“Wide Eyed and Electrified” – What does it mean to be On-Purpose?


“Without purpose we would not exist…
It is purpose that created us…
Purpose that connects us…
Purpose that pulls us…

Purpose that guides us, that drives us, that defines us….

Purpose that binds us.”

  (Agent Smith from Matrix Reloaded)

Sometimes things stick fast in our memories. They just never seem to go away. One such moment was 15 years ago in my first Power of Your Purpose Workshop based on the book The On-Purpose Person by Kevin McCarthy.

By way of introduction to the workshop I asked the participants what they considered a person might look like, sound like and feel like when they were on-purpose.

I mapped the answers from participants on a Y chart. One I have never forgotten.  ‘John’ had no hesitation in sharing his thoughts!   “Wide eyed and electrified!” he exclaimed. 

There was spontaneous applause from the small group as his words resonated and echoed around the room.  This phrase has now become a bit of a “household” answer from some family members and close friends when asked how they are going. Yes, you guessed it!  ‘Wide eyed and electrified!’  

Of course, being on-purpose is more than this. Typically people use words such as fulfilled, energized, mojo, in the flow, focused, whole, meaningful, hope, purposeful, and significance to describe what being on-purpose means to them.

I have been using the term on-purpose and asking that question so often in workshops, training and coaching that it is easy for me to assume that everyone has a common understanding of the phrase.

When we are on-purpose our hearts, head, hands and feet, as well as our ‘gut’ and throat are in alignment. They are connected. These body parts represent our Purpose (Being), Vision (Seeing), Missions (Doing) and Values (Choosing) respectively.  Purpose comes from the heart, forms a vision in our head, takes action in our hands and feet all within the values that bind and connect these four aspects of our lives.

Also, as the figure below shows, when you are “on-purpose,” there is alignment between your purpose, vision, mission, and values. According to Kevin McCarthy, the author of The On-Purpose Person and The On-Purpose Business, on-purpose is sparked by purpose, inspired by vision, performed through missions, and governed by values. Your being, seeing, doing and choosing are all aligned and connected.


When you are on-purpose in this kind of alignment, you will feel like you are in the ‘flow’ and one with your body, mind and spirit. You are engaged in meaningful work and you know why and how you are making a difference in the world.

When you are on-purpose you are ‘on track’.  Your purpose is like a homing beacon that keeps you focussed on the things that matter most in your life and business. It ensures you keep doing more of what you do best.  It prevents you from being distracted. It governs your thoughts, feelings attitudes and behaviour. Like a light house it keeps you from going astray.  It ensures that your core wants, goals and priorities are in alignment with your Purpose.  The decisions you make will be through the filter of your One Purpose.

From the above it is clear that being on-purpose means that we have clear direction in our life and that we live out our life intentionally – on-purpose.  We acknowledge that there will be occasions when we will be taken “off course” but with a clear focus, a clear sense of direction and purpose, we will keep returning to or being pulled back to the things that matter most in our lives.

Work-life balance is not something you seek when you are on-purpose.  You see your life more in terms of being integrated and holistic (Spiritual, Family, Financial, Vocational, Mental/Intellectual, Social and Physical/Health) rather than areas you try to balance by giving them equal importance.

People who are on-purpose will be proactive and make things happen, rather than live their lives reacting to events and circumstances.  Because they know their Top Priorities and Core Wants and have developed clear action plans to achieve these, they will have less stress and less clutter in their lives and be able to make confident decisions. They take ownership and responsibility for their lives.

By understanding that our Purpose is our spiritual DNA, we can accept that our two-word purpose statement ‘defines’ us in a special way.  Our parents gave us a biological name.  But once you discover your Purpose and give it a name  (as I outlined this in my previous Blog on The Power of Your Two Word Purpose Statement – e.g. Releasing Potential; Liberating Greatness; Igniting Enthusiasm (Mine); Celebrating Freedom; and Rejuvenating Spirit) you have in fact named your true “I”denity – your True Self.

So being on-purpose also means that you ‘Be’ your Purpose. Being on-purpose is an outward and visible expression of an inner calling on our life. In this way our Purpose defines our past, present and future. It is ‘been’, ‘being’ and ‘becoming’.

On-Purpose people understand the importance of building their lives from the “inside out”.  They know that without a strong spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual inner core, they will not achieve long term authentic success.

Finally, being On-Purpose is a journey, not a destination.  Those of us who embark on this process are On-Purpose people in creation.  We never completely arrive. It is an ongoing process of growth.  On-Purpose therefore, is about who we are “being” and “becoming”.

 © Dr Edward Gifford, On-Purpose Partners Pty Ltd, July 2012