Without purpose you cannot lead. Purpose is the only force that can shift our leadership focus from one that’s self-serving to one that serves others. Purpose is the force that enables leaders to take a stand for what they believe, despite overwhelming resistance. Consider powerful role purpose has played in the lives of Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jnr. and many others. These leaders were powered by a purpose.
Purpose matters to leaders because of what it does for leaders. Let me explain.
1. Purpose Keeps Leaders Focused
“Until you figure out what success means to you personally and to your organisation, leadership is an almost pointless conversation” – Peter Drucker
When you’re clear about your purpose, you’re able to focus on what matters most. When purpose is clear you’re more deliberate about where you spend your time and energy.
Without purpose you’re tossed to and fro by changing circumstances. You drift from one emergency to another.
Purpose keeps you focused on what matters. As Henry David Thoreau wrote in a letter to a friend,
“It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?”
Purpose is the answer to this question. Knowing your purpose is the first step to developing industrious goals. Purpose is the leaders compass, keeping them headed in the right direction.
2. Purpose Gives Leaders Meaning
“It’s purpose that ignores your heart and stirs your passion. It’s the reason you get up in the morning.” – Viktor Frankl
Purpose matters because life is about more than making money. Purpose helps you become connected to a bigger story, beyond money, fame and power. People want to make money, but more importantly people want to make a difference in the world. Purpose is how you do both.
It’s purpose that gives you the will to live and the reason to get up in the morning. A life of purpose is filled with meaning because you’re clear about the contribution you’re making to the world.
3. Purpose Gets Leaders Motivated
“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” – Viktor Frankl
Leaders with purpose are motivated. Purpose is the most powerful source of motivation in humans. When leaders connect to a cause greater than themselves they become powerfully motivated.
Purpose taps into our emotions and provides a higher level of commitment and inspiration, much more than any external motivators, such as money, fame and power.
The German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche said it best, “He who has a why can endure any how.” Purpose is your why. Purpose gives you courage to take risks, to step out your comfort zone and step into a new, challenging future.
4. Purpose Keeps Leaders Going
Purpose keeps you going when times are tough. Purpose is what gives your the courage to persist in the face of overwhelming obstacles. Purpose fuels your perseverance.
When leaders face challenges they’re able to connect to a purpose which give you the courage to get up and fight another day.
“What man actually needs is not some tension-less state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.” – Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Purpose is what motivates leaders to solve some of lifes most challenging problems and to keeping going in spite for mounting failures and impossible odds. Purpose ignites a passion to persevere despite the difficulties.
5. Purpose Inspires Others
Leaders who live passionately on purpose inspire others. People are not motivated by the bottom line. Purpose is what taps into people’s deepest motivation. It’s purpose that inspires us to achieve great things over the long haul. Leaders know this and put purpose first.
The energy of a purpose driven and deeply committed person will attract other people – Joseph Jaworski
Leaders that place purpose at the centre of their leadership inspire others to do the same. Purpose creates powerful teams. Purposeful teams are inspired to work together towards outcomes they find meaningful.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
Without purpose you cannot lead. You drift. You lack conviction. You lack motivation. You lack Passion and You lack courage. You lack meaning.
- Is your purpose clear? Do you know why you’re leading?
There is an urgent need for more inspiring leadership. Could it be that we lack inspiring leaders because leaders lack purpose?