Today, more than ever, people are on a quest to live a more purposeful life and to become the best version of themselves. If you’ve read my work, you know that I believe this is centered around the desire to fulfill a unique purpose according to one’s Purpose Pillars. And, there is scientific evidence to back that living a life with purpose correlates with psychological wellness and markers of physical health and longevity. So, it’s no wonder there’s a strong trend in this direction.
I got to thinking, what are the characteristics of these individuals who seek purpose? Many are aware of the benefits of mindfulness, perhaps they meditate, they’re improvement oriented, and they proactively work at creating habits that lead to success, otherwise considered living their “best life.”
I call this “work” because it doesn’t come easy. It takes awareness and effort. It’s rare that someone who lives a great, purpose-filled life, hasn’t put in the energy and effort to get there. Believe me, they’ve run into roadblocks, they’ve had tough days, weeks, maybe even months, yet they stay the course, stay aligned with purpose, and prevail.
The Purpose Profiles
To better contextualize these individuals in hopes of creating a means for others to identify with them, I created a system of “Purpose Profiles.” This system provides a framework of common characteristics that occur across different purpose-oriented personalities or ‘profiles’— the Elite Performer, Purpose Champion, and Inspired Transformer.
Elite Performers continuously challenge themselves to do and be the best. They seek to demonstrate competency and mastery of their work which ultimately allows them to perform at the top level throughout their career. Think: athletes, CEOs, entrepreneurs, first-responders, military personnel—these are all typical Elite Performers. They are intrinsically driven to perform at 110 percent.
To supercharge their performance, Elite Performers mindfully tap into their unique purpose as a source of motivation and to help overcome the challenges that arise along their way to the top. Optimizing efficiency, productivity, and results is a primary theme to how they approach their full throttle life.
As you can imagine, a common issue that Elite Performers run into is burnout. Making it to the top is taxing, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Elon Musk, for instance, has admitted to working a “sustainable” 80- to 90-hour work week. And, it’s no wonder most top-tier professional basketball and football players, who’ve earned the fortune of staying in the game, retire between 35 and 40 years old. The body breaks down, simply said.
To combat this, Elite Performers must pay attention to cues of fatigue and proactively find ways to rest and recover—even if it that means scheduling it in a calendar. Massage, exercise, meditation, and sleep are key means to refueling the body for peak performance.
Purpose Champions mindfully align their lives and pursuits around their values. They live and lead with purpose. Purpose Champions come in many shapes and sizes. Some define themselves as Family Champions—parents who instill purpose and values into the fabric of their family. Others may be categorized as Faithful Luminaries—individuals who use spiritual faith to illuminate their purpose. New Age Citizens are those who seek to purposefully contribute to the world and commit to vocations aligned with goals. And Purposeful Leaders are leaders of organizations who intentionally work to build purpose-based cultures. While this list is not meant to be exhaustive, it should provide insights to help you decide where you fit on the Purpose Champion scale.
One thing that unites all Purpose Champions is that they are motivated to live purposefully, but realize they do not have to be perfect. They mindfully strive to be the best version of themselves. By doing so, they can help others, and ultimately make a positive impact on the world.
Inspired Transformers look to purposefully define new life paths. They operate with a mindset that the world is vast and there is more to it than what they already know. They take ownership of their life and make mindful decisions that will allow them to become their best self, and continually redefine that means, always becoming more in tune with their purpose.
Often times, there’s a catalyst that drives the Inspired Transformer to rethink how they see the world. It’s an event, experience, or individual that causes them to realize a new perspective, and this self-discovery is the impetus to pursue a more purposeful life. As they continue their journey, they may feel vulnerable and exposed until they gain confidence and more comfortable living as their most authentic self. Inspired Transformers often go from the struggles of uncertainty and doubt to living a life more satisfying than they ever imagined because of the work they put in to align their values with their purpose and all that matters most to them.
Take a moment to reflect. Where do you fit? Looking back at the diagram, you’ll see, as Venn diagrams always do, there is overlap between each of the different profiles. You might find that you’re a tried-and-true Inspired Transformer, or maybe you exhibit traits of more than one of the profiles. Take a moment to write down some notes about your life, your purpose, and what type of characteristics you portray. Don’t overthink! Let the words flow right out of you.
Having knowledge of each purpose profile can help you to better understand yourself and your peers—why you do what you do and what you might do to continue to grow and develop personally and professionally. It can help you continue to stay aligned with your purpose, redefine it, and stay on the lookout for catalysts of change. Life and you are ever-evolving, allow your purpose to evolve just the same, and keep looking forward.
Want more? Here’s my three-step method for becoming your best self.
This story originally appeared on PeteWilkins.me.