The Power of Definiteness of Purpose

potential Feb 01, 2019
The here and now

In these challenging times, it can feel like things are out of your control. We might wonder what we as individuals can do about the economic cycle or decisions made by organizations bigger than we are. But the truth is that we are always in charge of one thing and that is ourselves. Even in difficult times, there is hope within us.

One woman’s story

I once coached a woman who was in a period of intense transition. She’d been let go from a position she loved. It was unexpected and the sudden change was overwhelming. It’s natural to feel a loss when we suffer disappointments like losing a job. But if we linger in the disappointment, it can lead us away from our goals.

When she came to me for coaching, this woman had already been sending out job applications and she was disappointed in the results. Our first step together was to rebuild her self-esteem. Together, we reviewed her skills and personality traits, and began fostering her ability to lead herself.

As her self-leadership skills grew, so did her opportunities. Before each interview, we rehearsed what she would do and how she would present herself. She learned through practice to focus on what Napoleon Hill calls definiteness of purpose; in other words, the one thing she most wanted to accomplish with her life. Instead of concerning herself with what she could no longer do, she put all of her energy into what she could do now. It turns out she could do a lot.

She got the job she wanted and this happened even though there were other applicants whose skills looked better on paper. This is the power of definiteness of purpose. People who have it bring an enthusiasm that others want on their team. But none of this would have happened if she hadn’t looked forward and focused on her dream.

How to build hope 

Focusing on our dreams does more than keep us aware of opportunities. It helps us build hope and makes us more resilient. Make no mistake. Hope is not something other people give to you. It is something that you give to yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Centre yourself. When you experience a disappointment, turn inward and be kind to yourself. Failure is only failure if it stops you from continuing to try. Do the things that nurture you. For some of us, that might be a walk. For others, it might be spending time with close friends or visiting an art gallery.
  2. Focus on your definiteness of purpose. Everything in your life should be viewed through the lens of your definiteness of purpose. If you look towards that, you will find yourself feeling hopeful again. You will have confidence in yourself, and like the woman I coached, people will be drawn to your enthusiasm.
  3. Act in a way that supports your definiteness of purpose. Feeling hopeful is good, but it won’t make you stronger unless you act on that hope. Look for opportunities, mentally rehearse the steps towards achieving your definiteness of purpose, and keep on keeping on. Learn something new. Make yourself all that you can be. As Napoleon Hill said, “You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”

Call to Action
  1. Make a list of the things that nurture you. Keep it nearby to help you through difficult times.
  2. Think about your definiteness of purpose every day and review your plan for achieving your dreams.


The best is yet to come. It starts with you.

Your friends,
The UpCloseTeam