What a Little Boy’s Clarity of Purpose Teaches Us About Success

New Orleans was jumping on Sunday.  The Saints beat the Vikings to get into the Super Bowl.  I read that during the game 80% of the televisions in New Orleans that were turned on during the game were tuned to the game.  That’s an amazing number.  This is the first time the Saints are in the Super Bowl in their history.  They began playing in the NFL in 1967.  That’s a long time to wait for a chance at the championship.  Ironically, many Super Bowls have been played in New Orleans, the Saints just haven’t played in them.  I was at the Denver Broncos first appearance in the Super Bowl in January 1978.  It was played at, you guessed it, the New Orleans Superdome.

The party began in the Superdome as soon as the game was over and continued long into the night in New Orleans.  There was one story about all the partying that really caught my attention.  Sean Payton, the Saint’s Coach mentioned that his young son was worried that they wouldn’t be able to have their post game catch because the stadium floor was covered in confetti. 

I thought this was touching, but I also thought it reinforced one of the points I make about creating the successful life and career you deserve – clarify your purpose and direction in this life.  Sean Payton’s son is a little guy.  Right now, his purpose in life is to enjoy playing with his dad.  By the way, they did have that game of catch, confetti and all.  Young Mr. Payton was staying true to his purpose.  He wanted to be able to continue his ritual with his dad.  A successful day at the stadium meant playing catch with his father after the game was over.  It didn’t matter that this was the biggest game his dad had coached to date.

Clarity of purpose and direction is one of the four keys to career and life success that make up my Common Sense Success System.  I discuss it in detail in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Star Power, I want YOU…To Succeed, Your Success GPS and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success.  To develop your personal clarity of purpose you need to do three things.  First, define what success means to you.  Second, create a vivid mental image of you as a success.  This image should be as vivid as you can you make it.  Third, clarify your personal values.

When I speak about clarity of purpose and direction people often ask me how this ties into things like a personal mission or vision.  Here is what I tell them….

Think of your purpose as your mission in life as your reason for existing – why you are on this earth.  My mission is helping other people create the successful life and career they want and deserve.

Think of your direction as your vision for where you are going in the next five or so years.  My current vision is to use the internet and emerging technologies to being my common sense message about career and life success to as many people as possible.

Get it? 

Purpose = Mission

Direction = Vision

Your personal vision needs to be aligned with your mission.  Your goals should flow from your vision.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people clarify their purpose and direction in life.  Your purpose is your mission – why you exist.  Your direction is your vision – where you are going in the short term.  New Orleans Saints head coach, Shawn Payton’s son has a simple purpose in life – to spend as much fun time with his father as he can.  That’s why he worried that he wouldn’t be able to have his post game catch with him last Sunday – because the field was covered in confetti.  What is your mission in life?  What is your vision for the next five years?  If your answer is, “I don’t know,” please take some time to answer these questions.  These answers provide you with your clarity of purpose and direction – a foundation on which you can build to create the successful life and career you want and deserve.

That’s my take on clarity of purpose and direction.  What’s yours?  Please take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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