I have absolutely no doubt that having a clear sense of purpose makes us better leaders. When we know why we do what we do, the impact that we want to have and what truly motivates us, most things at work get better. We find it easier to prioritise. We can say yes to the opportunities that align to our purpose and no to those that don’t. We are better able to make decisions when there is no definitively right or wrong answer. We are more likely to act consistently, which means those that we lead will follow us more readily.
Getting clear on our purpose isn’t just a work thing, however. It’s a life thing.
What is your purpose?
There has been much written about ‘purpose’ in the leadership and personal development space over the past few years. This has largely been driven by the brilliant work of Simon Sinek following his fantastic TED Talk and book, titled Start with Why.
The danger with great ideas, especially in the leadership and personal development space, is that we turn them into something that we ‘do’. It is easy for your ‘why’ or ‘purpose’ to become another leadership tool that we use, which is very different to it being a principle that you live and lead by.
Purpose is not something that we create then file away as ‘done’. It is something that we constantly refer to and strive to live up to and into.
Your purpose isn’t something you pick up along with your bag each day as you leave the house and head off to work. Your purpose is for life, not just work. It is what drives you, what fuels you and what keeps you going every day. It’s the reason you continue to get up each day and go out into the world trying to make an impact.
Your leadership impacts both work and home life
Everything I do is built on the belief that to lead anyone is a great privilege and a great responsibility. Every person that we lead is the most important person in someone else’s life and our actions have a bigger impact than we often realise.
What we do and how we behave doesn’t just affect our team when they are at work with us. We have an impact on how they are with their families and loved ones when they go home. I believe that it is our job to ensure that those we lead can come to work inspired to give their best whilst going home happy to those that they love.
Here’s the interesting thing…
I’ve realised that I’ve not been living my purpose as strongly at home as I have at work. If I’m truly being the leader that I aspire to be, then I should also strive to ensure that those I love the most, can leave our home and go out into the world in a brilliant state and able to give their best.
I’m working on living my purpose as strongly at home as I do at work.
This is the real point of understanding our purpose. It is not something that we create then file away as ‘done’. It is something that we constantly refer to and strive to live up to and into. I’m not perfect and I’m on the same journey as you. Whilst I spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff, I don’t always get it right.
My purpose at home
So, in the spirit of transparency and in the hope that it will inspire you to be the best leader that you can possibly be, I’m sharing what I’m working on right now.
I’m working on living my purpose as strongly at home as I do at work. I’m working on doing all I can to ensure that my amazing wife Jo can go to work and be the best that she can be. I’m also doing all that I can to ensure my wonderful daughter can go to school each day ready to grow, learn and enjoy life to the full.
A purpose is for life, not just work. As Mother Teresa once said, “never worry about the numbers. Help one person at a time and start with the person nearest you”.