You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose. ~ Abraham Lincoln
How often do you think about the purpose of your business?
So often we set out to achieve the success that fulfills our dreams, but the logistics, the selling, the fixing and managing consumes us, and we don't take the time to reflect on our original purpose for doing what we do a good part of our waking hours.
Knowing your purpose-not just in theory, but as something real and vital that you feel in your body-is more than a motivator. Purpose allows you to passionately engage with your tasks at hand, make better decisions, be more effective, and experience real satisfaction.
Knowing your purpose keeps you on track by helping you choose where to put your focus. Your purpose infuses your work-day with meaning and guides you through each challenge that may arise.
Going to work with no sense of real purpose or direction is a dead-end that often finds people in a going-nowhere thought loop, an endless refrain of: What is the meaning of my life? Why am I here at this job today? These questions need to be addressed regularly by you but also with your staff.
When your team discovers and aligns with their personal purpose it clarifies and hones every choice they make while being at work.
What is your purpose?
The vice president of a bank, John was complaining he had fallen into the hum-drum routine of going to work every day and grumbling at his co-workers until he went home. When he revisited his purpose with the exercise I am offering you below, John reconnected with the real reason he'd become a manager in the first place: "to be a compassionate and supportive leader to others." He remembered that his purpose was to bring people together, not divide them, and to create a strong team environment. He started to actually enjoy going to work and arrive full of eager anticipation every day. He told me that the atmosphere at the bank grew more convivial and productive once he encouraged his staff to clarify their own mission statements and share them with co-workers. Within two months his department increased productivity, and reduced employee absenteeism considerably. It works. When we realign with and embody our purpose, our motivation changes and our actions reflect more positive results. We then have a much better chance to move toward our organization's goals with passion and excited.
Try this by yourself and in managers meetings. What I usually hear when I lead this with organizations are comments like, "Janet, I‘ve worked with you 12 years and never knew what your purpose in life was. And how that fits with the work you do here. I feel like I know you differently than before"
Step 1. Relax. Take a few slow belly breaths in and relax your body on the out breath. Notice your posture. Notice any tension in your body and let it go.
Step 2. Visualize. Imagine yourself in a familiar and relaxing environment, perhaps on your favorite beach, or walking along a trail in the woods. You might even see yourself simply relaxing in your home. Notice what good feelings arise as you picture yourself in this setting and breathe this feeling in.
Step 3. Inquire within. After you read or hear each of the following questions, close your eyes and listen inwardly for an answer. Then, open your eyes and write down the first thought, symbol, picture that comes to mind. Stay open and curious. The words and images that come may surprise you.
Repeat this process for each question, one at a time. Remember to breathe in as you read the question, then close your eyes and breathe out. Continue breathing and wait until something comes, then open your eyes and note or draw what came.
What is my purpose for living right now?
What is uniquely valuable about me?
What are my special qualities?
How does my purpose align with my company's purpose or mission statement?
What did you discover? Do this with your staff and offer them to share their answers out loud with others.