“Brands with purpose grow. Companies with purpose last.
And people with purpose thrive.”
– CEO of Unilever
Why does purpose matter in our lives, leadership and business?
Alignment. That’s what knowing your purpose brings. Massive alignment on why you are here so you can then decide how you want to serve.
Most of the time, we are so busy doing and we get stuck wondering why we feel exhausted, overwhelmed, scattered and unfilled. This is true for outwardly wildly successful people as much as new leaders launching their careers. Measuring success by what is happening on the outside is limiting. I’ve worked with thousands of leaders in all kinds of environments and all of them get to some point where they are questioning their why, thinking “is this it, there must be more”.
Questioning is key. Questioning challenges you to go deeper. Then you need to do the work.
Here’s the thing…the power of purpose, specifically when you are conscious of your purpose, is that it is the filter through which your decisions, choices and actions flow such that you are consistently in a state of deeply knowing “this is in alignment”. Being in alignment is power.
The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
From the definition, you can see that purpose is not about what you would like to do. It is about why you exist, what you are designed to do.
As with all leadership, there is an excavation and reflection phase. This is the inner work you need to do in order to articulate something that is powerful and meaningful for you.
Why are you here?
What is your purpose — the one that you are most passionate about and can no longer deny?
How much more impact and success could you have by showing up as an integrated, whole, aligned human/leader who knows their why, their purpose?
As the quote above says purpose matters at all levels. Ultimately, as a leader, knowing your personal purpose is hugely important to lead in alignment and create a high performance environment. When you are leading from alignment you create trust, people will feel they know you and your decisions, choices and actions will be clear.
I LOVE supporting my clients to shape their purpose. In the Vital Visionary Mentorship the purpose excavation and ultimate creation of their personal purpose statement is one of the three core elements to build their leadership platform. Yes some of the work is individual, only you know what lights you up, where you experience significant meaning.
The work is also about engaging others. This is a huge part of why I choose to lead group programs. You need other people to be witnesses, to hear you, to reflect back what they heard you say, to share how they experience you when you are living your purpose. Isolation shrinks you. Having a community of compassionate and committed leaders expands you.
My mentees spend time in reflection, some ask questions of their inner network, they give feedback to their peers, they challenge each other to go bigger, to be bold and they get inspired by the process of their colleagues and the amazing outcome of their personal purpose.
You will need to do the same. This isn’t a check the box exercise. My clients will tell you it’s emotional. Both in their own experience and in being part of supporting their peers to articulate something that feels so big. They will also tell you it is transformative.
Here are some examples from my amazing clients, to inspire you to start or perhaps revisit your purpose.
“To open doors, create space and amplify the voices of vulnerable populations to build a more equitable country.” Isabella
“My purpose is to help people to be free of illness and disease so they can live the life they choose” L. Boyle
“Lighting the hearts of others by making them feel seen” S. Trude
“My purpose is to empower Canadians through our bold philanthropy to transform the world with kindness, courage, excellence, joy and human rights.” Sarah
Remember, your purpose, at its core, stays the same through your life. How you express your purpose will evolve. You will use different words because your evolution will shift the meaning of the words for you. The key with purpose is to start. To be brave and play with the words so you create a launching off point for your deep alignment and transformation.
Your purpose matters, the world needs you and why you are here. Go do the work!