“It is wonderful what great strides can be made when there is a resolute purpose behind them.”
– Winston Churchill
An intention is something that you want or plan to do. A goal can be a statement of what one intends to accomplish. But a purpose, that’s much more meaningful. It’s the reason why something is done, it’s the defined end state of an intention or a goal. It’s a determination to accomplish something passionate, engaging, and consequential. It provides a sense of mission that is compelling.
When striving toward purpose our choices and actions matter. There will be difficulties and challenges you will encounter that require patience and persistence, but overall you should have a sense of joy and excitement in the work you do and in your relationships.
If you wake up every day filled with apathy or dread, you’re probably not doing what you were meant to do. If you can no longer be positive at work or around those you care about, it’s a sign you may have lost your purpose.
Ultimately having purpose is a choice. We can choose to do things that will bring us more joy and give us more of a sense of purpose. We also choose what and who influences us.
Influencers can be trusted advisers, co-workers, personal relationships, the content we read, or anything we expose ourselves to mentally, physically or spiritually. Be intentional regarding your connections with people. We need people around us who will lift us up but also who will challenge us, call us out and push us when we feel like giving in or giving up.
Each of us have specific gifts, strengths, and super powers. Maybe you’re a problem solver. Or you have a business acumen. Perhaps you’re great at organizing people and getting things done. Your alignment to a fulfilling purpose likely involves the things for which you already have knowledge, competencies and skills.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
– Albert Einstein
A passion for continuous learning can be particularly valuable in helping you discover and drive toward your purpose. It allows you an opportunity for insight and understanding, to explore your creative capacities.
“Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.”
– John Holt, American author and educator
Every experience whether good or bad ends up teaching you something, but whether you gain knowledge from it is your choice. This is an attained prowess and doesn’t come naturally to most people. It will take practice, a conscious effort and deliberate actions on your part to master learning as a routine behavior. Own your learning to find your purpose, make it self-directed and self-initiated.
“What makes people smart, curious, alert, observant, competent, confident, resourceful, persistent – in the broadest and best sense, intelligence – is not having access to more and more learning places, resources and specialists, but being able in their lives to do a wide variety of interesting things that matter, things that challenge their ingenuity, skill, and judgement, and that make an obvious difference in their lives and the lives of the people around them.”
– John Holt
Question what you are doing and why. What is the one thing you’re particularly passionate about? You’ve heard it asked before; if money wasn’t an issue, what would you love to do? Where do your gifts intersect with your passions?
We need to own our sense of purpose and setting our path toward discovering our desired mission in life. And although individuals are ultimately responsible for their own outcomes, the results of their efforts. As a leader there are environments you can help create to enable others to be more successful in their endeavors.
One of the most impactful things leaders can do is make certain the organization’s purpose, mission, vision answers one question for people:
Why did they even bother to get out of bed this morning…? People don’t want to join a corporation, they want to join a purpose.