How not to overdo your purpose
You made it: You have significantly invested into getting to know yourself. You know exactly what your talents are and you are certain about where and how to apply them. You have achieved the highest levels of clarity about your purpose and are ready to make the world a better place. With infinite energy and passion, you started to bring your purpose to life. Then, someone tells you to “Stop overdoing your purpose!”. Does this mean back to zero?
In this article you will learn
What “overdoing your purpose” actually means
How to turn that phrase into personal growth
How to find the exact qualities that complement your purpose
Understand you and the people around you better
Having people tell you that you are “overdoing your purpose” is not a fun thing to experience. Some people might be immune to the opinion of others. However, most of the time criticism of what is important to you goes straight to your heart (or ego for that matter). The good news: “Don’t overdo your purpose” is rarely really a comment on your purpose. Usually it is simply a warning that you seem to spend more energy on achieving your goals than necessary. Hence “don’t overdo.” We wrote this article to provide you with our guiding principle that helps you to turn this warning into immediate personal growth. Yes, immediate.
For this principle to immediately work for you, you need to know your purpose. If you haven’t found it yet, check out available workshop dates here. If you want to continue without your purpose, choose one of your major strengths or talents now and use it throughout the following. This exercise is based on the Olfman Core Quadrant Model. With his concept, Olfman successfully teaches people around the world how to mediate between the diverse skillsets of diverse teams. We found his fundamental model very useful to illustrate how to not overdo your purpose as well. Thank you David Olfman for your great work!
“Everything that you find annoying in someone else is simply 'too much' of something beautiful.” David Olfman
Step 1: From purpose to pitfall
Your purpose is nothing less than what makes your life meaningful. As such, everything you do that is in line with your purpose is just flowing effortlessly. You don’t need to think. You just do and what you do is meaningful (Olfman calls this your quality). Hence, you tend to do more of it every day. Here lies the tragedy: Unchecked, this tendency inevitably leads you straight into the “overdo your purpose trap” (pitfall in Olfmans model). You do too much of what you think is your purpose. Think of too much as an overshooting action rather than a too much purpose.
“There is no quality that comes without a pitfall. If you think there is none, then you probably suffer from ‘too much’ of confidence.” David Olfman
Take my example: My purpose is to challenge the people around me (my quality) to create room for positive improvement. Despite my noble intention, too much of challenging is mere pushiness (my pitfall). I won’t do any good with being pushy all the way down. Neither will I make meaningful experiences this way. Too much of my greatest gift means I am overdoing my purpose. Not in the sense that my purpose was wrong but in the sense that I have lost track of what my purpose really was.
Now try it for yourself: What is your quality and what does it become if you do too much of it?
Step 2: Understanding your challenge
If you have trouble to identify your pitfall, just think about what people say when they complain about you: “Oh [your name], you are so [your pitfall] again!” In my case, my girlfriend will let me know whenever I am “in my confrontational mode again.” While I am entirely stuck in my pushiness-pitfall, I lose my original intention challenge to create room for positive improvement. But there is a strategy to counterbalance the “too much” of my quality.
This counterweight is precisely the opposite of one’s pitfall (Olfman calls this challenge). In my case, the opposite of pushiness would be patience. If I want to bring my purpose to life in the long run, my challenge is to learn to exercise patience. If I manage that challenge, it will be a whole lot easier for me to prevent stepping into the pitfall.
Now try it for yourself: What is your challenge, the opposite of your pitfall?
Step 3: Mastering your challenge
Learning and exercising what is your challenge will bring your purpose to the next level. If I would keep challenging people in an unregulated manner, my impact would probably be very limited if not negative. Also I would hear the phrase “Don’t overdo your purpose” a lot! However, if I manage to be a patient challenger, I will get a real chance to sustainably create the room for positive improvement that is key to my personal purpose. My determination to become more patient is one of the reasons why you will find many meditation-related content in our inspiration section.
Step 4: Bring other people into the game
Instead of learning the necessary skill to master your challenge, you can also partner with other people. If they have as their core quality what is your challenge you’re both up for something great! It is not surprising that many functioning couples complement each other in this way. My own relationship happens to be exactly a combination of challenging and patient. Yet again: Where there is light, there is shadow. Even with complementing qualities. Olfman calls this allergy. Similar to the pitfall, your allergy is too much of your challenge.
“The behaviour patterns are so reliable, that we can easily predict the issues that will emerge when people engage with one another.” David Olfman
In my case, my allergy is too much of patience. For me, it equals paralysis which is incommensurable with my purpose: Waiting is not an option when I am about to challenge the world to create room for positive improvement. Unfortunately, and thanks to our complementary qualities, my allergy is precisely my girlfriend’s pitfall: Too much of patience. And my pitfall is her allergy: Too much of challenging. You can easily imagine how things could go downhill from here very fast if unchecked. A mutually amplified downward spiral of “Don’t overdo your purpose”. The way out of the mess is to become aware of your own pitfall and consciously regulate your behaviour accordingly.
Wrapping it up
Every purpose comes with a pitfall. There is no way out. When people tell you to “not overdo your purpose” don’t take it personally. Take it as valuable feedback that you might have stepped into your pitfall. Once you have accepted that even your noble intentions might lead you off your path, you can find out what you need to get back on your purpose track. If you want to cut a corner, check out our personal purpose programs. In the integration section you will build up a thorough understanding of your purpose-pitfall and learn how to consciously regulate your behaviour reliably. Understanding how to not overdo your purpose will be a significant boost to your personal development – it is certainly one of our favourites!