I recently had the opportunity to complete the empowering Women Rising course offered by Microsoft, which proved to be an invaluable experience. This insightful program focused on individual growth, shifting the emphasis from what one can contribute to organizations, family, and friends to personal development. The course’s initial lesson centered around creating a life vision—a reflection on how we want to live, the legacy we aspire to leave, and the values we stand for. By embracing these principles, we can apply them to various aspects of our lives, achieving fulfillment and inspiring those around us.
Inspiring Stories of Purpose
During a recent book launch event, I encountered an extraordinary tale of resilience and purpose. The story revolved around a cyclist who was told that he would never ride again after suffering a devastating accident that nearly claimed his life. Remarkably, he defied the odds, embarking on a transformative journey. Confronted with the reality that his life lacked purpose and legacy, he chose to make a profound change. Now, he cycles to raise funds for children, surpassing his cycling goals and generating millions for charity. His story highlights the unique nature of purpose, its varying meanings to different individuals, and the profound joy that comes from living a life aligned with one’s vision.
The Power of Purpose
Simon Sinek’s influential work, “Start with your why,” emphasizes the importance of leaders inspiring action by focusing on the underlying purpose rather than the products or services they offer. In essence, our life vision represents the “why” of our existence—the meaning and purpose behind our actions. Understanding and embracing our purpose keeps us motivated, invigorated, and excited about life. It provides the necessary direction to transform our vision into reality, driving us to act in alignment with our true selves.
Infusing Purpose in the Work Environment
To create a purpose-driven work environment, we must strive to cultivate meaning in our teams and organizations. When individuals find purpose and meaning in their work, they become happier, more inspired, productive, and deeply engaged with their peers. Creating a work-life vision involves establishing an organizational or team culture that resonates with staff, guiding them in their interactions, decision-making processes, goal-setting, and procedures. As managers, we must harness and manage the energy of our team members to bring out their best.
Strategies for Cultivating Vision and Purpose
- Clarity: Achieving crystal-clear clarity about what we want and what we don’t want is crucial. As a team or leadership group, it is essential to plan meticulously, identify critical goals and non-negotiables, and break them down into specific objectives and targets. Effective communication of the plan, along with a well-defined roadmap, ensures that everyone understands and is aligned with the organization’s purpose.
- Passion: Encouraging individuals to discover what brings them passion and excitement is paramount. By identifying and leveraging these driving forces, we can foster encouragement within the team, creating a collective motivation toward the shared vision.
- Creativity: Cultivate an environment that embraces fun, creativity, resilience, optimism, and continuous learning. Encourage a culture of fun, where individuals are not afraid to take risks, learn from failures, and innovate. Provide resources, training, and mentorship opportunities to support personal and professional growth.
- Action: Purpose comes to life through action. Develop actionable steps and short-term goals that move individuals and the team closer to their purpose. Encourage initiative, ownership, and accountability, celebrating milestones and successes along the way.
We create purpose through our actions and by showing up every day. Remember the story of when President John F. Kennedy visited NASA for the first time. During his tour of the facility, he met a janitor who was carrying a broom down the hallway. The President then casually asked the janitor what he did for NASA, and the janitor replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”
Clear vision, clear role, and common objectives create a clear purpose.