Leaders of character have an appreciation of the good things that happen to them and never take them for granted. They always take their time to express their thanks. They are positive about the future and believe that their performance is controllable. They see the light side of challenging situations. They appreciate excellence and skilled performance in all domains of work. They have strong beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of their work.
There is very little new under the sun.
Despite the recent prominence of the idea of ‘purpose’ in musings such as Simon Sinek’s 2009 TED Talk, or the burgeoning range of advice for businesses to be clear about their purpose, the central nature of purpose has been expressed since at least the days of the Greek philosophers, through to more modern-day psychologists such as Viktor Frankl, and Patrick Hill. The idea that having a clear purpose is so important, whether it be global in nature i.e. a purpose for your whole life or contextual e.g. your defined purpose as a leader at work, has long been recognised. Indeed recently Hill has found that spending some time designing a clear global sense of purpose can even increase your lifespan, regardless of your current age - you can’t get more important than that, can you?
When David and I set up our business with our fellow Directors, the very first thing we did was spend some time away from the office defining the core purpose of Performance Edge. We worked through several iterations and it continues to be refined but even from those early days, we agreed that we wanted to “Shape the future of leadership coaching”. As a result the very reason for our business existing has been clear since that first off-site meeting.
Getting a clear sense of purpose has:
Purpose provides a touch-stone and guide-rails within which you can direct your efforts. It allows you to tweak the rudder of your life - personal and professional - within a known boundary. Depending on the scale of your purpose, it can also provide you with a connection to something bigger than yourself. It provides a reason for being, living, working and striving.
1. Write down what you see as your current purpose in life (Hint: it probably involves helping people in one form or another. It probably hasn’t got anything to do with an amount of money you are going to make!)
2. Work on your purpose over two weeks. Go back to it frequently. Try different words or phrases until you get your “Aha” moment and realise you have found what you are on earth to do.
3. Decide how you are going to fulfil your Purpose. What is the vehicle you are going to use to enable you to be living ‘on purpose’ - it might be your business, your family, something that is currently a hobby.
At Performance Edge we help organisations, senior teams and individual leaders clarify a powerful sense of purpose that in turn radically improves business performance. If you want to access these results please contact us here.