Do you know the story of the two stonemasons?

Imagine you see two men toiling in the hot sun, lifting and shaping backbreaking stones to build an enormous structure. You walk up to the first stonemason and ask, “Do you like your job?” He looks up at you, wipes his sweaty brow, and responds, “I’ve been building this wall for as long as I can remember. The work is monotonous. The sun scorches my skin every day. I’m exhausted, and I’m not sure if this project will be completed in my lifetime. But it’s a job. It pays the bills.” You thank him and walk on.

You approach the second stonemason a few meters away and ask him the same question, “Do you like your job?” He’s just as sweaty as the first man, but he looks up with a sparkle in his eye and replies, “I love my job. I’m building a cathedral. Sure, I’ve been working on this wall for as long as I can remember and it gets monotonous sometimes. Yes, I work in the scorching sun, and lifting these heavy stones can be exhausting. I’m not even sure if this project will be completed in my lifetime. But I’m building a cathedral.”

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The work the two stonemasons are doing is exactly the same. The only difference is that one has a sense of purpose. Purpose changes your perception of what you do. It inspires you and lights up a clear forward.

What cathedral are you building?

This month in Spirit Drivers Mastermind, we have been studying purpose — what it means and how to find or create it in your life. Here are a few simple lessons we’ve discovered this month that I hope will inspire you on your path.


1. According to research by Cornell professor, Anthony Burrow, “purpose is an active ingredient that helps us stay stable” when we are confronted with the ups and downs of life. Your purpose keeps you emotionally even-keel. It anchors you despite the circumstances going on around you.

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2. If you’ve ever asked yourself the question, “what is my purpose?” you have a lot to be grateful for! Having the mental and emotional space for this question means that you have all your fundamental needs met, and you are on the path to self-actualization.

3. Of all of the definitions of purpose, there are two key common elements: purpose gives a meaningful direction to your life and goals and it gives you an aim beyond yourself.

4. Purpose gives you a clear direction to move in; it’s not a goal that you can accomplish. For example, wanting to be a manager is a goal because it’s achievable. To be an inspiring manager who brings out the best in every team member is an intention that draws you forward each day.

5. Your purpose might be very specific to you. It may draw on your experiences, strengths, skills, and the unique way you serve others. But it doesn’t have to be specific and unique to you!

6. Your purpose can be broad. It might be as broad as, “to elevate human consciousness” or “to help others grow.” These high-level, broad statements give you plenty of space to integrate your many goals and interests.

7. You may find your purpose by looking at who you’ve always been. Your sense of purpose can arise out of a deeper awareness of the situation you were born into and your personality. These traits are so obvious to you that you might not even see them.

8. You may find your purpose through a traumatic or life-defining event. Sometimes, purpose comes into focus through a deep desire to prevent the pain you’ve experienced or to help others who are experiencing a similar situation.

9. You may find your purpose by befriending death. Considering and accepting your inevitable expiration date can bring a renewed vibrancy to your life and help you focus on what’s most important to you.

10. It’s helpful to approach purpose from a variety of angles. Explore your purpose over time by trying a variety of different exercises with diverse teachers and guides. One exercise I found to be particularly valuable was to simply free-write on the question, “what is my purpose?” for at least 30 minutes!

11. Don’t try to know your purpose before you’re ready. It’s a journey to become aware of your purpose and put it into practice. Have fun along your self-development path and enjoy each and every satisfying “ah-ha!” moment!

12. It’s valuable to pursue your purpose with others who are on the same journey. Reflecting with others, actively answering questions, and hearing feedback are often keys to clarity. Work with a coach or join a group where you can have meaningful discussions on a regular basis.

Which one of these lessons is most interesting for you?