Most successful entrepreneurs are unique, maybe even a little quirky, like me. We have different backgrounds, leadership styles, interests, and abilities. But there is one trait connected to business success that we all share. It’s the gift of living and working with purpose.
Why is this attribute so important? Staying on purpose fills a deep human need to do something that matters and makes a career meaningful. It means the difference between going to work day after day just treading water and thriving in a life filled with meaning and hope. It provides us with aims and goals. When a business has a reason for being, everything works better. All the pieces fit together. It gives us a purpose to get out of bed every morning.
Having a purpose is powerful. As author Dan Brown said in Inferno, “Nothing is more creative . . . nor destructive . . . than a brilliant mind with a purpose.” When you use it for good, it will help you succeed in ways you never dreamed possible.
I know personally how powerful working toward a purpose is. It took me from tragedy and loss and ultimately led me to happiness and success. Along the way I discovered these five truths about working on purpose.
You must ask yourself the right questions
Finding a purpose doesn’t just happen. Simply being unhappy isn’t the solution. You have to ask yourself the right questions.
To find your own purpose, you can ask yourself the same ones I asked myself when trying to discover my own purpose:
- What’s working and what’s not working with where I am now?
- Am I willing to change for the better, whether it’s a career change or just shaking up what I am currently doing?
- What inspires me? What am I most passionate about?
- What would working on purpose look like to me? How can I make a difference?
- What would I have to do to bring my purpose to life?
- How can I help elevate others?
You must turn the answers into a bigger plan
According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, “If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.” No, you don’t have to enthusiastically jump up and down and do somersaults. But to be happy and live with a purpose you need a bigger, overall plan to do what is exciting and satisfying to you most of the time.
For example, I have always love working with people and helping them grow their businesses and thrive. But, I wanted to do it on my own, so I set up a plan on how to get there and run my business on a purpose that made sense to me. Even though it took me outside my comfort zone (especially the presentation and public speaking parts), I set the wheels in motion first in my head and then in reality. That took me to a point where I opened Solamar, which continues to gives me excitement and satisfaction nearly every day.
Next, you have to combine your purpose with your vision
Purpose and vision are not the same.
A business purpose statement is at the core of why your company exists, the role it play. It is an accurate statement of the core business.
Vision is more of an aspiration. It’s what you want your business to achieve, and it includes your hopes and dreams.
They are different. You need both a purpose and a realistic vision to thrive.
Realize that purpose and profits can live happily together
So many new entrepreneurs tell me they want to live on purpose, yet they are afraid they can’t stay in business and make money if they do. My answer: get over it quickly or it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Your company can help people, play a meaningful role in the world, plus make a profit. But you have to understand how to grow and operate a profitable business. Read books, get the help you need and become the winning businessperson you are meant to be.
So, forget the guilt-trip stuff. Making money doing what you love to do is wonderful!
Staying on purpose takes commitment and passion
The most successful business owners are the ones who have a purpose and take their businesses seriously. Bringing a sense of purpose to your business establishes credibility. It also helps you set objectives, determine priorities, and achieve them.
That kind of commitment allows you to hyper-focus on your business. The enthusiasm spreads to everyone around you (including employees, clients, and vendors). And it keeps everyone focused for the long haul, which improves productivity and morale.
When your business has a purpose and you stick to that purpose, your team is on the same page and understands what to do and why they are doing it. It helps everyone increase engagement, inspire performance, and do the most rewarding and satisfying work.
If you’re still unsure of the importance of working and living on purpose, remember what Gautama Buddha (or simply the Buddha) said, “Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.”
Chelsea Berler, author of The Curious One, was born curious. From a young age — she felt a pull to think differently. And while she thought her differentness made life more interesting, she always felt judged for her often quirky and curious ways. Still, it was her strength and belief in herself that allowed her to come through the struggle and heartbreak of her childhood and eventually make a dent in the world she tried for so long to understand. Today, Chelsea is the CEO of a boutique, marketing agency that supports businesses around the world. But more than that, she is a champion for people who are driven to bring their talent and greatness into the world on their own terms.