Essential Walk #6: Purpose

Thoughts on Excellence Free E-Newsletter Series
Volume 22, Issue No. 4b
December 14, 2023

By Dan Coughlin


What is my Purpose

Let’s review a bit of what we have covered.

  • Your essence consists of non-physical and non-material aspects of your life; specifically, your thoughts, emotions, and will.
  • Two paths your essence could be focused on are virtues and egotism.
  • Virtues are the thoughts, emotions, and will that you think are the right ones to have and consciously want in your life.
  • Egotism are the thoughts, emotions, and will that are driven by your desire for immediate gratification and instant pleasure, which come from an exaggerated sense of your self-importance.
  • Integrity is how you maintain your focus on virtues. Lack of integrity is what allows egotism to take over your essence.
  • Peace is freedom from disquieting and oppressive thoughts and feelings. Freedom means to free up the best that is within you to emerge.
  • When you get stuck in egotism, you are trapped within yourself and are not able to free up the best version of yourself to emerge.

Clarify Your Purpose

And now it’s time to talk about purpose.

In MWD (Merriam-Webster Dictionary), purpose is defined as something set up as an object or end to be attained: intention, resolution, determination.

I think that’s a pretty good definition, but I would add a little more to it. I think a purpose is the reason for doing something. It’s the why behind the what. It’s the reason for the end that you want to attain. A purpose does provide you with an intention. The intention is to fulfill your purpose for a specific reason. A purpose provides a person with a meaning, a sense of making a positive difference.

In terms of the health of your essence, having a clear purpose helps you to guide your will toward something meaningful. And whatever that something meaningful is helps you to keep your thoughts and emotions purposeful. Not only does your life become more meaningful, you are also much less likely to fall into the quicksand of egotism.

When you have a compelling purpose that you can intentionally lean into every day, you don’t leave yourself time and energy to spend on negative emotions and disquieting thoughts. Having an important purpose in your life helps you to strengthen the health of your essence.

It’s essential for you to spend some of your Essential Walks to really think about your purpose in the different areas of your life, clarify that purpose, and to review that purpose on a regular basis. The clearer, stronger and more meaningful your purpose becomes to you, the more your thoughts, emotions, and will head in the direction of fulfilling that purpose.

One purpose that has driven an enormous amount of my thoughts, emotions, and energy over the past 40 years has been to help other people achieve what they want to achieve. It is the driving force behind me writing these articles, my executive coaching, my seminars, and many of my personal conversations as a parent.

Essential Walk Questions for You to Consider

  1. What is the meaningful difference you want to make in your most important relationships? (marriage, children, parents, friends, siblings, community, etc.)
  2. Why do you do what you do for a living?
  3. What overall positive difference do you want to make with your life?

By stepping off the train of constant activity and allowing yourself to dig into these questions, you can peel back the onion far enough to really uncover important answers for yourself. When you clarify your purpose in the different areas of your life, you are doing something remarkably beneficial for your essence.

When your essence is healthy, then those healthy thoughts, emotions, and will can enhance the different areas of your life. Your essence is the engine for your words and actions. The healthier your essence becomes, the healthier your words and actions become. Your purpose helps a great deal in making a positive difference, focusing on virtues, and staying away from the cravings of egotism.

Republishing Articles

My newsletters, Thoughts on Excellence, have been republished in approximately 40 trade magazines, on-line publications, and internal publications for businesses, universities, and not-for-profit organizations over the past 20+ years. If you would like to republish all or part of my monthly articles, please send me an e-mail at with the name of the article you want in the subject heading. I will send you the article in a word document.

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