Ever been curious about what to do with your life?

50 questions for Passion & Purpose!

An exercise and guide created that Professional Life Coaches use to help people find what really lights them up. Now more than ever, life affords us tremendous opportunity to discover and grow ourselves into excellence!

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December 14, 2020

Expert Research On The Difference Between Goals And Purpose

difference between goals and purpose

What in the world is the difference between goals and purpose anyway?

The difference between goals and purpose is that your purpose is the reason why you do what you do, and your goals are the plans you make in order to fulfill or “see your purpose through” (how you do it).

In other words, you define your purpose in life, then you set goals to achieve that purpose. Your purpose will generally remain the same, whereas your goals will change every time you achieve a new one.

Have you ever been just about to write an action plan, or try to find more clarity about your life, and then come a bunch of terms like: purpose, passion, clarity, goals, aim, need, reason, mission and vision?

What do they mean?

Are they all necessary?

How do you even fricken’ use them all and when?

I actually wondered this myself, and so I did a bunch of research to find out the answer. Here’s what I found.

Oh, and for the record, there will be some resources at the end of this post you can use to achieve your goals, find your purpose, and create the kind of personal and career results you desire in record time. I promise they’ll be a serious ally on your path.

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What’s the main difference between goals and purpose?

Whenever you decide to make a change in your personal life, career or business, you end up defining the direction you will go in.

This direction is your purpose. A purpose is a compilation of your values, your desired impact, the changes you want to make to your life and the lives of others etc…

When you dig deep and know what you’re really after in life, you’ll have found your purpose.

The difference between your purpose and a goal, is that your goal will be an action plan you come up with in order to achieve the purpose you’ve decided on.

If we use the metaphor of a direction, a road, and the individual bricks that make the road: your objectives are the cobblestone, your goals are the road you travel, and your purpose is you pointing the finger and saying “that way”.

“That way” is a direction, but you could have two roads parallel to each other (different goals), made out of different cobblestone (objectives), both traveling toward the same purpose.

Purpose: to help the downtrodden get back on their feet.

  • Goal #1: increase the number of food banks in my city
  • Goal #2: educate 1 thousand homeless or near homeless veterans on ways to get their finances under control
  • Goal #3: Starting a relief fund charity for people about to get their homes forclosed 

What do goals and purpose look like individually?

Purpose: to make sure everyone has the knowledge they need to get the results they want (mine)

  • Goal: create an online resource that combines all the knowledge and expertise people require to create massive personal success

Purpose: to help others radically transform their circumstances, make huge life transitions and achieve financial freedom via their purpose and their passions. (also mine)

  • Goal:  buy, test, and offer the highest quality informational products in the self development arena to those searching to create effective personal change.

Purpose: showing others how to easily achieve a happier life through optimum health

  • Goal: create a simple health and exercise blog that demonstrates high value low effort diet and exercise

When do I use goals and purpose in my action plan?

Purpose comes first, then comes intention, and after intention you will create your goals. Goals are the many different roads you will travel to achieve and fulfill the same purpose that will travel with you throughout your life.

I once heard the term overarching used to describe purpose. Overarching means comprehensive, it sits above all and all related to it.

The word route relates to goals in the same way. A route is a particular path you take to get where you’re going (purpose). You can take whichever route you choose, and there is more than one route available to you.

If you want a proven and tested way to achieve your goals without all the confusion you might be feeling right now, check out this Goal Setting Roadmap, which sets you up for success by aligning all of these definitions in perfect sync for you. It’s a nice “follow along” way to achieve your aims…

Are goals and purpose both needed for success?

In short, yes. 

Purpose without goals is just a dream that stays in your mind forever. And goals without purpose are useless actions that may or may not give you the results you’re really after in life.

When you set goals with no purpose, you run the risk of getting good at the wrong things, going after achievements that are lifeless and lackluster to you, and do nothing to quench your thirst for achievement and…well, purpose in life.

Goals without purpose is like playing roulette, you have a very low chance of landing on something good.

Purpose without goals is like not playing any game at all, and you have zero chance of landing anywhere because you’re not doing anything.

How To Use Purpose and Goals to succeed in life

The path is simple, but very few put in the effort because the path can be confusing.

Dig deep to find your purpose in life. You do have one, even if you decide to construct one personally and not find something that’s “predestined” like others may think.

Once you’ve found your purpose, you’re ready to set goals and start living the life you’re meant for.

Once you get to the point where you know finding purpose is important, there’s really no going back for you. This is the direction you’re going in now, and you’re only choice is how fast.

I highly recommend you get my book 50 Questions for Finding Passion and Purpose. I’ve already done all of this before, and I can give you some insider clues on how to move forward with clarity and ease.

Either way, good luck.

Resources I know will help you!

Slay your Goals Planner

50 Questions for Passion and Purpose

Goal Setting 101

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Expert Research On The Difference Between Goals And Purpose

50 questions for Passion & Purpose!

An exercise and guide created that Professional Life Coaches use to help people find what really lights them up. Now more than ever, life affords us tremendous opportunity to discover and grow ourselves into excellence!

Brian Wright

I read a lot of books. I learn from a lot of experts. I don't like being called a guru because it sounds pretentious, but I do know a few things about a few things. Went to one of the best private high schools in the country, went to an OK university, dropped out, then moved into a monastery. My point is that I'm pretty expert in the art of being a good student. That's the whole point of life.

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