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The Payoff Principle: On Purpose

The book, The Payoff Principle by Dr. Alan Zimmerman, begins with the power of purpose (Purpose + Passion + Process = Payoff).  Having a clear purpose, a ‘why’, is the starting point in figuring out how to design your life, bring out your best, and achieve the goals that excite you.  German philosopher, Frederick Nietzche, had this in mind when he said, “He who has a why can endure any how.”  

Only when you know your ‘why’ will you find the courage to take the risks needed to move forward, stay motivated, persevere when obstacles arise, and move your life to a new, more challenging, more rewarding trajectory.  A clear sense of purpose enables you to focus your efforts on what matters most, moving from ordinary to extraordinary. Research has shown that having the power of purpose results in better health, motivation and satisfaction.  The question that always arises is this: How do I discover, define and clarify my purpose?

A great place to start is to establish the mindset of ‘A life of purpose is a life lived on purpose.’   Living on purpose requires intentionality, direction and discipline. In The Payoff Principle, Dr. Zimmerman challenges people to ask themselves, “What do I really, REALLY want from my life,” as the basis of discovering their purpose.  He goes on to build a three-legged stool of discovering your purpose with these three primary questions:

1. What are you good at?  Natural ability, dominant gifts, positive responses to your work, satisfaction and ease are components to consider.  If it doesn’t feel like work, if it motivates you, and if it stirs perseverance and satisfaction, you are on the right path!

2. What excites you?  What do you dream about doing every day? What stirs passion inside of you?  What do you love to spend time doing? What motivates you and drives your optimal productivity?  What makes you emotionally satisfied?  Your answers build a leg in the stool that will impact every area of your life and those around you.

3. What difference do you want to make?  How do you want to influence the world around you?  Making a difference requires focus in at least one aspect your life of work, family, community to move from success to significance.  The great thing is you choose and can start living your purpose today.

Combining the answers to all three primary questions is necessary to discovering, defining and clarifying your purpose.  Once you have found your purpose, living on purpose is critical to achieve the payoffs you want and deserve.  Living on purpose means living intentionally, with direction.  It means listening to wise counsel and not only those that tell you what you want to hear.  It means pausing and reflecting on your actions and decisions and how those actions and decisions affect your sphere of influence.  It means engaging in purposeful activities every day to demonstrate your commitment — first to yourself and then to those you interact with.  

If you’ve now decided to live an extraordinary life, a purpose-filled life, then it’s time to take the next step described in The Payoff Principle.  That is where the power of passion, the fuel in your engine of purpose, comes in to living on purpose, with intention and direction in all you do.  

What will you do today to make this happen?

For more inspirational articles from Dan Sheedy, check out Performance Thinking with Dan Sheedy here.