Question for you… why did you get up this morning? Maybe you’re heading into the office. Perhaps you’re going on holiday. But why?
It is a flippant question and yes, I’m trying to provoke you. But really, how easily can you answer the question? And I wonder, how often do you actually ask yourself that question?
I don’t mean it in the depressing sense of the phrase. What I’m trying to do is to get us thinking about a topic that’s relevant in business as well as the rest of our lives… purpose.
It will seem like common sense, however if you have a straight forward and confident answer to why you get up each morning, you’ll probably do more. You’ll probably find decision making easier and your ‘retirement’ will probably be just as exciting and busy as your working life.
I know what you’re thinking, yes of course being focused makes us more effective. Many people from Stephen Covey to Alice whilst she was holidaying in Wonderland, have talked about useful goals are.
Do not make the mistake however of confusing purpose and goals. Purpose sits higher up the chain than a goal. It’s what helps us decide on how we set our goals, how strong our convictions are and how we go about achieving them. Purpose is something really personal, it sits at the core of everything we do, and it is the context for our lives.
The leaders that I have worked with who have achieved great things in their lives so far, have a very good understanding of their purpose; why they as individuals exist. It enables them to make things happen, and not be passengers in their own lives.
A great way to test this, is to look back and think about regrets or bad decisions you’ve made. Whether from work or at home, write them down (and writing them down is very important). It is good to have a mix here. When you have a half dozen or so, review them. Notice any patterns, or themes? I’d bet you’ll find any decisions you regret don’t match up with your purpose. You might not be able to describe why, but you’ll feel it in your gut. Something wasn’t right.
Knowing why we do what we do, is a key part of the journey in business and life. And make no mistake, they are both one and the same.
Define your purpose, and then choosing a vision becomes a much simpler task. Vision leads to goals, and as we all know, goals lead to accomplishment.
p.s. the image for this post I took half way up the South Pillar of Mt Stetind in Norway. My purpose in life led me to start rock climbing. Climbing ultimately led me to the Arctic Circle to complete one of the proudest challenges of my life.