Personal and Professional Purpose
At Momentum Consulting for the past month or so, we have been tossing around the word “Purpose.” A lot.
Not a casual toss… more like a… this is a huge topic of discussion we need to keep open…. toss.
We have come to the conclusion that Purpose isn’t a sweet little “nice to have.” It’s a necessity. In life and in business. Where there is purpose, there is drive. Where there is drive, there is the everlasting climb to better business, better lives, and a better world.
We know our purpose is bigger than ourselves, but it makes our lives feel fulfilling, better lived, meaningful.
It’s a legacy kind of feeling. You know, like when you’re at Thanksgiving and the kids say “Do you know what Grandfather helped do in this world?!“
So I open the question up to you.
What’s your Purpose?
If you own a company, what’s your company’s purpose? What’s your life’s purpose?
Did that just make your mind go in a thousand directions? Did it give you pause? Or are you still and quick, down into your bones, that you know EXACTLY what your purpose is, and that of your business? Are you locked in?
Your purpose can be described as your “North Star.” It doesn’t change. The hill you’re climbing to get there (current mission) will change over time, but the North Star remains. It’s where you’re headed, even if you never get all the way there.
Jim Collins, author of many books, such as Good to Great and How the Mighty Fall, originally discussed his view of Purpose back in 1997.
Here’s a tiny excerpt:
HOW TO DESCRIBE WHAT YOU STAND FOR—SO IT ACTUALLY DOES SOME GOOD
Most organizations haven’t done a particularly good job of articulating what they stand for—their “mission statements” notwithstanding. Why is that? First, some companies don’t stand for anything real. Second, many companies that do stand for something don’t have a good grasp of what it is.
There are five important characteristics of a good expression of a company’s core purpose:
One, it absolutely has to be inspiring to those inside the company.
Two, it has to be something that could be as valid 100 years from now as it is today.
Three, it should help you think expansively about what you could do but aren’t doing.
Four, it should help you decide what not to do.
Last, your expression of what you stand for has to be truly authentic to your company. Companies that fail on this count are often the ones that really don’t stand for anything and never will.
Collins updates his company research on purpose in his new book, Beyond Entrepreneurship, 2.0. I highly recommend it as a fantastic compilation of business research over the past 30 years.
My question is: do you need a little guidance here?
Maybe you’re close, but you’re not sure exactly where to point that compass? Our consultants at Momentum Consulting can lead you through the coaching it takes to uncover the words to express your purpose.
Maybe you would like a purpose statement for your personal drive… or maybe your whole team could use some direction.
We can help with that, too.
Fundamental #21: LEAD BY EXAMPLE: The best way to influence others is “being the change you want to see.” Bring a calming presence. Help others to shine.