I consider a Purpose Practice to be one of the Big Three Tools for living on purpose. It’s the daily polishing your life to stay awake and aware of who you really are.
A Purpose Practice is an activity in which you engage on a regular basis to keep yourself present and aware of your life purpose. You can think of a Purpose Practice much like a spiritual practice. Many people have regular spiritual practices that help them to stay aware of their relationship with God or a higher power.
Some examples of a spiritual practice include:
• Reading spiritual material each day
• Saying a blessing before meals
• Attending a spiritual service once or more each week
• Saying a prayer as you drift off to sleep
• Meditating regularly
Let’s look at one of these in a bit more depth. Many people say a blessing before each meal, with the intention of being more aware of the bountiful resources they receive from God. But what often happens to these daily blessings? For many people this spiritual practice often devolves into habit. What’s the difference between a practice and a habit? They are both something you do on a regular basis over time. However, a habit is usually done automatically without increasing your awareness of anything, while a practice increases your awareness.
Of course, there are good habits and there are bad habits. I have the habit of brushing my teeth each morning, and while I consider that a good habit, it doesn’t really raise my consciousness about anything. In fact, it is not unusual for me to not remember whether I’ve brushed my teeth—it’s done that automatically.
A classic example of a blessing that is often recited automatically would be:
Good food, good meat, good God, let’s eat.
When we say a blessing automatically in this way, it does little or nothing to increase our awareness of God or the abundance all around us. The same can happen with a Purpose Practice. In the beginning, it may be very inspiring to you, and that’s what you want. Yet over days, weeks, and months it is important to stay vigilant so that the practice doesn’t devolve into a habit. Here is another Purposeful Paradox: while it is a good idea to develop the habit of a daily Purpose Practice, you do not want the practice itself to become something you do automatically, without being mindful and aware.
As we will learn in the exercise at the end of this chapter, Creating Powerful Purpose Practices and Ponderings, it is important that your Purpose Practice be something that fits naturally into your daily routine. If it is too difficult to do, most people simply won’t maintain it on a regular basis. Remember, you want to develop a habit of doing your Purpose Practice each day without letting the actual practicing of it devolve into a mindless exercise. Here are some examples of powerful Purpose Practices others have created:
One of my clients, a very successful real estate investor, loves long-distance running. Since he runs five to six times per week, he decided to incorporate his Purpose Practice into his running regimen. Each time he runs he waits until he gets into the “running zone,” then he begins to recite his Life Purpose Statement to himself, often out loud. He says it not only keeps his life purpose alive and well, but also enhances his running experience.
Another client loves to sing in the shower. Since showering is a part of her daily routine, she created a song out of her Life Purpose Statement—so she can sing about her life purpose as she showers.
A third client has a small dog who needs to be walked at least three times each day. She uses her time exercising her dog to also recite and to ponder her life purpose not just once a day, but three times.
This post was excerpted from Life On Purpose: Six Passages to an Inspired Life, an award winning finalist in the Self-Help: Motivational division of the Best Books 2007 Awards sponsored by USA News