Purpose

The Meaning of Purpose

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

balance-174328_150What is a life purpose and why is it important? Isn’t life intended to be simple and why not just live in the moment? I read a great little book a few years ago called The Present by Spenser Johnson. The essence of his message is that you should, Learn from the Past, Live in the Present and Plan for the Future. Wow, how profound, yet so simple?

Our purpose maybe found in our past and present but for most of us it is much more critical as it pertains to our future. Why is that? The answer is that most of us haven’t and don’t currently live with a sense of purpose. Kevin McCarthy in his book The On Purpose Person suggests that there are ways in which we can proactively “discover and accomplish” what is most important – this is purpose.

Have you ever tried the exercise of writing your own obituary? I know it sounds morbid but it is quite an amazing exercise. This helps you to consider what you wish to be remembered for. Upon venturing into such an exercise you very quickly forget all the things that you currently worry about – appearance, money, job, etc. and these become relegated very quickly. Instead family, relationships, values, adventure come to the forefront; and this is where one’s purpose truly resides.

One of the greatest ways to live your purpose is to write it down and then tell people. Often times it’s not easy and this provides a form of accountability to do what you said you would do and stick to it. Mine is “to be always there for my family, build / maintain a successful business, have lots of fun and give to others in a meaningful way” – what’s yours?

Purpose & Personal Energy

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

question-2Once clearly understood, a purpose can have quite a profound impact on moving people. It speaks to reason, it can answer the question “why” and, most importantly it very often is the real impetus behind meaningful change.

Dan Pink, in his book “To Sell Is Human”, refers to a variety of studies conducted whereby individuals who were aligned with a clearer sense of purpose out performed those who did not. He also claims that where there is a personalization attached to a purpose, it motivates people to action in a much speedier and effective manner.

Organizations, as we know, spend considerable time gaining clarity around purpose in what becomes known as their Mission Statement. However it often fails because it is typically an all encompassing set of words that most cannot relate to and more specifically, it’s not personalized. Therefore to be more effective, leaders should consider fragmenting their Mission Statement in a manner that employees can relate to. Then they are more likely to rally behind and spring into action.

Purpose can manifest in many ways. Asking why 5 times, conducting root cause analysis, asking empowering questions, providing insightful listening are all tools used to establish this key and fundamental element in the process of change.

Similarly as coaches working with individual clients, a key part of the coaching process is to establish the purpose. This very often involves a series of questions that help peel back the layers of the onion to get to the core of what really matters. Once this is established, then a different level of engagement and enthusiasm ensues; the source of personal energy. It is at this point that responsibility emerges and effective action can take place.

Purpose – Key to Successful Execution

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

alignMuch has been written on the whole subject of engagement and motivation. Its cornerstone is anchored in the idea of alignment; a connection between what is being done and what it actually means to the person. However if somebody is performing a task but doesn’t quite understand how their contribution fits into the overall objective, something is missing. This is often referred to as purpose.

Daniel Pink in his work around this subject highlights purpose as being key to performance so long in is in tandem with mastery (knowledge) of what you do and the autonomy (freedom) to carry out the task. But purpose is something that many misunderstand or it feels like this intangible that you can’t quite get your head around. But in truth, it’s the basic requirement, and in many respects, it’s the elementary price of entry. Within Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it probably belongs somewhere between love/belonging and esteem.

Let’s break down purpose into 4 simple building blocks that will help better understand its criticality. For illustrative purpose, let’s use the task of removing snow from your street, which is very apt for most New Englanders around this time. Four things need to be present to ensure the existence of purpose.

  1. Intent – it’s the what – remove the snow
  2. Consequence – it’s the why – people / cars can move freely
  3. Knowledge Required – it’s the how – ability and equipment to execute
  4. Recognition – satisfaction / reward associated with completion

Every task from the most basic to advanced must in some way include these characteristics of purpose. Think about an assignment, a project, a trip or anything that requires you to optimize your motivation level to ensure a successful outcome. Then ask yourself, what is the intent, the consequence, the knowledge required and the recognition. If you can answer all these questions satisfactorily, you have nailed the purpose and will most likely achieve a successful outcome.

Purpose

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

Once clearly understood, a purpose can have quite a profound impact on moving people.  It speaks to reason, it can answer the question “why” and, most importantly it very often is the real impetus behind meaningful change.

Dan Pink, in his book “To Sell Is Human”, refers to a variety of studies conducted whereby individuals who were aligned with a clearer sense of purpose out performed those who did not.  He also claims that where there is a personalization attached to a purpose, it motivates people to action in a much speedier and effective manner.

Organizations, as we know, spend considerable time gaining clarity around purpose in what becomes known as their Mission Statement.  However it often fails because it is typically an all encompassing set of words that most cannot relate to and more specifically, it’s not personalized.  Therefore to be more effective, leaders should consider fragmenting their Mission Statement in a manner that employees can relate to.  Then they are more likely to rally behind and spring into action.

Similarly as coaches working with clients, a key part of the coaching process is to establish the purpose.  This very often involves a series of questions that help peel back the layers of the onion to get to the core of what really matters.  Once this is established, then a different level of engagement and enthusiasm ensues.  It is at this point that responsibility emerges and effective action can take place.

Purpose can manifest in many ways.  Asking why 5 times, conducting root cause analysis, asking empowering questions, providing insightful listening are all tools used to establish this key and fundamental element in the process of change.