Entrepreneur magazine offered suggestions to its readers this month regarding ways they can embrace their purpose as a pathway to success.
The article, written by Michelle Van Slyke, said it was critical to hone your “mission vision” to meet your goals.
That’s a message my mentor, Kary Oberbrunner, has been preaching for years. He is convinced that clarity attracts while confusion repels.
That’s certainly true for businesses that are selling products and services to customers. If the firm doesn’t clearly understand the features and benefits of what’s offered well enough to articulate a reason to pay for it, then people aren’t likely to buy the product or service.
However, I think it goes beyond customers to include people pursuing purpose as well. If our sense of purpose, or our “why,” isn’t clear enough, it will work to repel us, too. We simply will not be motivated to get started every day, nor persevere through tough times if we can’t articulate why we are doing it.
In her article, Michelle offered four tips to develop mission vision for your purpose. They are:
1. Find your “why”
There truly are 1,000 different things we can be doing with our time on any given day. But, if we can’t express why we are choosing to do this particular thing — especially if there aren’t any rewards or benefits associated with it yet — then it will be harder to perform necessary tasks.
Michelle encourages people to ask what motivates them to get out of bed in the morning. “The answer should be motivating, inspiring and express a true reason for what you do,” she wrote.
It’s too easy to simply glide when we should be running toward a goal. Your why should be like a magnet drawing you forward and repelling other unimportant things that could attract your attention instead.
2. Be genuine.
This is what trips people up early in life. As children and teenagers we feel attracted to specific careers even though we may not understand why or even what we should do. Yet, we just feel like we were meant to do something specific.
Then, well meaning friends and relatives badger us to purpose something more “practical.” We’re told to quit dreaming, grow up and become more responsible.
So, we take a job that pays the bills, but it doesn’t suit our personality or disposition. For example, someone who is a genuine people-person who loves being outdoors will be crushed working in an office and sitting in a cubicle.
Yes, the job may pay very well, but if it doesn’t suit the individual, then every day is torture.
“Authenticity has become the gold standard for how businesses (and people) should operate, publicly and privately,” said Michelle. “Being authentic means being genuine and true to who you are. It helps establish reliability and trustworthiness, and can also inform good business decisions.”
3. Don’t be afraid to take a stance.
How many golden opportunities are dismissed, ignored or devalued out of fear of failure or, worse, fear about what other people might think?
Fear also leads to procrastination and that’s a grave where dreams and opportunities are buried.
“In an opinionated world, some believe that taking a stance, particularly political or social, could alienate certain audiences,” Michelle wrote. “However, if that position aligns with your ‘why’ and it is authentic to your spirit, then it’s worth acting upon.”
She’s right. Back when my grandparents operated a retail store and oil delivery business in the 1960s, it was considered a big no-no to express an opinion on anything. There were plenty of issues in that era for which people could express an opinion.
But, when you operate the only grocery store and heating oil delivery business in a community of 1,000 people, you probably don’t want to irritate too many current or potential customers.
On the other hand, I have already decided to take a faith-based approach to Forward From 50 even though I know it could offend and tune out a number of people.
Yet, if I truly believe that God designed people for a particular purpose, equipped them with special talents, instilled a hunger in them to develop certain skills and aligned life experiences to give them wisdom to carry out a specific assignment, then I would not be genuine to advocate from that faith-based perspective.
Take a risk. Be genuine, even it offends some people. You don’t want them dragging you down anyway. It’s more fun to run with one than to drag 12.
4. Be “always on” in effort.
Ideally, our purpose is ingrained into everything we do. It’s not something that we switch on and off. Remember the old Dunkin Donuts commercials of the 1980s? The baker begrudgingly announced when leaving his house every morning, “It’s time to make the donuts.”
That’s someone going through the motions to do a job, rather than a person fired up to pursue a specific purpose.
“No matter how seemingly small, each decision or strategy should be considered through this purpose-driven lens,” Michelle wrote. “It’s crucial to act with purpose not just when it’s advantageous to do so.”
It is very easy for people to spot those individuals who walk the walk by embracing their purpose than who simply talk the talk and give lip service to something for which they have no passion.
Like I noted earlier, when your purpose is clear, its clarity will attract people, whether they are potential customers and clients, or employees and investors.
The full story is available at www.entrepreneur.com.
If you’re struggling to achieve clarity with your sense of purpose, I’d welcome an opportunity to do some brainstorming with you. To schedule a no-obligation brainstorming session, connect with me via the Forward From 50 Facebook group or at www.forwardfrom50.com.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.