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Day 5: Defining your mission

“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5)

The Oxford dictionary defines a mission as “an important assignment given to a person.” In other words, we can describe one’s mission as their primary purpose or assignment on earth. Your mission is your why?. One of the most frequent questions I have received as a mentor from my mentees is, “how will I know the purpose of my life?”.

When I was young, I volunteered at an orphanage in my neighbourhood. I was confident that being an orphan, my purpose was probably linked to working at an orphanage. As an action-oriented person, I got so frustrated in the three days of working there that I didn’t go back after that. Seeing the little kids there and not being able to help them by finding them homes or helping them in ways I deemed significant was frustrating to me. Helping to feed them and play with them wasn’t enough. I needed to provide a more practical solution and not being able to do that was sad for me. I decided to quit. This experience was part of my journey to discovering what my purpose is. In the years that followed, I would immerse myself in experiences that helped me understand myself more. I found my gifts, talents, and passions as I did so. I eventually started putting the pieces of what my purpose is together. Experiences include joining the debate group in high school, playing netball, volunteering for the varsity newspaper, serving as a volunteer netball coach, and serving in the Residence Committee. Later as a professional, I joined organizations such as the Association for the advancement of Black Accountants (ABASA) and Global Shapers. All these experiences helped me get to a point where my WHY has become more evident.

So firstly, we develop our mission when we understand ourselves. Because our mission is linked to what sets our souls on fire, we have to honestly know who we are in our authenticity to answer what our purpose is honestly. If we think about my volunteering experience at an orphanage, someone else with a different personality would have felt spending their time purposefully at the orphanage. Furthermore, if I had been serving differently by, for example, organizing a fundraising event, I probably would have felt more useful. So there is no wrong or proper purpose, but there is a purpose that aligns with who we are and how we are wired.

Secondly, we develop our mission through trial and error. If we don’t immerse ourselves in experiences that will help us discover ourselves, we won’t honestly know or have a chance to fine-tune our purpose. The best way to discover our purpose is to be as involved as possible in experiences that will help us find the answers.

In my journey, the third thing I discovered is that purpose is not ONE thing and is not tied to ONE job, role, or position. If you are someone like me, who likes to help other people discover their highest potential and live it out in service to the world, you can do this at church, in the workplace, for your team, or your customers. Therefore, it is crucial to look beyond a specific vocation when considering our purpose. As a Chartered Accountant, I have a unique skill set that can help me live out my purpose anywhere – even as a housewife – and therefore, I am not forced only to pursue job opportunities or businesses within finance.

Additionally, our life experiences also shape our purpose and mission. So yes, it was a great starting point for me to ask myself whether the experience of being an orphan in some way meant my purpose could be found in working at an orphanage. This is always a great starting point. We need to reflect on what experiences we have had (good and bad) and what we have gained from these experiences, and whether anything of value can come out of those experiences.

Over the years, I have indirectly worked through some of these questions to discover my mission/purpose/why:

Why do we need to understand our purpose:

While our vision is our ultimate end goal, our purpose/mission/why are our motivation and driving force pushing us to do the things we plan to do. If our goals do not align with our purpose, we won’t have sufficient motivation to sustain ourselves when we meet challenges in achieving our goals. Our purpose will fuel us to wake up every day and strive for our dreams.

If you have a strong purpose in life, you don't have to be pushed. Your passion will drive you there - Roy T. Bennett

As we begin to develop specific goals per life dimension, we will explore our motivations in much more detail for each goal. For today, our primary focus is our overall life purpose/mission.

Journal Reflections:

1. Answer the mission/purpose questions on paper, and think about other additional relevant questions that relate to purpose.

Additional questions from the Blueprint by Joe Duncan :

What will be my lasting legacy and contribution?

What would you do if you could do anything?

2. Identify and write down the key motivations in your life and prioritise them.

3. If you find it hard to develop your mission and purpose, include this as one of your goals for the year and make a list of resources you will explore and actions you will take to help you develop your purpose.

Resources and tools

Books that helped me discover my purpose:

The Purpose-Driven Life – Rick Warren

Dr. Myles Munroe books

- Understanding the power and purpose of women

- In Pursuit of Purpose

Books by Lisa Bevere

- Lioness Arising

- The True Measure of a Woman


Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I am a passionate leader, accomplished professional and a mentor. I believe that nation-building depends on how well we build people. Therefore, my mission is to contribute to the personal, professional and leadership development of people to empower them to reach their highest potential.

I do this through a mentorship program that I founded and through this blog where I share principles I've applied and insights I've gained in the past twelve years of my career and leadership journey.

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