Stating your purpose: What are you living for and why?

Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey both have purpose statements for their lives.

The statements have nothing to do with business success or profits, and rightly so. They focus on things such as teaching others and having fun. The statements help them stay focused in their lives the same way a mission statement keeps a business focused in the marketplace.

As a CEO, it’s easy to be sucked into the daily grind and lose sight of the bigger picture of what life is really supposed to be about. There’s a difference between living a life of success versus living one of significance. A purpose statement will help you achieve significance.

The statement should be a definition of what you are living for and what you want to be, but that’s only the beginning. The next step is to create a list of goals you want to achieve.

These goals don’t have to be overarching or complicated; they can be as simple as talking to your kids or spouse about something that interests them or giving thanks for all that you have. The point is that all of the smaller goals should flow directly back to your purpose statement. These goals are not a wish list; they are a to-do list. When you start living by your goals, what flows out of that is a well-balanced life of significance that has a higher purpose than just making money and being successful.

Once your goals are established, you need to establish a list of daily, weekly and monthly objectives that will keep you on track. These objectives should be intentional and, most important, measurable. You can use them as benchmarks to mark your progress and update them as needed.

As you set goals, you will find that it becomes much easier to say yes or no to requests, because you have a plan for what you want to do and how you want to get there. If you start to go down the wrong path in any area of your broader plan, failing to meet your goals and objectives will quickly point out the error of your ways.

The more you follow your goals, the easier they becomes to maintain. Often, the hardest part is getting started, because of self-imposed barriers. If after making your list you find it sitting on your desk with little progress being made, consider hiring a professional to help you.

A purpose statement supported by daily and weekly goals can improve the way you live your life and keep you focused on what matters most — family, friends and making a difference for others.

What are you waiting for?

Fred Koury is president and CEO of Smart Business Network Inc., the publisher of Smart Business Magazine and operates SBN Interactive, a content marketing firm.