Mindful Leadership Blog

Aligning Inner and Outer Purpose: The Power of Presence

Sep 18, 2023

In our fast-paced world, many of us find ourselves juggling various roles and responsibilities in our daily lives. We have our careers, our family roles, our hobbies, and our social commitments, to name just a few. These roles make up what is often referred to as our "outer purpose." But what is the significance of our outer purpose, and how does it relate to our inner purpose? In this blog, we will explore the concept of outer purpose and why it's essential to bring presence to what we do in our everyday lives.


Understanding Outer Purpose

Outer purpose, in its simplest form, is what we do or what we're doing in the moment. It encompasses all the roles we assume in our lives, from our professional roles to our roles as parents, friends, or community members. Outer purpose is dynamic and can change over time as our circumstances and priorities shift.


The Key to Outer Purpose: Presence

The crucial aspect of outer purpose is the idea of bringing presence to what we do. Presence means being fully engaged and aware of the task or role at hand, regardless of its nature. It's about giving your undivided attention and energy to the present moment. When we are present, we perform our tasks with greater efficiency and effectiveness, and we experience a deeper sense of fulfillment in our actions.


The Alignment of Inner and Outer Purpose

The relationship between our inner and outer purpose is where things get interesting. According to Eckhart Tolle, inner purpose refers to our deepest values, passions, and the core essence of who we are. It is the compass that guides our life choices and decisions. When our inner purpose aligns with our outer purpose – what we do in the world – we find our deepest motivation.

Alignment is not about changing your outer purpose to match your inner purpose or vice versa. Instead, it's about finding ways to infuse your outer purpose with the essence of your inner purpose. It's about being authentic and true to yourself in all that you do.


The Soul's Role

Your soul can play a central role in this alignment process. Your soul craves harmony and authenticity. It cannot tolerate inconsistency between your inner and outer purpose. When you act in a way that contradicts your inner values and passions, your psyche suffers. You might feel disconnected, unfulfilled, or even experience stress and anxiety.

On the other hand, when you align your inner and outer purposes, something extraordinary happens. You tap into a wellspring of motivation and resilience that propels you forward. This alignment creates a sense of flow in your life, where your actions feel effortless and meaningful. In sports this is known as “the zone”


Challenges in Aligning Inner and Outer Purpose

It's important to acknowledge that aligning inner and outer purpose is not always easy. Some of our outer roles may not align with our innate skills or passions. We might find ourselves in careers or situations that we're not passionate about. In such cases, it can be challenging to bring presence to what we do.

However, it's crucial to remember that even in roles that don't align perfectly with our inner purpose, we can find ways to infuse them with meaning. It might involve seeking opportunities for personal growth, connecting with the broader purpose of the role, or exploring ways to align 


In the grand tapestry of life, outer purpose represents the various roles we play, while inner purpose represents the core essence of who we are. Aligning these two aspects can be transformative, infusing our actions with authenticity and meaning. The key is to bring presence to what we do, regardless of the nature of our roles.

Embrace the power of presence, and let it guide you toward a life where your inner and outer purposes harmoniously coexist, creating a fulfilling and purpose-driven journey.


I wrote a book, Profit with Presence: The 12 Pillars of Mindful Leadership, which goes in to further detail about this topic and more.

Although the world is currently abuzz with the term “mindfulness,” some believe mindfulness is a fringe activity to be practiced before or after the workday, if at all. Too few business professionals take the time needed to be present and aware throughout the workday, which is counterproductive. Mindfulness is not only a path to personal success, but a sound business strategy.  

My hope is to positively impact the world through infusing more mindfulness into business -- and it starts with each of us individually. Together, we can create a future where mindfulness is deeply embedded in our work culture, leading to greater well-being, productivity, and meaningful success for all.

- Dr Eric Holsapple


Get my free mindfulness resources here

Learn more about my book, Profit with Presence: The 12 Pillars of Mindful Leadership here

Check out the Profit with Presence Podcast Miniseries here

Watch videos on YouTube here

Learn more about my nonprofit, Living in the Gap, here


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