In the previous insight from The Change Maker Group, ‘The Purpose of Purpose’, two of three topics were discussed:

  1. Why is purpose necessary?
  2. And why is it EXTRA important right now?

Now we address the crucial question of how to find your Purpose, if you don’t think you have one, and you’d like to see how it can assist your life to have one.

Your purpose creates context and therefore relevance to all the activities and the general ‘content’ of works. Your purpose is your ultimate goal; it represents your final destination. However: it does not say what route you will take, it does not say what methods of transportation you will use and it does not say how long the journey will take, etc.  But it does say that the ultimate goal is to get to destination X.

Value added reasons for corporations to spend time on their Purpose:

For your consumers:

A 2020 study by global communications agency Zeno Group found that if consumers think a company has a strong purpose, they are:

  • 4 times more likely to purchase from the company
  • 4.5 times more likely to recommend the company to family and friends
  • 6 times more likely to defend the company in the wake of public criticismFor your employees:
    A recent survey found that more than half value belonging to a company with a strong moral compass. They appreciate ethical leadership and want to know their work has a positive impact on the world. An overriding purpose, which blends with an employee’s personal purpose dramatically increases motivation and satisfaction.

8 reasons why corporations struggle to bring their Vision to life:

  1. Some people don’t know what it is
  2. Some people don’t know what it means
  3. Some people forget
  4. Some people don’t see the connection between their job role and the vision/purpose
  5. Some people don’t care about it – it doesn’t matter to them
  6. Some people don’t believe it’s possible, or believe others who say it isn’t possible
  7. Some people fear they will fail, so never start
  8. Some people suffer setbacks and give up
    Do any of these apply to your workforce? Do any of these apply to you or your leadership team?

A vision and purpose can be in several categories, such as:

relationships – be the friendliest / most reliable / best friend / partner possible or
physical – top of the success board for… / the safest cars possible or
societal – help clean up our planet / be a good neighbour or
emotional – the company that cares for you / you can count on us or
intellectual – you can be more with… / increases your potential or
ethical – making true values everyday actions…

There is much to explore and try on.

3. So, how do I find my Purpose?

First, how did you do with these questions?

  1. Do you have / remember your purpose?                              Y / N
  2. Is your purpose clear and detailed?                                       Y / N
  3. Do you live your purpose every day?                                     Y / N
  4. Have you forgotten/forsaken your dreams?                        Y / N
  5. Would you like life to be “easier”?                                         Y / N
  6. Do you feel constantly ‘tapped” or tired?                             Y / N
  7. Could you use more energy?                                                   Y / N
  8. Is your life ‘joyous’?                                                                  Y / N
  9. Do you share joy?                                                                      Y / N
  10. Has your life lost its meaning?                                               Y / N

Many of you did contact us to discover the answers, and for the rest of you, we will continue the discovery!
For a truly energised, happy, and fulfilled life, team, company, half the answers are yes and half no!
Getting the right half to work for you, your team and company is where success lies.

We will begin with individual purpose, although many of these methods can work for a team or company as well.

Here are three ways to start your journey:

1. The Ikigia way

–  translated from the Japanese, Ikigai the concept means ‘a reason for living, a purpose in life’. Let’s look at this through the lens of your people’s jobs:

  1. Is what they do something that the world needs?
  2. Is what they do something that they love doing, they are passionate about?
  3. Is what they do something that they’re good at?
  4. Is it compatible with their values and ethics?
  5. Is what they do something that they get paid for – or rewarded for in a way they value? Think about charities and not-for-profits – they’re not always able to pay market rates but they provide the opportunity to find greatest fulfilment, despite all the challenges.

Gradually refine your responses to fill in these blanks: Who/why serve?   Impact?  Why I exist?
“I/We/The company exist(s) to _____________________________________ (desired impact)
in order to serve ___________________________________________________ (intended audience)
for this outcome__________________________________________________________.”

Answer these over a period of time, leave the paper where you sit for a coffee and add to it over a month or so. There is no rush.
Then see where is seems to point you, play with it, refine it, and create your purpose.

Ikigai - purpose to life

Ikigai – purpose to life

The Japanese who practice Ikigai are amongst the oldest and happiest on the planet – not a bad result!

2. The ‘open door’ imagination exercise

This requires the ability to take yourself somewhere quiet, where you can be undisturbed for as long as you wish, at least several hours. You may not need that long, but it is nice to give yourself the gift of that time anyway!

Sit in a comfortable position, where you have your body upright, and well supported, so it does not require any attention. Preferably have plenty of fresh air, and choose a place where you feel happy, content, rested, and safe. This may be done with eyes open or closed, whichever way you feel most at ease. You just need to be able to “see the screen in your mind”.

Begin with a body relaxer. An example is: Start from your toes and tighten them as you breathe in, relax them as you breathe out, move up from the toes, calves, thighs, buttocks, tummy, shoulders, hands, neck, up to and through the face.

Then, when relaxed, see a door ahead of you in your mind’s eye.
Take some time to really examine the door. What sort of door is it? What is it made of? From what age, or architectural style? ‘Touch’ it, how does it feel?  How does seeing it make you feel?

Think about going through the doorway. On the other side of the door will be a scene or a person or something telling you about your purpose.
Cultivate a feeling of happy anticipation.  When you are ready the door will either open on its own, or you open it. Push it open wide and walk across the threshold. Be highly observant, look all around, what do you see?  What do you hear?  Can you smell anything? If you reach out, what textures do you feel? Sometimes the message is extremely clear, sometimes it is in a story or a sign.

Take your time to gather all you want, ask questions if you are not sure. When you feel ready, express your appreciation for this opportunity and assistance and graciously depart, closing the door behind you.

Wiggle your fingers and toes and return yourself to the “here and now” state. Note down all you can remember, all you saw, felt, heard, touched, or smelt. Are you able to create a purpose statement from this? Maybe fashion several, play with them, get one you like.

Again, gradually refine your images to fill in these blanks: Who/why serve?   Impact?  Why I exist?
“I/We/The company exist(s) to _____________________________________ (desired impact)
in order to serve ___________________________________________________ (intended audience)
for this outcome__________________________________________________________.”

3. Mastermind groups for peer support and exploration

Select a few, highly respected and regarded by you people, they can be alive and known to you, or not personally known, but admired, or any person you greatly revere from history. Ask them, either in real life or in your imagination, to become a part of your mastermind group.

Then pick a day and time when they can all attend a meeting. If you have both real and imagined master minders, you can either have two meetings – one with the real and one with the imagined – or explain your question to the “real” ones and have them imagine the others into the meeting as well. The agenda is to discuss how to instil a greater sense of purpose in your workforce at a time like this.

There is a general discussion, with you participating and with people sharing their observations, insights, differing perspectives and experiences. As the meeting ends ask each one to summarise their ideas and suggestions for you. Note these down. Consider them later and select or amalgamate them into one you want to take.

Once more, gradually refine your images to fill in these blanks: Who/why serve?   Impact?  Why I exist?
“I/We/The company exist(s) to _____________________________________ (desired impact)
in order to serve ___________________________________________________ (intended audience)
for this outcome__________________________________________________________.”

Considerations when helping your employees to find their sense of purpose:

Connect to a deeper sense of purpose.

Explore ways to connect the disruption you are facing to something bigger. For some organisations, this may dovetail with the goals of an ongoing transformation, such as serving customers in new ways. For others, meaning can be found in a deeper, more collective sense of purpose or mission. For example, the chief surgeon at one New York hospital closed an all-staff memo by reminding people that “[patients] survive because we don’t give up.”

Foster dialogue with yourself and others.

While it’s important to shape a story of meaning for your organisation as a leader, it’s equally important to create a space where you can do the same for yourself.

Ask yourself what conclusions you are drawing from this crisis and pay close attention to your reflections, insights and gut feelings. Some possible questions: Have there been unexpected positive outcomes of this crisis for you? What changes have you made that you would like to keep once the crisis has ended?

You may wish to find someone whom you can talk about this and share what it means for you personally (rather than as an organisational leader). Who can you share and discuss this with? Think about peers, wider colleagues, your coach or your mentor.

The immediacy and uncertainty of the coronavirus crisis tempts leaders to “shoot from the hip” in communicating with anxious stakeholders or making strategic moves. Effective communicators will take a deep breath and remember the basics while acknowledging what is unique about this moment.
Relying on these practices will help team members stay safe and infuse understanding and meaning in communities. This will help to carry the organisation through the pandemic and its aftermath with a renewed sense of purpose and trust.

Finding increased joy in work.

Experiments show that having a sense of higher purpose stimulates oxytocin production, as does trust. Trust and purpose then mutually reinforce each other, providing a mechanism for extended oxytocin release, which produces happiness.  So, joy on the job comes from doing purpose-driven work with a trusted team.

And finally, more energy.

Purpose gives you, your team and company the energy to propel yourselves forward. Psychologist Todd Kashdan suggests that when we have meaning in life, we don’t have to push ourselves to get things done. Rather, purpose engages our creativity and passion in the service of something greater than ourselves.

And back to those three journeys to purpose…

Regardless of the route you took to get you to re-discover your vision, three extra actions make them a secured reality.

First, does it ‘click’?

After you have taken a break, return to look over your notes or map and your resilient purpose statement to see if it feels as though it ‘clicks’, or maybe needs a tweak or two. Does it feel right? Is it for you? Adjust as necessary.
Just as you may wish to try on an article of clothing before purchase, same with your purpose. ‘Live’ it for a few days! Tell some of your friends, how do they respond? Do you want / need to tweak it? Maybe you’ll not only accomplish that purpose, but many!

Next, commit to your purpose.

You may want to try it on if you are not quite sure that it is right. However, give yourself a ‘liveline’ – the positive version of a deadline – no more than three months for refinement.
As soon as it is yours, then commit to your vision. These beautiful words thought to be inspired by Goethe tell you of the amazing power of commitment.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts of initiate (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:

that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

 All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.

A whole stream of event issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour

all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance

which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Begin it now.”

Finally, persist until your purpose is your reality.

Keep playing, refining, re-committing, continuing the journey, until your purpose is a reality.
This will probably be for the rest of your life! If it is a finite vision, then you may wish to start the process all over again, as having a vision is your second pulse and helps to keep the first one going!

In conclusion –

Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you do, you can have a purpose that makes a difference, something you can be, something that you can do. One person can and does make a difference. Make your difference today!

 

Cathy and Vanda look forward to hearing from you.

Cathy Summers

Cathy Summers

Change Maker, Vanda

Vanda North