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How To Live With Purpose (Pillars)

Breaking down living a life with purpose.

I talk a lot about the importance of purpose. But what if I told you that there’s something even more important than purpose? I know, you’re probably like WTF, Pete, what could be more important than my purpose!? Hear me out on this.

Don’t get me wrong, discovering and living with a purpose is a major catalyst for creating your best life. A strong vision of the life you want to live turns possibilities into reality. However, to help you realize your goals, you need a strong foundation that keeps it all in check. Enter, Purpose Pillars.

Purpose Pillars help to uphold your purpose by connecting it with different core facets of life that matter to you and creating mindful awareness around each. These pillars may include your values, health, spirituality, family, vocation, and so on. It’s up to you to decide. And what’s more, living according to your Purpose Pillars is essential for long-term, sustainable satisfaction—even more so than achieving a single spectacular accomplishment.

Now, you might be thinking, why?

Think of it this way: You either reach that one spectacular purposeful accomplishment or, you fail to reach it. Either way, the joy or sadness eventually fades away. And just like that, it’s in the past. Now what do you have left?

Well, Purpose Pillars create meaning beyond the ultimate goal. They’re standing in the background every day, positioning you to live with intention and ultimately allowing you to become the best version of yourself.

So what are you waiting for? Review the list of potential pillars below and pick three to five that resonate most with you. Don’t see it on the list? Add it. If you want to combine a few that fit into a broader category, go ahead. There are no rules. The goal is to find focus by homing in on what matters to you—your core pillars.

If you’re having trouble choosing three to five, bucket them. For example, look at how I bucketed these four pillars below:

  • Connection (loving family, nurturing friendships, supporting community)
  • Health (fostering mental health, emotional health, physical health)
  • Values (live spiritually, supporting community, improving politics)
  • Vocation (professional growth, personal growth, volunteering)

Next, come up with an optimal statement for each pillar. These are like mini vision statements. A vision statement for Connection might sound something like:

I focus on being a great father, husband and friend. I have healthy, loving relationships with my family, friends, and community. I’m meaningfully connected to many people who really love, care and support me.

Easy, right? The point is to keep it simple. These statements are just ongoing reminders that guide you to live a fulfilling life grounded by what matters to you—your Purpose Pillars.

Now, let’s put it into action. Once you’ve determined your Purpose Pillars and written out corresponding statements, decide how you plan to prioritize them in your day-to-day. For instance: Connection, schedule a family dinner on Sunday. Health, meditate three times this week. Values, register to vote (you still can, depending on your state!).

You might experience days when you hit a bump in the road. That’s okay. Life isn’t meant to be hunky-dory all the time. (How boring would that be?) Don’t dwell. Accept it and move on. And get back on track with your pillars ASAP.

Your Purpose Pillars give you the foundation to achieve great things. But they also allow you to realize great things every single day by routinely doing the little things that matter to you—from living aligned to certain values and nurturing connections that really matter to kicking so much ass at work that you might actually be making a difference in the world…

Buckle up. It’s going to be an awesome ride.

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