Mark Twain once said the two most important days in our life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. How true is that.
Finding out why or knowing the purpose in your life helps you to navigate with a driving force. You don't feel pulled along and feel motivated when embarking on new tasks. Though we know identifying the purpose is the crux but most of us find this exercise challenging. Recently I read an article From Purpose to Impact from Harvard Business Review and find it to be extremely enlightening. It discussed how people with a clearly defined purpose excel in leadership at work as well as in their personal life. Many would think a purpose at work will translate to achievement such as "achieving sales target monthly" etc. But the writers suggest the purpose you will be defining should identify who you are as a person and it should set you apart from the others. It is not what you do but how you do your job and why. I quote from the article "the strengths and passions you bring to the table no matter where you're seated... it's what everyone close to you recognizes as uniquely you and would miss most if you were gone."
To digress a little, the article brought me back to a campaign I've put together for a fashion brand. The campaign entitled What do people remember you for talks to women from all walks of life and which traits in them do their close ones remember them for. This is to do a self reflective exercise on how you think people perceive you and what strengths you've exhibited as a friend, family and colleague. Afterwhich, it is all linked back to a signature style this brand has.
After reading the article thrice, I decided to work on the steps it shares to find your purpose in life. You have to answer the following questions:
- What did you especially love doing when you are a child, before the world told you what you should or shouldn't like or do? Describe a moment and how it made you feel.
- Tell us about two of your most challenging life experiences. How have they shaped you?
- What do you enjoy doing in your life now that helps you sing your song.
It is also recommended to do this exercise in a small group of peers. They may help you to identify your leadership purpose.
One common finding for most people after answering the above might be their childhood dream or purpose is still pretty much alive but only locked up in a corner. It might dawn on you that you are making turns and travelling in circles just to go back where you've started.
You are supposed to craft your leadership purpose after the exercise and set 5-year goals.
And here is my leadership purpose in life
In the article, it uses president and CEO of Heineken USA Dolf van den Brink as a case study. His leadership purpose is to be the wu xia master who saves the kingdom. It reflects his love for Chinese kung fu movies, the inspiration he takes from the wise, skillful warriors in them and revels in high risk situations that compel him to take action.
Many of us might be still finding that purpose and you can start by asking yourself those questions.
Find it and rock it.
Excuse me while I put on my cheerleading costume...