“Down deep in every human soul is a hidden longing, impulse, and ambition to do something fine and enduring.” ~Grenville Kleiser
Nearly 10 years ago, I had the privilege of attending a conference where Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer at Procter & Gamble spoke about the ‘Inspirational Power of Purpose’. He spoke of P&G’s purpose – “to touch lives and improve the life of the world’s consumers” and how that purpose was driving many decisions and strategies within the company. Mr. Pritchard further explained that no longer was P&G a company that just sold shampoo, diapers, and soap – it was becoming a company that sought to improve the well-being and the very existence of the people they served and he gave several very tangible examples of how P&G’s brands were walking the talk. This was truly an inspirational message about the transformational change that can be created by committing to purpose and it caused me to realize there was a higher purpose calling me. I just didn’t know what it was at the time.
As a leader, you may wonder why connecting to your purpose is important and why it really matters. Leaders are often caught up in the day-to-day tasks they feel are required to get the job done and to meet organizational objectives. Purpose is what makes the difference in someone who works hard to get a lot done and someone who makes meaningful contributions to their organizations and their community. Purpose ensures that we are living a living a life that matters and using our gifts to make a significant impact on the world around us. Your purpose serves as your guiding light helping you to determine how and where to spend your precious time and energy.
Sometimes leaders are hesitant to define their purpose, much less pursue it, because it can seem self-serving, egotistical or unrealistic. My challenge to that mindset is that if you do not define your purpose, you risk someone else imposing one on you – and this a short road to frustration and burnout. Leaders with a self-defined purpose are much more likely to thrive and live fulfilling lives. Linking your talents with your purpose not only leads to a more successful career, but one of significance.
Your purpose is the unique impact you are called to make for the benefit of others. When you are living your purpose, work is a privilege, not a burden, because you are connecting to the very core of what motivates you and makes you feel alive.
7 Reasons Why Purpose Matters
1. It provides a sense of meaning and calls us to grow.
2. It is about who we are. The values we want to express and the character we want to embody.
3. It guides us and keeps us focused on what is most important. Both short and long-term priorities are clear.
4. It gives us power. Not the hierarchical type of power, but the type of power that creates a real impact and inspires others. Leaders with purpose stand for something and are not afraid to share it.
5. It makes us courageous and resilient. Leaders with purpose take more risks, overcome fears, and adapt more easily to change.
6. It helps us engage others. Shared mission is contagious. Our success and the success of others are inextricably linked.
7. It becomes our legacy. Leaders with purpose go to sleep at night feeling like it was a well-lived day. Purpose is bigger than us and will outlast us.
This all sounds great you might be saying, but how do I find my purpose? The hectic pace of daily life can get in the way of focusing on what really matters, but getting started is what is important.
How to Connect to Your Purpose:
1. Take time to reflect. Think about personal and professional experiences that light you up. Do you notice consistent themes? Roles you have played? Who you were with? Who you were being at that time? Problems you were sought out to solve? Challenges you have overcome?
2. Notice what calls you. Which parts of your organization’s strategy or mission most interest you? What current events most interest you? What special interests or passions do you immerse yourself in? What are the needs of your community that you are called to serve?
3. Discover your special abilities and aptitudes and find opportunities to put them to meaningful work.
4. Consider how you want to be remembered as a leader. What is the lasting impact you want to create? How do you want your contributions to be remembered?
After listening to Mr. Pritchard’s presentation, I was motivated to pause and reflect on my purpose and consider how I was going to channel my energy in ways that would make a meaningful contribution to those around me. Utilizing the book, The Power of Purpose, by Richard Leider, I wrote my personal purpose statement – “Be in the world every day on purpose, in relationships, in work, and in nature, in ways that are true to who I am, creating growth in myself and others.” Ten years later, I can truly say I’m living my purpose and it continues to guide my personal and business priorities and decisions. Connecting to your purpose and living it is not easy, but it is a worthwhile journey and can empower you to make your dreams a reality while expressing the highest and best version of yourself.
Grow with purpose.
Emily Rogers is an executive coach, business consultant and retreat facilitator. She strategically advises and supports organizations and individuals in growing and realizing their full potential in purposeful and balanced ways. You can connect with her at www.emilyrogers.com.