We all want to have a meaningful, productive life, but we’re barraged with demands from different directions. Today’s meh2YEAH Nugget gives you a simple tool to prioritize what you focus on right now.
What does it take to find your passion and follow it? And how do you uncover opportunities in a highly competitive field? Discover how Lisa Drader-Murphy charted her course in today’s From “meh” to YEAH! Pro-File.
Purpose is the raison d’etre for you as an individual, or for your organization. It’s your true north.
It needs to be stated in simple, plain English in a way that people can connect to and be excited about. And there are 3 letters that can elevate them to even greater power.
Let’s start with organizational shared purpose – the same principle applies to personal and shared purpose. In yesterday’s post, I quoted this HBR article that said that corporate shared purpose exists “to inspire your staff to do good work for you, find a way to express the organization’s impact on the lives of customers, clients, students, patients — whomever you’re trying to serve. Make them feel it.”
So what are some actual examples?
Here is ING‘s purpose: “Empowering people to stay a step ahead in life and in business”
And Southwest Airline‘s: “To connect People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.”
And Kellogg’s: “Nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive”
The only modifications I’d make to these is to start the Southwest purpose with a gerund (ending in ‘ing’) rather than ‘to do something’. That is, to say ‘connecting People to…’, not ‘to connect People to’.
Well, our brains work in pictures, not words. For example, if I asked you how many windows are in your home, how would you get your answer? You’d visualize it and walk through your home.
Well, if you say ‘to connect’, your brain makes a still picture to represent the words. If you say ‘connecting’, you create a movie in your mind’s eye, and a movie is far more compelling than a simple picture.
Similarly, when I work with my clients on connecting with their inner core purpose on a personal level, I it usually comes down to a couple of words, and I challenge my clients to transform the first word into a gerund. Thus, instead of saying that their purpose is ‘to help others’ or ‘to make connections’ or ‘to heal conflict’, I challenge them to play with ‘helping others’, ‘making connections’ or ‘healing conflict’.
In over a quarter of a century of doing this work, every single person has found the gerund version much more compelling. And at its heart, it’s not the words that are important – it’s the connection to the inner feeling of purpose. The words are simply the label – or the key to unlock all of that.
Whether you’re talking about your business or your personal life, there’s one common ingredient to success most people miss. Everyone focuses on what they do – not on the why.
How many organizations have mission statements that are perfectly suited to put an insomniac to sleep? “We strive to be a world class provider of (insert business here) pursuing excellence and always putting our people and customers first” Yawn.
How many of you focus on goals or your next career move and have to work like crazy to motivate yourself and drive yourself to get everything done to accomplish that, burning out any passion or joy along the journey?
Both of those approaches, whether corporate or personal, are focused on what you do, not why. What you do has no passion, no drive, no motivation in and of itself. That’s why you have to motivate yourself or your team or your organization.
So how do you do anything differently? Well here’s a revolutionary thought. What if you started with your motivation, your raison d’etre, and then drawing your goals from there so your motivation, and the drive of your team in an organization are implicitly built in to whatever situation arises?
It sounds pretty radical, but if you look at the organizations that are most successful, they are the ones that focus on their purpose first, not on what they do. Same with people. The ones who consistently live fuller and more meaningful lives are those who live on-purpose.
Purpose is not just about you, whether you’re talking about yourself or your organization – it’s about how you make a difference in the world. That’s something that can set you on fire for your personal purpose. It’s also something that can set everyone in your organization alight when you’re talking about organizational purpose.
Purpose is not mission or vision. As detailed in this HBR article, purpose exists to inspire your staff to do good work for you, find a way to express the organization’s impact on the lives of customers, clients, students, patients — whomever you’re trying to serve. Make them feel it.
The evolution of mission into more purpose-ful organizations is illustrated in this article, showing how organizations transformed their business by focusing on helping first, and selling second. Mission statements are usually very insular, looking inward, and have the motivational power of going for a root canal. Purpose statements are simple (in plain English, not vision-speak) and focus on why you do what you do.
In a similar way, personal purpose needs to be a simple statement that gets to the why of all of your life, not just your work.
Welcome to the blog for From “meh” to YEAH! This has actually been 25 years in the making.
2017 is the 25th anniversary for Chrysalis Strategies, and for 25 years I’ve worked to describe and bring together the work we do both for organizations and for individuals. And it was just a couple of weeks ago that I had the breakthrough that really brought it all together.
One of my favourite articles is called “F*ck Yes or No” by Mark Manson. It’s about relationships, but I think it’s relevant to all of life. In this article, Manson says that if you’re in a relationship that’s kind of waffling, where you don’t know where it’s going or how you (or the other person) feels, then you should just leave it. Basically, if you don’t have a “F*ck, Yeah!” that you want to be in that relationship (and if your partner doesn’t have that either), then there’s no point.
One of the things that sets our work at Chrysalis apart is that it comes from purpose. Yes, we do strategic planning for organizations, yes we help people strategically plan their own lives, and yes we create engaging, powerful meetings that produce results, but all of it starts from purpose.
What’s the core inner sense of purpose for an individual, and what’s the shared purpose for an organization or a meeting or conference? From that point what you do is shaped by the purpose building the motivation in. Why waste time motivating yourself after the fact?
The challenge for most people and organizations is that they have no clear sense of purpose, no focus, no true north, so they run desperately from deadline to commitment, juggling more than they can truly handle. At worst, these lives and workplaces are stressful and exhausting and dis-engaging. At best they’re “meh” with occasional times of joy and fun.
By starting with purpose, by starting with the why, and by engaging all key players in organizational settings (and addressing all areas of your life personally), we build the motivation in, so your passion, your engagement, your focus are built in to produce lasting results – a Hell, Yeah! (or F*ck, Yeah! if you’d rather)
That was the blinding flash of the obvious that came to me a couple of weeks ago – what we do, in all our work with organizations, with individuals, with meetings is help you go from “meh” to YEAH!
And that only took 25 years. 🙂
This blog will focus on this them, bringing you tools to cut down the “meh” and get a little more YEAH! in your lives and in your workplaces. I’m also launching a new online show that will provide some key tips as well as interviews with people who’ve gone from “meh” to YEAH! to find out how they were able to make that happen so we can all do it better. These shows will be included in blog posting here, so if you subscribe now, you’ll get access to it all right here.
Join me on the journey to YEAH!