose. Everyone looks so successful and put together online. We want to embody that same charisma. If we’re honest, we’d like a life that turns heads. A purpose that impresses.
Two types of purpose
Purpose (capital P) is dramatic and sensational. This is what we often dream of doing – curing cancer, feeding the hungry, funding major philanthropic efforts. These are world-changing Purposes. These are Purposes most of us will not experience.
purpose (intentional small p) is individual and personal. It’s being a diligent worker, a loving parent, a helpful neighbor. Although only a few people will see these deeds, they too are world-changing, just on a much smaller scale. Your purpose in the small things makes a difference to those you are impacting.
Recognize your purpose and its value
The key is to recognize your purpose (with a small p) as worthy and valuable. You may not become a household name or have your face on a magazine, but the world would fall apart without a lot of people living out their small-p purpose.
I firmly believe that if you are faithful in your small-p purpose, God will use it to achieve big-P results. You may not be aware of your impact on this earth, but your steadfast commitment to doing your best in the little things could very well cause a ripple effect that impacts the world in a big way.
Enjoy your purpose. Find fulfillment in the fact that you fill a void, no matter how big or small, because you are here, doing what you were called to do. Don’t leave that void to find something bigger that you weren’t designed to fill. Press on in your purpose knowing bigger Purposes can happen because of you.
Your influence is far-reaching
You are an “influencer” whether you are well known or barely known. As you are a faithful coach, teacher, parent, supervisor, or friend you are impacting many lives. Someday, one of those lives may go on to achieve what the world would view as greatness. No matter what size role you played in their life, you have helped shape them into what made them great. That makes you a world changer.
Are you familiar with Dr. Seuss’s book Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo? It tells the story, as only Dr. Seuss can, of the impact of a little bug’s sneeze. What starts as a seemingly insignificant action, dominoes into quite a scene that involves the whole town.
Surely, your impact is greater than a sneeze. Don’t mistake your role as too insignificant or valueless. Stay true to your purpose and see what can happen.
2 ways to encourage others to live out their small-p purpose
- Say thank you
- Name the Why
We may never get a standing ovation, but a heartfelt thanks goes a long ways. Be generous in your verbal appreciation. Let others know that their contribution makes a difference. Your coworkers, your supervisors, your family and your friends all need to be reminded of the value of their small-p purpose.
Also, help them see the WHY of their actions. Building widgets isn’t very fulfilling if that’s all you see. But if you look at the why – these widgets solve a specific problem, then the purpose becomes much more satisfying.
Consider a mom who spends many hours a week driving kids around to various activities. Sitting in a minivan for hours at a time may seem invaluable and insignificant. However, when you name the WHY suddenly there is great purpose. She is providing transportation so that her kids have greater opportunities available to them. These very kids may make a tremendous impact on the world, due to their mom living out her purpose.
I like Daniel Pink’s analysis of our purpose. We don’t have to do something glamorous. Let’s face it, if everyone was doing what famous people do, we’d be in a heap of trouble.
What is your little-p purpose? Own it and live it out as only you can.