Article #2 of the 12 Ps Series. Read #1 here.
When you know what you want, you know your purpose.
Last week I wrote about passion. And when you are clear about your passion, your purpose isn’t far behind.
In last week’s Star Trek episode there was a character subplot about purpose. Hemmer, the engineer, articulated his purpose:
“To fix what is broken.”
I love that because it’s so simple.
But when I ask people what their business purpose is, they almost always make it way too complicated. Such as…
“My business purpose is to facilitate the positive interaction with leaders and employees so that they realize positive outcomes. And I do that by applying coactive coaching and non-violent communication.”
OK, this is about as bad as it gets. But it’s very common.
All this does is confuse people. Yourself included.
If you can’t articulate your purpose like Hemmer, you are dead in the water.
You can boil it down to something much simpler:
“I help business teams work together productively.”
Mine has always been pretty simple:
“I help self-employed professionals attract more clients.”
So, let’s go back to passion.
The underlying passion for both of these is helping people. And that’s definitely true for me. You as well?
So, to turn your passion into a purpose, all you need to do is say who you help and what you help them with.
By the way, your purpose is NOT a marketing message.
Yes, it can be crafted into a marketing message, but when we do that we often end up with an abomination like the ridiculously complicated one I outlined above.
No, your purpose is a very simple statement of what your life is about, how you help, or how you make a difference.
But why is articulating your business purpose so important?
Because with a clear business purpose you are now pointed in the right direction.
As long as I’m doing work that helps self-employed people attract clients, I know I’m doing that which fulfills my purpose.
And when you are pointed in the right direction, your choices are easier and simpler.
You simply have to ask, “Is this idea, project, or plan “on purpose” for me or not?
And if you are clear on your purpose, you instantly have an answer.
It doesn’t mean you must act on every idea you have that’s in the direction of your purpose, but it sure helps you say no to all the things that are not aligned with your purpose.
Should you have just one purpose?
No, you can have a lot of purposes in many different domains of life.
You can have as many purposes as you have passions.
For instance, I am passionate about teaching and coaching, passionate about music and movies, passionate about my dogs, and many other things.
So, for each of these, I have a purpose.
For instance, when it comes to my dogs, my purpose is simply to spend quality time with my dogs.
With music and movies, it’s to listen to the music and watch the movies that I love the best.
Living with purpose doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, it should be very simple.
Start with what you’re passionate about, what you love, and what you enjoy.
Then find purposes that fulfill your passions.
Purposes in your business, work, marriage, family, recreation, health, community – whatever’s important to you.
There are no purposes that you “should have.”
A purpose isn’t about impressing anyone or being better than someone.
It’s simply about fulfilling your true passions.
So, what are your purposes in life?
Write them down and keep them very simple.
Ultimately, your purposes become your “true north,” that which always points you in the right direction and keeps you moving towards what you truly want in your heart of hearts.
And the next time someone asks you what you do, articulate your business purpose in very simple words, minus the marketing-ese.
And people will get it. They will finally know what you’re about.
And the more people who know your purpose, the more energy there is pushing you in the right direction.