Mark Sanna

Mark Sanna DC, ACRB Level II, FICC

“You did that on purpose!”

The meaning behind this one simple childhood utterance can literally change your life… almost overnight.

Here’s the scenario. Little Tommy intentionally pushes little Suzie. Suzie runs to the teacher and exclaims “Tommy pushed me on purpose!” Of course, Tommy gets punished for his act. You’ve seen similar scenarios before haven’t you? You’ve probably even been involved in little schoolyard spats such as these, maybe even recently? It all seems pretty childish, but take a closer look at what’s going on. What does Suzie mean by “on purpose,” and how can that change your life?

The idea of living “on purpose” has been a major focus of personal development for a while now, especially the last several years. Writers, speakers, and Coaches all claim that by living “on purpose,” your life experience can be dramatically more positive, passionate and prosperous.  What the heck are they talking about though?

If you look up the word “purpose,” you’ll get this definition from “A result or an effect that is intended or desired; an intention.”

That’s a pretty simple definition, right? You would think it’s also pretty easy to implement this idea in your own life. It’s certainly easy for little Tommy. For us adults though, it tends to be somewhat of a challenge, doesn’t it?

There seems to be two major areas of confusion around this idea of living “on purpose.” The first thing that tends to confound many people is the idea that a purpose is something to “do.” This is where we get caught up in our various roles, such as parent, teacher, doctor or whatever role you play in your life. As much as we hate to admit it though, many times, playing your particular role doesn’t feel all that positive, passionate or prosperous.

What if your purpose is not something to “do” but, instead, something to “be?” Remember, you’re a human be-ing not a human do-ing. Let’s look at that thought for a moment.

Wouldn’t you agree most people want to be happy? So, lets say “happy” is your purpose; your intention; your desired result or effect. Each day, you wake up and tell yourself “my purpose today is to be happy.” One of two things can happen at this point.

First, you may create, through your own happy thoughts, happiness inside yourself. You’ve met people like that before haven’t you? Perhaps you’re someone who does that. Your overall intention is to “be happy” regardless of anything outside yourself. It’s a state of mind.

When something happens outside you which threatens your happiness, you refocus your thoughts to see that event in a happy, joyful way. You intentionally look for something good and joyful about everything, even when it may not be apparent at first glance.

The second thing that may happen, and also the second area of confusion around the idea of purpose, is that you look outside yourself for your purpose. If – in our example – your purpose is happiness, you look to derive your happiness from other people, objects or your roles.

You think: “if people would just do what I want them to do…” or “if I could just have this or that…” or “if Icould just have that car, enough money or that perfect job… then I’ll be happy.” Of course, sometimes you can find happiness this way, but think about it a little further. Where does this thing called “happiness” actually exist?

Somewhere inside you, right? You can’t control things outside yourself. Doesn’t it make sense to intentionally create happiness inside yourself first?

As far as living your life “on purpose,” those nuggets of wisdom point to the same basic idea, don’t they? Your purpose is not found in something outside you, such as a person, an object or what you do. Your purpose is found inside you and you create it with your thoughts. Further, by creating your inner purpose with your thoughts, you in turn create your outer experience. Sing a happy song, dance, shout, think about happy memories, envision a happy future. Focus only on happy thoughts, be happy and feel the emotion of happiness.

Throughout the day, ask yourself “am I being my purpose right now?” Before you react to a situation, ask yourself “what response would be in alignment with my chosen purpose?”

As you more and more *be* your purpose, your outer experience will flow from that. Your “do-ing” will flow from your “be-ing.” Before long, somebody will say or think, just like little Suzie, “you’re being happy, prosperous and loving on purpose!” Don’t worry though, you won’t get punished for it. In fact, you’ll be richly rewarded. Have a great week.

Its your life. Create it the way you want it!

Dr. Mark Sanna if the president of Breakthrough Coaching. For more information visit or phone 1-800-723-8423.