Dr. Bill Damon - the Director of the Stanford Center for Adolescence - defines purpose as "a stable and generalized intention to accomplish something that is at the same time meaningful to the self and consequential for the world beyond the self".
Having purpose is fundamental to cultivating a meaningful life because it connects you to your raison d'être, something that matters deeply to you and gives your life direction. Without this internal compass, it is easy to slip into a life defined by the expectations of others, even when it might not be what you are seeking.
We consider purpose to be one aspect of meaning-making alongside four other fundamental components that collectively constitute a meaningful life.
Our toolkit encourages students to explore the roles that all these pillars play in their lives and offers ways to deepen their experience of each. Consequently, the first two thirds of our toolkit cultivates self-awareness and world-awareness, while the third phase more explicitly focuses on purposeful action which takes the form of a group project. We encourage students to think of purpose as a non-linear and reflective process they can draw upon for guidance throughout their life.
Note: The above categories of meaning are adapted from Emily Esfahani Smith's book, The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters,