The greatest tragedy in life is not death but a life without purpose. —Dr Myles Munroe
Purpose is increasingly being called the key to navigating this uncertain world we live in today. To have purpose is to give meaning to the goals we are striving to achieve. Your leadership purpose is the essence of who you are. You cannot achieve the goals that you have until you can establish your “WHY” factor. It’s your reason for doing what you are doing. “Why do I want to lead?” ”What’s the purpose of my leadership?” Research States that fewer than 20% of leaders have a strong sense of their individual purpose.
Why do I want to lead?
The “5 Whys” technique can be very helpful in getting to the root of what you truly desire. Make a chain of “Why?” questions. You ask yourself why you want to achieve a particular goal. Continue with “Why?” on each answer at least five times. Eventually, you will end up with your real motives and the deeper value behind your wishes. We can never know for sure the motives of others, but we can only work on ourselves and model the right way for others, leading by example.
My leadership purpose is _______.” It’s your personal mission statement. A purpose rises from your entity and is informed by the society’s needs. My leadership purpose ultimately comes from a desire to help others. This desire was formed quite early in my childhood. I was raised by my mother, a single parent together with my five other siblings. Things were incredibly difficult, and when my mother could no longer make ends meet, she sought help from the church. Thank God for their assistance. They provided food, clothing and even paid for my after school lessons. I often say I am a product of people giving back. I could not be where I am today without the help and support of others. Therefore, I use my leadership influence to inspire my team as well as bring awareness and support to the charitable needs of the community.
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” —Nelson Henderson,
What I am I passionate about?
It’s important to identify your values, and passions and strengths; those pursuits that invigorate you and bring you joy. All to be guided towards a greater purpose. Your leadership purpose is who you are and what you’re here to accomplish. There is some area of life you are meant to make a positive impact and complete that assignment. When you find your purpose, it will be easy to pursue even when faced with obstacles. It is something that even if you don’t receive any money for, you will still continue doing. It will bring you great fulfilment. You must also have the ability to identify and reflect on what you stand for, what your values are, and what matters most to you, then it becomes much easier to know what to do in any given situation.
Do I challenge followers to become even better?
Often people who rise to the level of leadership will seize the opportunity to serve themselves without thinking of the people they are leading. One of the main characteristics of purpose-driven leadership is the conviction that the well-being of people is the end of leadership and not that people are the means to the leader’s goals. Their focus is on people. They find fulfilment in adding value to the people they lead. Purpose-driven leaders always consider, “how can this benefit the group?” They believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as employees. As such, they are deeply committed to the personal and professional growth of individuals within the organization.They keep the goal in hindsight while focusing on their team. They help others achieve their goals. They are about bringing people together who would work for the common goal. Such leaders focus on making more leaders. They train and equip followers to continue the mission so even if they are not there, the work will go on. They raise up a strong team who are highly capable and they rest assured the vision does not die with them.
What is the impact of my leadership on the Community?
Purpose-driven leaders are always on the alert for the next field of service. They work towards building a more sustainable future. Our world doesn’t need more numbers centred leaders, but purpose-driven leaders who can help solve real-world problems. Purpose driven leaders seek to understand the realities of the present and the likely consequence of a decision in the future. We need leaders who see the big picture and understand the importance of making contributions to building a better world. They make a positive impact which is not only felt in the present but also in the future. A profitable multi-national corporation boasted of high profits in the local newspapers. Yet only four blocks away a woman and her 4-year-old cancer-stricken daughter lived in deplorable conditions. Is this true success? We can’t save everybody, but we can make a great impact by doing what we can, even if it is only in a small way.
“Perhaps the ultimate test of a leader is not what you are able to do in the here and now – but instead what continues to grow long after you’re gone” —Tom Rath.
What do I want to be known for?
Thinking about our legacy helps us decide the kind of life we want to live and the heritage we want to leave behind. It means developing and passing on a timeless part of ourselves. The idea of leaving something meaningful behind that will live forever is appealing. We all hope to be remembered in some way after we’re gone, to have what we’ve done and held dear to live on after us. We also want to feel that our lives matter and in the vast sea of humanity we could leave footprints. Most of us will not be a Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi with our name and achievements remembered forever in the history books. In reality, if you don’t pass on your life experience by leaving a legacy, the wisdom you’ve gained will disappear after you leave this earth. The important question we should ask ourselves is, “what kind of world do I want to live in, and what can I do to make this happen so that a 100 or 200 years from now this world will be a better place not just for my descendants but for all.”