Back to Blog
How do you wake up? Purpose
Katie and I have discovered that purpose can be the difference between either being driven, happy and full of energy or dreading the week, wishing away the hours and praying for the weekend.
If you are praying for the weekend, if you are dreading Monday then something in your life or the way you think about your life is broken. Use how you feel in the mornings as a barometer for your success in life.
What is purpose? Why should you even care? I am a simple man so I always like to start with the dictionary definition.
pur·pose - noun - /ˈpərpəs/
Purpose is the reason why you are doing or creating something.
I remember working for a landscape firm whilst I was younger and I started to ask "why are we doing this, this way?". I was confused and wanted to know the reason why and the answer came back "that is the way we do it."
Have you ever been told "that is just the way things are?" This has never sat well with me. I don't like doing things for the sake of doing things. If there is a better more efficient way I want to change it.
With no solid reason why I was super resistant to doing the tasks they wanted me to do. I hated it. You can probably see now why I wasn't a good employee! I'm don't think I would do well in the military either, blindly following orders!
I needed a strong why to help me find the energy and motivation to do the work. I needed purpose. Without it I ended up de-motivated, lost and dreading going to work. I have had many jobs that I have ended up feeling lost and struggling to get going in.
Your purpose is your why for doing things. It is your reason, your drive, your motivation.
With a big enough why any how is possible
One of my favourite expressions is "with a big enough why, any how is possible"
When my Dad lost the house to the bank because of his debts, I had a HUGE why to fight the bank. I felt like my Mum was getting screwed by the bank, by my Dad and by people at large and I was angry. I wanted to fight for her and for the family home.
My why was to protect the family home, to protect my mum and my little brother. My why was, what they were doing to us was wrong and bad. I had a HUGE why and I needed it as my fight was against one of the biggest banks in the UK and through the legal system.
My why and drive was bigger than my fear of making phone calls (at that time I was quite shy and nervous). My why was bigger than the boredom of reading legal documents. My why was so big I would have gone through any how to get to my goal. I would have run through walls, fought villains or called a stranger to save the family home.
I didn't have a why at the landscape firm in the same way. "I should do this stuff because that is the way we have always done it?". That why wasn't going to get me going.
Purpose or why can drive you to do incredible things.
If you can find a big enough why then you will find a way to make the how happen:
If you don't have a HUGE why you won't find the energy to get out of bed and make things happen.
You can have any life you want if you are willing to pay the price up front and in full. You aren't going to pay the price if you haven't got a damn good reason! The price might be energy, time, rejection or other things but the one thing I know that is any price is too steep without a strong reason why.
Purpose is not out there
Purpose is an inside job. People don't seem to understand this and they look outside to be given purpose. I want my boss, my job, my family, to give me purpose. They look for purpose in outside things, objects, stuff, accumulation of things and more and I am here to tell you it is NOT out there.
Purpose comes from within you and it is whatever you want it to be. You can just decide on your purpose or reason.
Look within yourself. What do you want to change? What do you want to create? Who do you want to help? What do you want to contribute? What could you get jazzed about? Why are you doing your job? Why are you building your life the way you are?
You create purpose
I can hand you a purpose right now if you want me to. I can say to you "here is a purpose, come and join Katie and I and work to help people build extraordinary lives through financial, business and life design education".
I can give you purpose. But would that make any difference in your life? You might get excited by my words for a while, you would find short term motivation but that would fade and as the reality of creating content, promotion and running courses comes crashing in you would feel like it is just another job that you have signed up to.
For me to go through the tough stuff of building this blog, creating the courses, organising the tech, learning YouTube Live and more I need a HUGE why!
People can motivate you, inspire you and help you to get going but that will only last so long. True purpose comes from inside you. It is what you decide. True purpose is an inside job.
If you want to come and help Katie and me change the world that is cool but it MUST be for your own reasons. You have to find those reasons inside yourself not borrow mine or Katie's. And ours are both different. We have different reasons (purpose) but we are on the same mission.
If you can work out a why for yourself you will find motivation, energy and passion. I specifically say "a" why or purpose because...
There is no right answer
People seem to get really hooked up on this one. They are searching for their purpose as if there is one and they have to find it. I imagine them out there in the woods with a magnifying glass trying to find it repeating "if I can just find my purpose then I can be happy"
There is no right answer. The universe has not ordained each of us with a purpose and we have to devote our lives to discovering it. That isn't the way things are. The purpose, my purpose or the one purpose, do not exist. Your purpose can be whatever you decide it to be.
The universe has actually been incredibly kind and has given us an infinite buffet of choices to pick from. There are unlimited purposes and reasons. As many as there are human beings alive today. So don't think too deeply about it! Start tucking into the purpose buffet and see which ones light you up the most.
I don't know about you but this is my strategy for real buffets. You go down the line and take a small amount of each dish and go to your table and try it. You find the one that you love the most and go back for seconds or thirds!
There is no right answer to the question of purpose. There is no singular purpose for you. Try some and see if you get get lit up by them.
There is no right answer for what to eat at a buffet. There is what you enjoy eating. And it might change over the years too and that is OK! You don't have to decide on one purpose for the rest of your life, that would be like deciding I will only eat pizza forever.
The fire comes from you not the purpose
One last thing to note before we move onto the "how to" steps. You need to find the juice in things. The fire or passion for things comes from inside you.
Most people go out there and see how they react to those things and this is important. You need to find something that you enjoy but an enthusiastic person finds it easy to get enthusiastic about life and things. A bored person finds it hard to get excited about things.
You control your state so generate excitement within you for life, purposes and adventures. Find the excitement within you. Look for what excites you, what you can get enthusiastic about. People look for the things that will light them up rather than getting fired up about the things that they want to.
There are the people in life who tell you what they don't like first and then there are people who tell you what they love about something first. For the sake of finding joy and passion become someone who looks for what is cool, what is exciting, what is fun first.
You don't ignore the bad things but focus on the good, find the energy, find the passion, find the enthusiasm first. As kids we had the ability to get excited about anything. We would find a rock on the playground and get fascinated by it and excited. Create enthusiasm within you by looking for what is cool and exciting.
You need to generate enthusiasm inside you. Find the joy and generate the enthusiasm to go for it. An enthusiastic person will find it easy to get excited about different purposes.
Finding purpose in what already exists
You don't have to change anything in your life. You can just decide on a purpose for something you are already doing.
Sometimes the worst thing you can do is change everything up. Sometimes you just need to reconnect with why you are doing what you are already doing!
You can rediscover purpose at work, you can decide your purpose is to help your family get to Financial Independence and go on that mission, you can build a side hustle and decide your mission is to do that. You can decide on any purpose around you already.
You don't have to decide to go and volunteer in Thailand to help protect elephants. You can decide right now that your purpose is to add value to the people around you that you love. You can decide that you purpose for now is to help your kids become all they can be. You can decide that your purpose is to get your family finances in order and do Rebel Finance School!
You don't need to tear up your whole world and head to California to have your crystals read and smoke something on the beach whilst you divine a new purpose. Purpose abounds wherever you are in the world.
You can just go to the infinite purpose buffet and try out a new one now. Come up with a reason why you are doing what you are doing, get excited and make it happen.
Does this make sense? Have I gone too meta for you? Too many metaphors?
What I am trying to say in my own strange way is that you don't actually need anything new in your life to find purpose. You can just decide on a new purpose for the things that are already there.
It is all made up!
It is all made up anyway. Everything is made up. The chair you are sat on, the phone you are reading this on, the internet, the city you live in, the rules, governments and all of it is made up. Humans just made this shit up.
I find this thought hugely freeing as "if it is all made up, then I can just make shit up too!"
We just made up Rebel Business School, we made up Rebel Finance School. I just made up this blog and started writing. I built it on a platform that already exists (Weebly) but I just made it up.
Last year on Rebel Finance School we had 5,000 people watch and learn with us. We helped 5,000 people improve their finances, make progress and save and invest. We made up Rebel Finance School and created a HUGE why for ourselves that motivated us and so many people around us.
If it is all made up anyway why aren't you free to make shit up and take action. You can just make up a purpose and go for it.
You have the Donegan blessing to just make it up
I just made up the Donegan blessing. You have it but I made that up!
Not everyone can find their purpose.....
I can hear some people saying "it's ok for you Alan but not everyone can find a mission driven purpose like you".
I call bullshit on that story. Anyone can find purpose or a why at any point at all. You can find purpose right this minute if you want to.
What could you get excited about doing right now? Has my article sparked any ideas? Could you find within you a reason to work on your finances? (that is a purpose by the way)
Could you find within you a reason to help, support and love your partner? Could you find a reason to fall in love with your job again and re-apply yourself? Could you start to look for what could be exciting in your life?
You can have a purpose in a split second if you want to. I could jump up out of my chair in the café here in Bangkok and decide that today my purpose is to give Katie (my wife) the best day ever. I am going to find things to do, make her feel special and loved. I could decide that is my purpose for the day.
You don't have to make this too grand to start with. Start with what is my purpose today? Then we can build from there. Having a purpose for the day will change things for you. Make up a purpose for tomorrow and see how you wake up in the morning to make it happen!
Stop searching for purpose and make it up. Start with a purpose for the rest of the day right now. What is your purpose? What is your reason why? What would light you up for today?
Let's make something happen. Let's find passion and excitement and purpose within ourselves and do some epically cool shit.
I feel pumped writing this article. I don't know about you but I am ready to make things happen. I have dramatic cinematic music in my headphones, I am talking to you about purpose and living mine. I am pumped.
Let's find purpose and drive within you then get out there and have some adventures and fun. Life is for living and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE it if you went out and lived it.
Your purpose is your purpose. Don't compare it to mine, don't compare it to Katie's. It is yours. It doesn't matter how grand it is, or how spectacular. What matters is that it lights you up and gives you joy.
If you help your self get to financial independence that is an incredible purpose. If you light up the life of your kids or your husband then that is an incredible purpose. Don't compare purposes and just do what you want to.
You have my permission to choose the purpose that lights you up and gives you juice.
Depending on what time you are reading this I want you to decide on a purpose for today or tomorrow. If you are reading this in the morning, what is your purpose today? If you are reading this at night, what is your purpose for tomorrow?
That is your homework. To make up a purpose and go and do it. I don't care what it is. Just make something up. There is no right answer. I will not be marking your homework (Katie might). Just pick something and make it happen.
Your purpose is whatever you want it to be. If there is one thing I know it is that you will be a happier more driven person if you make up a purpose.
PS: if you want to hear about our upcoming courses, articles and YouTube series then just stick your email in below. Go on; be a Rebel