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What does it mean to live with purpose?

Last night I attended a reception to celebrate an amazing woman in our community who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro as part of the Freedom Climb, to raise awareness and money to stop human trafficking. At the reception she told her story and shared pictures from the climb. The pictures of the mountain summit were just breathtaking, but even more awe-inspiring to me was the commitment she made to support a cause she is passionate about. It was clear listening to her speak that she has a strong sense of purpose and that her participation in the Freedom Climb aligned with her purpose.

This made me wonder – what does it mean to live with purpose? Not all of us are going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, but that’s fine. Our purpose might lead us to do other things that are just as meaningful to us. But I believe there are three things we must do if we intend to live a life of purpose.

Know your values

People who live with purpose are clear about their values and beliefs. They stand by these and make decisions that support them. They aren’t easily influenced by others, because they know what’s most important to them. As a result, other people clearly know what they are about and view them as having high integrity.

Have a plan

People who live with purpose have a clear plan for their lives. This doesn’t mean they aren’t open to new possibilities, but instead they know where they want to go and take clear action to get there. They set priorities that align with what’s most important to them and make progress each day. They also live a balanced life, meaning the time and energy they invest is spent proportionally on the things that matter most to them.

Live with passion

People who live with purpose live with passion. They are excited about what they do each minute of the day. The find the best in others and surround themselves with positive people. They also live in the moment and experience the best life has to offer. Most importantly, by living their passion they make a difference in the world for the better.

When this amazing woman was telling her story, she shared that at one point it was all she could do to keep putting one foot in front of the other. But then she remembered why she took part in the climb – to raise awareness for those who needed help. She then found it easy to continue climbing and reach the summit. Not only has she make a difference by supporting the Freedom Climb, but she makes a difference each time she tells her story to others.

That’s an example of what it means to live with purpose!

Jene Kapela, Ed.D.
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