The Dalai Lama said, “The purpose of our life is to be happy.”
Now, is it possible to describe every single person’s life purpose in one sentence? I’m not so sure that it is. But if you could come up with just one sentiment to describe why we’re on this earth, I think happiness is a pretty good one.
As an entrepreneur, you may identify with the fairly boilerplate purpose of achieving financial prosperity, because abundant material wealth lets you indulge in other things that are more meaningful to you.
But have you noticed that for most of us, financial prosperity isn’t the end goal — it’s simply a means to our true purpose? In fact, even people who think all they want is money are probably looking for something else that money can buy, such as power, esteem, freedom, or a legacy.
To really understand your purpose, we need to dig a little deeper into the connection between purpose and prosperity.
What is Your True Purpose?
The good news is, I do have a solid definition of purpose: “Who you are and what you would like to accomplish on this planet, Earth, with the time that is allotted to you.”
And how does this relate to prosperity? Well, prosperity flows to those who live out their authentic life purpose.
You probably know some people who appear successful to the outside world from their perch at the top of a law firm or medical practice, but who just don’t want to do what they’re doing. Will they stay “abundant” this way? It is likely that sooner rather than later they will make a mistake – from sheer frustration and block the path they are on!
Having a lucrative career may make you money in the short term, but unless you are cognizant of what you crave to accomplish – you will start projects, abandon them midway and wake up in the morning without the energy or the zest to get anything done!
Not the greatest mind-set for an entrepreneur, or any professional for that matter of fact.
Learning From Walt Disney’s Life of Purpose
When you’re living a life with purpose, building a business is just an extension of that. Take the inimitable Walt Disney as an example.
Disney’s overriding purpose throughout his life was to entertain people and make them laugh. His first commercial venture was a studio that produced popular Laugh-o-Gram cartoons for a local Kansas City theater, but excessive debt eventually led to bankruptcy.
Fortunately, instead of giving up on his purpose, Walt and his brother Roy moved to Hollywood and tried again with the Disney Brothers’ Studio. This is where he created Mickey Mouse, Silly Symphonies, The Three Little Pigs, and of course, the very first full-length animated film ever made, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Walt Disney was a man who never lost sight of his purpose. As fabulously successful as he ultimately became, Disney overcame countless hurdles over the years, including an animators’ strike in 1941 and a series of packaged features in the 1940s that didn’t match the success of Disney’s full-length animated features.
It’s also important to note that Disney didn’t limit himself to one medium. He harnessed his love of humor and entertainment to make not just cartoons, but also television programs, live action films, and of course, a few theme parks that propelled the brand to unimaginable heights. His business ventures were really just an extension of his purpose in life.
The Lessons of Passion in Your Purpose
The thing about Walt Disney or anyone else who’s successful is that they have a passion for what they’re doing. Walt Disney spent his formative childhood years drawing, painting, and selling pictures. He even became a contributing cartoonist for his high school paper.
That passion is crucial, because passion supplies motivation which in turn keeps your course steady on the path of prosperity. And passion comes from embodying authentic purpose.
The biggest reason why businesses fail isn’t because the entrepreneur lacks know-how or resources — it’s because they don’t have enough passion to stick with the venture through the inevitable obstacles that come up along the way. If you’re not prepared to pivot and let your dream go at the first sign of difficulty, you haven’t found your purpose yet.
I believe everyone actually knows their purpose deep down. The hard part is stripping away all of the layers of social conditioning and expectations from the surface so that you can hear your inner voice tell you that little secret.