Purpose vs. Intention: What's The Difference?Jan 20, 2022
Purpose vs Intention: The Basic Differences
We all want to know how we find our purpose, figure out what we want to give our energy to, and decide what to do with our lives. To do that, we have to know the difference between identity, purpose, and intention. So let's start with the basic definitions of each of these and then dive deeper into how they are different.
When we base our identity on anything that can change - like your thoughts, choices you make, accomplishments you earn - it can leave us vulnerable to taking on identities that don’t serve us, or make us feel lost when things change. The truth is that your identity is unchanging. You’re a child of God with unlimited potential.
A lot of times we think we’re here to do something. It’s not true. You don’t have to do anything to fulfill your purpose because it’s already done. Your purpose was to come to earth to inhabit a physical body. You’ve done it. Anything else you do after that is just for your learning, experience, and growth.
The choices you will make to design your life, the service you want to give, the capacity you want to grow are all your intention. It’s how you get to use your agency on this earth and you get to choose what you want. The only thing keeping you from all the things you want are your own thoughts.
When we understand these three things, the journey becomes less pressured and much more joyful. But why is that? Well let's dive in.
Why Does Purpose vs Intention Matter?
Recently in a couple of coaching calls, I've had people express the idea that like, they just don't know what they're doing with their life and they can't figure out like what it is they're supposed to be doing and how to feel good about the things they're doing. And just this lack of purpose, and direction, and feeling like, "I want to do things, but I don't know what the right thing is, and I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing." And is this thing worth my time and just all the like indecision, and doubt, and insecurity, we have about our choices and what we've decided to do with our life, and put our time and our energy and all of that.
And so, I just thought, you know what? This might be useful for all of you. It might be really useful to, especially at the start of the year, to talk about how we find our purpose and how we differ between our purpose and intention.
So when it comes to the things that we decide to do with our lives, and the things that we decide to develop in ourselves, the things that we decide to spend time and energy on, we have to understand the critical difference between identity, purpose, and intention.
The First Major Difference In Purpose vs Intention
I want to start for a minute with purpose.
The definition of purpose is the reason something exists or the reason something was created. Why are you here? Why were you created? A lot of times we think that we are here to do something that we have a purpose outside of just being here, a purpose outside of like just the human experience, and I want you to know that that is not true. You do not have to do anything to fulfill your purpose because it is already done. Your purpose was to come to Earth and inhabit a physical body. And then learn whatever you're going to learn while you're here, you are already the result. You are the reason for creation already. You are the result and you have fulfilled your purpose by coming to Earth and getting a body. Day one, minute one, you have fulfilled your purpose, and everything else you do after that is just for your learning, experience, and growth.
And when we try to find a purpose beyond that, we miss the joy of our life, and the joy of choosing what we want to do because we're always searching for a reason, or a better reason. We're always trying to find a reason that like, it's okay that we exist, and prove our worthiness or a love ability, or our enough ness, okay? Like I said, you are 100% lovable because of who you are, and you don't have to do one thing else to be worthy of being alive on this planet. You are 100% worthy, and your life automatically has value and purpose. And you don't have to prove your value or worth ever. And I want you to remember that your purpose has been fulfilled, because now that means that everything you choose to do after that after arriving here is just for the joy of it. Just for the growth, just for the learning, just because you can and just because you have been given an Earth-life experience that you get to do with what you want to become to create to grow in all the ways that you want. And that's what I call intention.
The Second Major Difference In Purpose vs Intention
Intention is all about what you want to do while you're here. Intention is all the decisions that you will make, the choices that you will make to design your life, the ways that you want to learn, and grow, the skills that you want to develop, the service that you want to give the capacity that you want to enlarge the glory, even that you want to attain while you're here. But none of these things are who you are or your purpose for being here. Our intention is all about how you get to use your agency, your days, and your hours while you are here on the Earth. And I want you to know that you get to choose what you want. Your intention does not define who you are. Does not define your identity, okay? It does not make you good or bad, it doesn't make you a better or worse person.
The example I always share is like imagining two five-year-old boys one wants to learn to play basketball and the other doesn't. The one goes out and he dribbles every day and he practices and he learns the skill of dribbling and the other one doesn't. And then I ask my clients, like, which one is better? But people aren't better than one another. These children cannot be better than one another, one just now has a skill that he can use to, like, find joy playing basketball. But it does not make him better. And I want you to know that like that, I use that simple example because it's easy for us to see that children who can play basketball, and children that don't, aren't better or worse. But the same applies to us, no matter what choices we've made in our life it does not make us better or worse. It gives us certain experiences. It gives us certain opportunities that we each get to choose.
I also want you to know that your intention doesn't have to stay the same, right? You can listen to your desires, you can listen to the things you want. What you want from your life is going to change throughout your life. And when it's not like tied to your purpose, then you can be really like aware of what you want and follow your intentions. Your intentions never have to be decided by anybody else, or what they think you're capable of, right? It's your agency you get to choose. And going along with that, I want you to know also that your intentions don't have to be limited by your own thoughts. So many times there are things we want to become. And we tell ourselves that's not for me, we tell ourselves that we can't for whatever reason our brain gives us. And there are so many thoughts that you might have in your life that are limiting your intention that deep down, there are things you would like to do while you're here and your own brain is getting in the way.
The Most Important Thing To Know About Purpose vs Intention
I want you to know that if you want to choose something you can, you get to. That is the gift of Earth life. You get to use your agency to create anything you want. I want you to notice how identity and purpose are fixed and unchanging. You are an eternal being with a limited ability to grow, that never changes. And you fulfilled your purpose by coming to this Earth that never changes. The one that is changeable is your intention, and you are allowed to choose any experience you want while you are here. I want you to know that because your identity and your purpose are unchanging and fixed, you are already 100% lovable, you are already 100% worthy as a human and valuable, and you don't have to prove anything. And all the rest now is just what you choose. And no matter what you choose, it won't make you better or worse, it's just going to change the life experience you have while you're here.
What do you want to do? What do you want to have? What do you want to create? What do you want to become before you leave this Earth?
Because you have agency and you get to choose your identity, and your purpose is already fulfilled. Now it's time to decide your intention.
What do you want to create while you're here? And if you want to help with that, you want help moving the thoughts that your brain says, like the things that your brain says are not available to you, that's what we do in coaching. We move from wishing that we could have that thing to create them in our lives. You are an eternal being with unlimited potential for growth, a child of God, and because of that, your identity and purpose are already known. They're already taken care of, the boxes are checked and all the rest is intention. All the rest is choosing.
And you get to choose whatever you want. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome.
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