This is for anyone who has ever been confused about terms like living your “purpose”, “mission” or “passion.”

This is also for anyone who has ever finished David Deida’s Way of the Superior Man with more questions than answers.

One of my clients recently began reading David Deida’s powerful Way of the Superior Man. It was having a huge impact on him. In fact, this book changed my own life. It’s not uncommon to hear about men who have made major life changes after reading it.

And sadly, I’ve seen men take Deida’s writing as gospel. I’ve seen men stop using their own brains or hearts and merely adopt this book as their guiding light — a serious mistake.

Pros and Cons aside, my client was struggling to wrap his head around the concepts of purpose, passion and mission. He was confused. And he wasn’t alone either. I along with many others have been confused by this book and these concepts.

What the heck are we talking about?

For instance, in Chapter 12 “Be Willing to Change Everything in Your Life” Deida writes:

“Each purpose, each mission, is meant to be fully lived to the point where it becomes empty, boring, and useless. Then it should be discarded. This is a sign of growth, but you may mistake it for a sign of failure.”

He’s basically saying, “That specific thing you feel you were put on this earth to do will change. Be willing to change with it. It’s not a failure.”

But many guys confuse the terms “purpose”, “passion” and “mission.” I confused them for years, and I believe the way Deida uses them above is confusing as well.

Let’s get clear

After years of painfully figuring this out for myself and helping others do the same, here’s what I’ve come up with to eliminate confusion and hopefully make the endeavor of “living your purpose” much simpler and enjoyable.

By the way, I’ve highlighted this process in The New Manual video series which is available for free. Click here to check it out.

For the sake of this context let’s define these terms:

Purpose — This is what it’s all about.

It’s WHY we cure cancer, go surfing, have children, join the circus, fall in love, meditate, join the army, eat bacon, make a booty call or go to therapy. There’s some underlying reason we do everything.

Now, if we’re coming from our “small self” — the part of us rooted in fear, a lack of worthiness or scarcity — then our purpose may be to stay safe, avoid being alone, prove that we’re “good enough”, make our parents happy, keep the boat from rocking, etc.

For the “small self” it boils down to safety and control. And for many of us, safety is where we feel good.

But there’s more to life than settling for safety alone.

If we’re tapping into our “big self”, our “higher self” then I believe our purpose is to experience deep joy, happiness, love, connection, satisfaction, fulfillment, peace, fun and wholeness (the list goes on and generally hovers around the term “YES!”).

And when we’re experiencing deep joy, love, wholeness, fulfillment, etc. we feel Good. I mean Really, Really, Really Good.

This Good feeling is more than the good we simply feel when we have our coffee in the morning or a cold beer on a hot day. It’s more than the good we feel when we are safe.

Stay with me here, but this Good is closer to a unification with God or The Divine or whatever you want to call that-which-is-bigger-than-but-also-includes-all-of-us. It’s really big!

So please get this straight — our purpose isn’t about *doing some thing*. It’s about experiencing this Good feeling. Our purpose is to experience a FEELING not to accomplish a certain goal.

Think about it.

Let’s say — on a good day — you’re tapped into your higher self. You want to cure cancer? You want to write a bestseller? Great. You cure cancer. You write a bestseller. You NAIL it. Lives are saved. Bank accounts are full. Statues are built in your honor. You’re invited to personally deliver your sperm to the Victoria’s Secret Angels who have synchronized their ovulation to bear your offspring.

Now, how do you FEEL? My bet is that description fits into joy/love/wholeness/fulfillment/satisfaction/happiness. Get my drift?

That Good feeling tells us we’ve hit the bullseye — it’s our gauge. That feeling allows us to know if we’ve hit the mark.

From this standpoint, we can begin to see which actions or relationships or endeavors are helping us experience this wonderful sense of wholeness — this Good feeling. And we can consciously let go of the goals, behaviors and choices that don’t.

BTW, this starts to explain why so many folks exhaust themselves and never feel any joy or satisfaction in life. Denying our connection to this Good feeling will leave us feeling chronically dissatisfied or unfulfilled.

The Good News

The really Good news here is that for many of us, “living your purpose” suddenly just got much easier. There are many ways for us to experience joy/love/connection/satisfaction/happiness everyday. We may not need to cure cancer or write a bestseller in order to feel whole.

We can stop waiting for the completion of some goal in order to feel happy. And that takes guts. I can hear some egos kicking and screaming already. 🙂

But what about strengths?

It’s essential that we know our unique talents and gifts that connect us with the Good feeling. I like to call these “strengths”. It could be teaching or speaking or spreadsheets or yard care.

These specific activities literally strengthen us — they give us more energy and power and satisfaction. We experience deep pleasure when we’re doing these things.

Some folks use the term “passion” to describe strengths. But again — strengths are simply the process, not the destination or feeling. Click here to listen to my interview with Marcus Buckingham on the subject of strengths.

So what is a Mission?

Our mission is the formula we can follow to experience the Good feeling.

It’s how we tie together our strengths with some sense of meaning. It’s where we take a stand for what we value AND enjoy the process, too.

According to positive psychologists, true happiness can be found when we combine what we love to do (our strengths) with something that is meaningful. It’s the Reese’s peanut butter cup of deep pleasure and contributing something positive to the world.

Your mission in less than 60 seconds

A mission statement can be a simple formula — Your strengths + What You Value + a cause or group that you care about.

Let’s play with yours. Fill in the blanks below to come up with a rudimentary mission statement:

My mission is to (insert your strengths) (insert the thing you value or stand for) to/for/with (insert the specific group or cause that excites you).

For example, here’s something that may work for a music producer:

“My mission is to inspire and empower creativity in young rock bands.”

For years my mission has been “to be a loudspeaker for what is possible in men’s lives today.” My strength is communicating and translating the message. I value greater possibility and choice. And I’m fired up to help forward thinking men around the world.

It resonates with me emotionally. It “clicks” for me. Play around with it. Find one that clicks for you.

The bottom line is that it (a) aligns the things you love to do with (b) helping a cause or group of people you care about while (c) embodying something that is important to you.

But don’t fall in the trap

What’s the point of a mission? It’s to live our purpose, right? And what’s our purpose according to this writing? It’s to experience that FEELING of love, connection, joy, wholeness, etc. This combination of pleasure and meaning is that Good feeling we discussed earlier.

Now remember what Deida was saying. The mission — the formula for HOW we experience this Good feeling — will change. It’s up to us to stay connected to the feeling and keep the course flexible. If we get attached to the mission and lose the feeling — we fall into the trap.

So let’s reread what Deida wrote through these newly defined terms:

“Each purpose, each mission, is meant to be fully lived to the point where it becomes empty, boring, and useless. Then it should be discarded. This is a sign of growth, but you may mistake it for a sign of failure.”

If we take out the word “purpose” in the beginning we can see that it lines up now. Our purpose — to experience this Good feeling — is always going to be there. It’s the basis for all that we do. How we get there — the mission — will change.

At some point it will no longer light us up to follow a certain path. If we’re in touch with the feeling and we’re using that as our inner compass, then we can let go of the mission and make room for the next one.

However, if we’re not in touch with that feeling, we’ll simply keep doing the same ole thing and wonder why we’re dissatisfied. I get the image of a man trying to catch fish in a dried up lake. The water and the fish have moved elsewhere while he has not.

So what about you?

What do you believe your purpose in life is? Is it a goal to achieve or is it a feeling to be experienced?

What are the strengths or unique talents or gifts that you have? What specific activities do you love to do?

And what is your mission? How can you employ your strengths to help the world be a better place? What do you take a stand for?

Are you ready?

If you’re ready to feel lit up by life — to clarify your purpose, your strengths and your mission — then CLICK HERE and fill out a coaching questionnaire. I want to help you. Let’s not waste any more time. Let’s start the process today.

Remember to have fun,