The prospect of managing purposefully can be intimidating.  An obvious part of that intimidation comes from lack of clarity.  Before we set out, we are going to briefly study the words purpose and management individually and then put them together.

A good place to start might be the dictionary, but let’s see how far we can get on our own steam first and use the dictionary to look back and check our work.  If we turn the word around in our mind and try to capture how it is used and what is meant, we find there are multiple uses.

The first idea that pops to mind is that purpose is the reason we hold for doing something.  Purpose is our motive, or cause.  It is the impulse that causes us to act.

A second common use of the term is to refer to an intention or objective.   In the second sense, purpose is the desire to achieve a particular outcome.  Here, one might say,  ‘my purpose is to complete this first blog post I have been putting off for 6 months (just hypothetically).’

Third, when we say we hold a sense or purpose, this meaning can refer to motivation or resolve drawn from the value we attach to that purpose.

There are even more uses but those first three are enough for now.  Now might be a good time to check our work before we go too far (or extend this post to become unreadably long).  Here is what dictionary.com provides:

noun
1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.
2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.
3. determination; resoluteness.
4. the subject in hand; the point at issue.
5. practical result, effect, or advantage:
verb (used with object)purposed, purposing.
6. to set as an aim, intention, or goal for oneself.
7. to intend; design.
8. to resolve (to do something):
9. to have a purpose.
Idioms
10. on purpose, by design; intentionally:

11. to the purpose, relevant; to the point:

Looks like we did okay – our highlighted uses are covered by 1, 2, and 3 respectively. So, in a sense purpose speaks simultaneously to motive, destination, and intrinsic function or value.  So, by purpose we mean we have a reason to move towards a particular outcome which we determine to be meaningful.  The next blog post will briefly examine the term management (which should be easy, right?) and then we will put the terms together a see if we can figure out where we are heading in this blog. – Eric