September 30, 2016 / ACT WITH PURPOSE
September 30, 2016
When the world no longer seems to make sense, when it looks like what was once unacceptable has become commonplace, it is easy to surmise that we are on a downward spiral to mediocrity and have lost our collective sense of purpose. There is, however, a glimmer of hope. As humans, we are driven by the fact that there is meaning in the individual, in who we are and in the things we do.
From a personal perspective, I think that living with purpose gives people a sense of belonging – an awareness of our journey and hope for what lies ahead. When we have a clear purpose in our lives we can firmly hold on to the belief that we can, and will, achieve our goals.
Purpose Drives Success
In business, purpose brings clarity and focus to a company and its team, from leadership all the way down the ladder. Without purpose, leaders struggle to succeed as they often have greater difficulty reaching their goals, instilling confidence and meeting their company’s objective. On the other hand, with a clear purpose leaders are able to successfully guide their brands, attain their objectives and keep customers coming back for the value their brands offer.
Purpose also drives profit. In their book, Corporate Culture And Performance, John Kotter and James Heskett describe how purposeful companies are more profitable over a long period of time. To truly attain this success, everything from developing a new idea to hiring a new employee to marketing the brand must reflect the purpose of the company and its mission.
To Be Purpose-Driven Requires Exceptional Discipline and Focus
An example of a company driven by a clear purpose is Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières), whose mission involves working in nearly 70 countries providing medical aid to those most in need, regardless of their race, religion or political affiliation. This narrative has no ambiguity; it propels their volunteers to join the cause and to fulfill the purpose–to help those who need medical attention whenever the need arises. Their purpose provides a way for talented medical practitioners to carry out their vocation and make a difference.
Purpose Drives Commitment to Something Greater
Some years ago I watched the HBO series on the life of John Adams. One of the aspects of his life that stuck with me was his relentless and urgent sense of purpose, which was passed on to the entire Adams family. Although not all the children had his determination, his son, John Quincy Adams, carried on his father’s purpose-driven legacy and went on to become the sixth President of the United States.
But Adams' legacy and sense of enduring purpose did not come without sacrifice. John Adams’ commitment to his country and political career was costly. In the early years, most of his time was spent on the road in Philadelphia with the Continental Congress working on independence from England and the Constitution. Later he went on to spend time in Europe on behalf of the New Republic.
Today we see a similar sense of commitment and sacrifice by many who come to our shores as immigrants seeking a better life for their children and the generations to come. Their resolve and mission are what we as a country are all about–one generation driven by a shared commitment to create a better life for the next generation, passed down ad infinitum. The specifics involved in that commitment may vary from generation to generation, but ultimately it stems from the same purpose, leaving our family, our country, and our world better than we found it.
Purpose Begins with the Individual
In an election year, most of us tend to look for direction from leaders in the political and corporate realm, but a purpose-driven life begins with an introspective look at our own devotion, self-determination, intention and insight. It starts with cultivating knowledge of self and recognizing that there is more to life than just the daily grind–that there is a bright future ahead and that the sun will rise again.
So be bold. Live a life of purpose; choose your vision well since you may find yourself living it for a very long time. Do not give up on your mission, have unwavering faith that with enough effort and drive you will succeed. The road you take to achieve your purpose may be challenging, but stay the course, it will be the necessary refining process to a great testimony.