We often talk about our careers, our responsibilities, our duties — but what about our purpose? Why do we do what we do? The answer to this question can change the way you lead an organization.
Purpose is deeply personal, so we rarely bring it into the workplace. But if purpose is about being energized by what we do and thoroughly loving what we do, how can we not bring that to work every day?
Where are you devoting most of your time and energies? What goals are you trying to achieve? If you can clearly identify what you are working toward — the purpose behind what you are doing — chances are you are a purposeful, passionate leader. If you aren’t able to identify your purpose at work, consider these three steps to become a more purposeful, passionate leader:
1. Stop neglecting your most important stakeholder: You. We have an everyday quest to drive for results. We pour our time and energy into this quest. But, we often neglect ourselves. Take the time to reflect. You are accountable to you. Shakespeare had it right when he wrote, “To thine own self be true.” When the day ends and you have to look yourself in the mirror, do you feel good about who’s looking back?
2. Ask yourself: Why do you choose to lead? Too often, people become leaders because doing so is merely the next logical step in their careers. Many know what they want to get from the position (a new challenge, more prestige, better pay), but have a tenuous grasp on what they hope to give. They’ve got a reason to lead, but are vague about why they are leading. This won’t work. Leadership is hard work. Without a crystal clear purpose that drives you, is leading really worth the effort? Knowing why you want to lead provides a profound well of energy to draw upon.
3. Look for those who inspire you. To bring your inner vision to life, think about the leaders who have inspired you. As a young woman, I was inspired by the great women, students and teachers who came before me and with me at my college. There was a sisterhood early in my life and a purpose ingrained in each graduate. Our motto: Spelman College, A Choice to Change the World. Yes, it’s our choice. So regardless of the job I’ve had, and now, running my own company, that purpose is central to my life. It fuels me every day.
The people who live with you and work with you and for you are waiting. Find your purpose, live that purpose and find a new level of leadership in your life.