Living with purpose may not be the first thing you thought of when the ball dropped in 2022—a new year ushers in new business metrics, financial goals, and growth targets for many businesses. The results of life in 2021 became codified into reports.
Beyond the numbers is the heart and soul of your company– your people. And if you are leading a company or any part of it, people look to you as a standard. Will you model what's needed? Will others accuse you of living on purpose instead of by default?
There is a fundamental element of succeeding in business that may not be top of mind for you. You want to blitz past your competitors, but you need a clear vision of why you're investing yourself in your business. What makes you leap out of bed in the morning, raring to go? What fires you up, and what gets everyone else moving in your direction?
If it's unclear how you can impact your firm by living with purpose, consider these benefits identified by experts.
1. Living With Purpose Helps You Stay in the Game
Being an entrepreneur demands determination, grit, and persistence. No one will pretend that success is a walk in the park. You have rosy visions of success when you first start, but they seem slightly out of your grasp.
But as all company owners know, unforeseen circumstances, hold-ups, and setbacks are all part of the deal, and you have to learn to roll with the punches as you chase success.
Knowing you're in the Game helps you hang on. Purpose gives you clarity and motivation, no matter what happens.
As you examine your purpose, look at how they align with the organization you lead. What are the core values of the company? What stories do you tell that reinforce these values?
2. Leading with Purpose Promotes Excellence.
If you know your life's purpose, you'll want to give it your best shot every day. You'll want to surround yourself with the best people, get the best advice, and make the best decisions for your firm. When you live on purpose, your team knows you bring meaning to your work, and they sense a difference from someone who is simply clocking their time.
When you know you're in it for the long haul, clarity of purpose means you make decisions not for short-term gain but as an investment in the future. You promote excellence because it is at the core of your life.
What's more, purpose-driven employees are happier, healthier, and more engaged in their work. These involved employees refer others like them to your company, and they are more productive.
3. Your Purpose Can Inspire Others to do the right things
Knowing and living your purpose makes for robust and inspiring leadership. People are attracted to work for someone who has a vision and isn't afraid to go for it.
Living with purpose means you will act with integrity, in alignment with your values. It inspires trust, respect, and confidence. That's what people look for in a leader, in a mentor.
An example of purpose-driven leadership exists in the tragedy of the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11th, 2001. Sandler O'Neill was a small company with a tight-knit culture. On that day, one-third of their corporate family served their last day at work as the towers tumbled. The devastation was monumental. Sandler lost their workforce, customer records, infrastructure, and history. This small company takes the art of showing up to a whole new level.
The CEO decided to go to every employee's funeral. His partners followed. Sandler also paid for deceased employees' salaries through 2001. Right about this time twenty years ago, they approached the CFO with the plan to continue payment to these families for all of 2002. An entire year's salary would be paid to the families, even though employees would not contribute to the bottom line. The CFO thought this was not the right fiduciary move for the business and offered to buy any partner out of the firm. This move spelled rough times, hard work, and sacrifice ahead. Not one partner opted to take the easy road.
4. Helping your team find their purpose increases engagement
If you have not noticed, COVID made employees rethink their relationships with employers. According to a Department of Labor report, as the Great Resignation continues into 2022, 3% of workers voluntarily exited their jobs in November. Workers were not engaged, unhappy with the demands expected of them during the pandemic with little consideration for the sacrifices they made. Some industries like healthcare are experiencing nothing short of a labor crisis as droves change careers and leave for better conditions.
You can't mandate your employees to find purpose and meaning in work. However, you can reinforce strategic priorities and set a vision for WHY they are essential, and complement its values.
Talk is cheap, and action matters to help your team find their purpose. While many have upheld that people should bring their authenticity to work, they check to see if you mean it. If it's just lip service, expect to spend lots of time replacing key talent in 2022.
Engage your employees to bring their best by helping them identify and promote their strengths. Reinforce the observable behaviors that align with your company values. Give praise often, and check down on any biases you are a leader bring to the table. Elon Musk recently shared a tweet on the 50 ways we adopt preference in our daily thinking. If all leaders learned how to see others for their best potential, what would the impacts be in terms of employee engagement?
5. Clear Purpose Will attract clients
Employees are not the only people attracted by purposeful leadership. Your current and potential clients are looking for someone they can trust. Think about why you choose the business you select. What is it about them that makes you part with your hard-earned cash? Most likely, you trust them. And why do clients trust businesses? Because they live their values, their purpose. You know you can depend on them to deliver what you want when you want. And that's the first step in building a robust and loyal client/business relationship.
Bestselling author Simon Sinek shared how great leaders inspire action. He drew three concentric circles, dubbed the “Golden Circle,” and placed WHY at the center. At the outer edges where WHAT a company does (i.e., We make widgets) and HOW they do it (we make widgets with more quality).
Communicate WHY you do WHAT you do. Your purpose will be the best advertising to help lead your company into the future.
6. You help others live their purpose by empowering them
Living your purpose can help you as you help others. One excellent tip I have for my family and the teams I lead is whenever life and work seem harsh. Then you need to help in service to help others. In serving others, you will not only see needs that need solving, but you will also identify your weaknesses and become better at delivering services to your community. It's as simple as that.
Empowering people to solve their problems and telling you about the process they are in is a meaningful way to give them more purpose. Challenge them to adopt a “passion project” that is difficult. When you empower others, they begin a path of self-reflection that leads to personal and business benefits for life.
7. Gratitude becomes an essential part of your life
Living on purpose brings you more joy than gratitude. When gratitude arose before your desires, it made you feel comfortable living in the moment and enjoying the relationships you have with your family. When one has a purpose, the person acknowledges their needs and desires and makes it a daily habit to get away from the stuff that is lacking.
8. You develop more empathy for others
When you live your life deliberately with purpose, you can see how some live their life haphazardly, by default. How could you add real value to their life and career? The solution is to provide a positive direction toward their goals. Don't simply focus on their professional goals, but address their whole life.
Empathy is seeing people where they are in life, not just at work. Help your people focus on what will bring them joy, happiness, and meaning. Do they want to save money for a new house but lack the steps needed to get them to their goal. Now imagine how committed they will be if you help them get into the home of their dreams.
9. You are more aligned with your career
When you don't align yourself with purpose, you'll be unable to translate what you do best into a vibrant career. Success is achieved from inside before it shows up externally. Follow your passion, leading you to contribute more authentically at work.
10. You gain clarity about the future despite uncertainty
Uncertainties always have an important place in our lives. Often we realize unspoken potentials at these moments. Regardless of the life purposefully lived, uncertainty can be a stepping stone to achieving broader goals.
I've faced uncertainties that have surfaced clear direction for the future. You can only address it head-on when you are in the moment and face uncertainty. As you move, you discover new things about the situation and yourself. Sitting on the sidelines risks nothing in life and your growth. With knowledge is power.