The Birth of Life On Purpose Institute

At Life On Purpose Institute we believe everyone should follow their purpose and passion in life and that doing so will never lead you astray even when you aren’t completely clear where it will lead you.  I call it “following the breadcrumbs of your passion” and it’s actually how Life On Purpose Institute began.

I first got the idea of starting a organization that was a reflection of my own purpose of living a life of service, simplicity and spiritual serenity from a pet writing project:

Project Purpose: To write and publish articles about people and institutions whose lives and missions are dedicated to a bold and inspired purpose or vision.

After interviewing and spending time with dozens of these purposeful people, I began to recognize certain common elements they shared; one of which was that almost all of them were expressing their own life purpose through some organized structure — a for profit business, a non-profit, etc.  I was in the midst of pondering what such an organization would look like for me when I received an assignment from Yoga Journal  to write a feature article on simple living in a complex world.  They wanted, as part of the article, a sidebar listing resources about living simply.

Well, I thought, Life On Purpose Institute could be in that sidebar, except there wasn’t a Life On Purpose Institute yet.  At first I dismissed the idea as being premature, but as I continued writing the article I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind.  Finally, I ran it by my coach who replied, “Why not include it and see what happens?”  So, I did.

I didn’t think much more about it until 2 to 3 months later when the article appeared as the cover story for the August, 1996 issue of Yoga Journal with a cartoon illustration by Gahan Wilson.  A few days  after the magazine hit the news tands, my phone rang.  “Hello, Brad Swift,” I answer in my customary fashion.

“Is this Life On Purpose?” An excited voice on the other end of the line asked.

I paused,  momentarily dazed and looked around my office.  I had forgotten about listing my dream in the sidebar.  Gathering my wits about me, I replied, “Yes, how may I serve you?”

That was 5 years ago this month.  Today Life On Purpose Institute is a flourishing, spiritually based enterprise.  Hundreds of people have clarified their life purpose by working individually with our Life On Purpose Certified Coaches, and thousands of others have done the same through our group programs.  We have had close to a hundred purposeful and passionate people who have gone through our Coach Development Programs as far away as Germany and Australia.  While our mission to deeply and profoundly touch and contribute to at least 1% of the world’s population (around 60-70 million people), is far from complete, we’re building momentum to have it accomplished during my life time.  (I turned 52 a couple of months ago and intend to live to at least 104, so we have some time to make this Impossible Mission possible).

This “meta purpose project” continues to transform my life and that of my wife, Ann, who is also Life On Purpose’s CFO and program registrar.  Only in my wildest dreams did I ever think I could live such a satisfying and fulfilling life as I’m living now, but then again, isn’t that where such realities begin — in our dreams.  Perhaps Goethe said it best: 

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it: boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

For all of you reading this who are a part of our cyber-adventure, thank you for all that you have contributed and continue to contribute to my life and to the realization of the LOPI vision.  Please celebrate with the 5-year-old birthday of Life On Purpose Institute.  Can any of us imagine what LOPI will be like when its 50!

You can count on that at Life On Purpose Institute, we will continue to follow our purposeful path of passionate breadcrumbs.

(To read the landmark article, Simple Living in a Complex World that launched LOPI into the world, click here.