How do we define the first of Pat’s 3 Ps of performance? I think there are really two key steps to defining purpose. The first one is pretty simple, and that is just to set an outcome goal. This is your what. For some this might be ‘to qualify for the Olympic Trials’ or for another ‘to complete a marathon without walking.’ Identify something that feels important to you, that you are drawn to. The what really just comes to you. Most of us have many goals that pop into our head every day, it is the next step that tells you which of these whats are worth pursuing.
This second step is tougher, and one that unfortunately a lot of people skip over. However, if you take this step, you will sort through your goals and be able to narrow them to those most worth your effort. This step is to ask yourself why a goal is important to you? This can lead to some tough self-reflection. If you want to qualify for the Olympic Trials, why is that? If you are really honest with yourself and all you can come up with is that it seems like something solid athletes attempt after college……I’m not sure you’ve found a why that is going to stand the rigors of such a challenge. It is here that many a goal might need to be reevaluated.
On the other hand, if you can answer this question with something specific, something rooted in your history, or something critical to your overall well-being…..you’re probably ready to move forward. If an athlete answers that she wants to qualify for the Olympic trials so her little sister can see first hand the strength and power all women are capable of…….then she has a real sturdy why. The athlete who wants to finish that marathon without walking because a childhood illness kept him from being able to run track in high school also has a strong why.
So the what is the easy part. If you’re motivated you probably think of new whats all the time. Running all those whats through the why test though will leave you with goals that have true purpose behind them…..and you will have one of the three Ps of performance in your pocket 😉