16 Feb On Purpose
Purpose. It’s one of those words that has been buzzing for over a decade. From Simon Sinuk, Dan Pink and Brene Brown – experts have been touting the significance and secrets of purpose in both our personal and professional lives. Find your purpose. Know your purpose. Lead with purpose. Live your purpose. Regardless of the word’s saturation (some might say over-saturation), I couldn’t agree more that it is purpose—when you discover it — if you build everything around that purpose and put it at the center of everything you do—will surely motivate us, inspire us, and bring incredible meaning to our lives and work. In fact, it’s one of the first questions I ask on my client brief/questionnaires.
What is your business’s purpose?
The surprising truth is that very few know their purpose, confuse it with their vision or mission, or don’t know how to articulate their purpose clearly and utilize it.
Find your purpose.
Know your purpose.
Lead with purpose.
Live your purpose.
If you’re in the latter category, there’s no shame. It can be daunting. If you’re ever a client of mine, know we spend significant time to discover your purpose, and get real clarity about it. I have spent years developing an in-depth workbook session that is part of our discovery phase with new clients. Today I want to share a simple, helpful exercise. It’s not intimidating. It’s not a whole Ted Talk. It’s just you, a piece of paper and a fill-in-the-blank formula designed to get you started with a little soul searching and hopefully a lightbulb moment in discovering your purpose.
If you have listened to Simon Sinuk’s Ted Talk, you know he spends a lot of time drilling the point home that we need to think, act and communicate from the inside out. Something bigger than ourselves and beyond making money. The golden circle. It’s the only place to start.
Ready? Here’s the simple formula.
Now let’s dive in.
What are your talents or what are you best at? Think about the skills you possess that help you feel successful. If you feel unsure, take notes about how you spend your free time. Is there a connection? When I have free time, I have noticed I still gravitate to creative exploration. Whether that’s painting, drawing, writing, or really anything that satisfies the inner artist and creative in me. I also enjoy developing a new skill or perfecting a skill that I use for work. I will happily pour through books, an online course, or listen to industry podcasts to keep learning and developing my craft. I feel as though my ‘best at’ is two-fold. Besides creation, I would include innovation, strategy, and business savviness as part of my skill set. I follow business experts, blogs and news… and my background is in marketing. With a little over a decade as a marketing director when I would feel strongly about a particular direction or position for the business, and it ended in the successful results I anticipated – the feedback I heard most often is that I have an incredibly strong intuition. Of course, it was more than a gut-feeling even though I usually do feel it in my gut when I am being pulled in a certain direction. But it’s more calculated than that. There’s a lot of research, exploration, and as time went on, a developed expertise that went into those feelings. Look for patterns in feedback in your own work either by your partner, leadership, colleagues or clients/customers. A great way to find out more about yourself is to ask people you like, trust and respect what they think you’re best at.
Keep an open mind and start writing down all the notes you need. When you’re ready, edit it down into the most clear, concise, and simple statement possible. You can keep tweaking it and editing it until it lights a little spark in you. You know that feeling? It feels good. A little nervous excitement as you weave together those few words and as your eyes move slowly from left to right across the page you just know… that’s it! This is me.
How do you serve/help others? What brings the most meaning to your work? Think about those signals when you know you’ve done something for someone, and it just makes you feel amazing! That feeling of greater significance. You feel as though you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. You’ve connected their needs with solutions. They’re going to be better after you’ve worked with them. Are you teaching them better ways of doing something? What are you providing of enduring value? Write that down. Same note here as in the first exercise: write it all down, as much as you need and ruthlessly edit for clarity.
I am now able to give my best self to others and live up to my initial ideals. I am able to see the impact, and people around me can sense that I love what I do. My passion needed purpose that is rippling into bigger areas than me. I do have moments of distractions, but my purpose gets me back on track to focus on what is important.
Once you’re done with the above two exercises, I hope you’ll feel the butterflies deep in your belly. Where these two discoveries collide is where you’re really going to find the passion that drives your purpose. This is both true in our personal lives, and for our businesses.
There’s a great story in Forbes about Jesse who worked as a director at a global technology company in his early thirties and was part of the company’s emerging leader program. He landed the “cool job” that came with money, title and prestige. He had a Master’s Degree in Computer Science and was doing what he thought he was supposed to do. But he was unfulfilled and felt empty in his role.
He eventually began a self-discovery journey and took a critical look at what he was good at and what brought him the most joy. He was always passionate about solving problems, teaching and as a child had a desire to become a teacher. Today, Jesse is in a leadership role teaching and mentoring people and regularly speaks at industry conferences.
“I am now able to give my best self to others and live up to my initial ideals. I am able to see the impact, and people around me can sense that I love what I do. My passion needed purpose that is rippling into bigger areas than me. I do have moments of distractions, but my purpose gets me back on track to focus on what is important.”
Rippling into bigger areas than me… It doesn’t get better than that people! It’s an inspiring story and I invite you to read it in its entirety here. Link: The Great Power of Connecting Passion with Purpose.