5 Ways to Help you Find Your Purpose in Your BusinessApr 02, 2021
"Who are you?"
"Why are you here?"
These are two questions a coach once asked me years ago. At first, I thought they were slightly ridiculous.
"I'm Chad James, coach, I'm here to ensure my what and my how are achieved."
Oh, Man was I wrong.
We spent four hours that day JUST talking about these questions and probably hundreds of hours over the next seven years.
These conversations became the MOST VALUABLE conversations of my entire experience with Gary.
Fast forward to the present day, I find myself asking these very same questions over and over again to my clients even after we've spent many months or even years together.
These two simple questions are THE MOST IMPORTANT questions for my clients to return to throughout their careers and lives.
The answers are the compass for everything that they do.
In one of the most popular TED Talks of all time, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” and later his bestselling book, "Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action," the author and researcher Simon Sinek states the following:
“People don't buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”
In his book and TED Talk, he introduces the concept of “The Golden Circle," an attempt to explain why some people and organizations are particularly able to inspire others and differentiate themselves successfully.
The neuroscience behind the "Golden Circle" idea is that humans respond best when messages communicate with those parts of their brain that control emotions, behavior, and decision-making.
It looks like this:
The WHAT is the products or services that your organization provides. It’s the outcome of your efforts.
These are the things that make your business special or unique and set your business apart from your competition. This is your process.
This is your purpose. Very, very few of us have articulated WHY we do what we do. The simple explanation usually is something such as, “I do this to make money,” or, “I like plumbing,” but making money is never the purpose of business, it’s simply a requirement. Liking something is rarely a reason to commit such massive time and financial resources to anything.
Your WHY is the very reason that your business exists. When you can define your WHY in a way that makes your heart sing, then you can define the “soul” of your organization.
Your WHY is what YOU and YOUR COMPANY stand for. It’s more than just your products and services.
5 Questions To Find Your “Why”
Here are five questions that you can ask yourself to help find the "sweet spot" that sits in the intersection between what you care about, what you can contribute, and what will be valued most.
1.) Beyond money, why did you REALLY choose the path of entrepreneurship?
I believe that making money isn’t the purpose of business, it’s simply a requirement. When you started your business you had other reasons to do so — what were they?
Was it that you wanted the freedom commonly associated with entrepreneurship?
Did you believe that you had a solution to one of the great problems of our times?
Perhaps there was/is a change that you want to see in the world? What is it?
You must DIVE DEEP to answer this question. It’s probably not just sitting on the surface waiting for you to pluck it off with a net.
Why are you REALLY doing this?
2.) What makes you feel ALIVE?
It would be easy to ask, “What inspires you?"
But that could be anything.
If we go a bit deeper, we discover that the word inspire comes from Latin, meaning “to breathe life into.” Accordingly, when you are working toward things that inspire you, it literally makes you feel more alive.
What makes you come alive?
What is the thing that makes you feel like your endeavors aren’t just about you, but about something BIGGER than you?
It’s about connecting with what you’re passionate about, knowing that when you focus your attention on endeavors that put a fire in your belly, you grow your impact and influence in ways that nothing else can.
3.) What do you hope to help others accomplish?
As solitary and isolating as entrepreneurship can be, very few entrepreneurs started their businesses for the sole purpose of making JUST themselves successful. Most of us inherent need to help others, and in the entrepreneur’s case, this can be a driving force behind WHY one chooses to pursue entrepreneurship.
Unlike traditional employment, which focuses on individual contribution, business ownership is imbued with the explicit REQUIREMENT of helping others achieve their goals. This doesn’t just include considering the goals of our clients and customers, but also the goals of our employees, our partners, and our loved ones.
4.) What are your natural strengths?
When our natural talents and skills meet our personal passion, Sir Ken Robinson defines this as being, “in our element.”
When people are in their element, they are not only more productive, but they add more value and enjoy more personal and professional fulfillment.
Mihail Csikszentmihalyi talks about a concept called FLOW — a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. It is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.
What is that thing or things that you have always been good at, even wondering why others seem to find it so hard?
What seems EASY to you in such a way that doing it is so simple and natural to you that you don’t even have to think about it?
5.) How will you measure your life?
Death is inevitable. As you near the end of life, you will naturally look back on your years and determine if you lived the life that you always imagined.
Of course, there will be regrets, and areas of your life that you feel that you could have done better, but if you spend the time NOW considering how you will measure your life at its end, you will be clearer on just what it is that you should include in your life moving forward and what you should eliminate because it ceases to move your toward your final goal.
Ultimately, living with purpose means focusing on things that matter most. Ironically, the things that matter most are rarely, “things.”
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