Finding your purpose and passion
Wouldn’t life be easier if you understood your purpose and passion? What if when your feet hit the floor in the morning you knew exactly what you were going to devote the day to, and knew you would love every second of it. Sounds great doesn’t it? The good news is finding your purpose and passion is possible. The bad news is that it (usually) doesn’t happen on the back of a napkin over coffee.
Today’s post is not intended to be an academic journey through all the writings of Simon Sinek, Jim Collins, Verne Harnish, and all the rest that have written about finding your purpose and passion.
Instead, this is meant to be an encouragement. I’ve spent Y-E-A-R-S working to find my own purpose and passion, and it’s still not 100% clear. The key is you have to keep working at it.
Making time / getting help
Back in 2012 we had an annual offsite meeting at CablesAndKits. It was the first of its kind for us. We went through a “system” in an effort to get clarity on how to move into the future. The offsite was based on Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and we invited Rhythm Systems, their consultancy, to join and guide us.
Part of what came out of that offsite was clarity about what motivated me personally. I/we came up with the following purpose statement for me:
“To add value by discovering and maximizing the potential of people, processes, and stuff”
I believe that if something can be faster, better, or easier to use, it probably should be. Also, I like to encourage people to grow and be the best version of themselves. I want my efforts to have value as well; I won’t work at something that no one cares about.
Deeper purpose and meaning
As the years went on and we continued to search for deeper meaning and purpose behind what we were doing as a company, we came up with another statement:
“To positively impact the lives of others”
This is a statement that represents who I am as a person, but also represents who we are at CablesAndKits. We made that our purpose statement. In short, we want to leave people better than we found them. We want to do good things for people, and to help them achieve what THEY are trying to achieve. It’s not about me, and it’s not about us. It’s about others. Doing good for others tends to return good to you – but that’s not the motivation.
More recently (the end of 2015) I was preparing for another offsite meeting by journaling and praying. I asked the Lord what He had in mind for this offsite and His words began to pour into my mind. I wrote nonstop for a minute or two. When I was done writing I read what I wrote. It was amazing, and certainly from the Lord. I numbered the points and there were 9 items, a few with sub points. I call it “the 9 things”. One of the 9 things was:
“Your purpose is to model for and inspire others in how they build and run their companies.”
Wow. Ok. It was among many other things that were also important and powerful so I didn’t fixate on this too much at the time. Over the next year as I began to study the 9 things and pray about each one, I realized more deeply the implication of this statement. I’m no David Green or Truett Cathy, but I do have a platform, and people do watch and pay attention to me. I feel that the Lord is calling me to be intentional about how I build and run my company, and that perhaps it will be a model for or inspire someone else in how they build and run theirs.
Don’t overthink it
My first thought was that I needed to figure out what biblical perfection looked like, attain it, and THEN I could model something for others. But no. I realized that how we handle the stumbles and falls are to be modeled as well. We don’t get it all right, but we certainly try!
Just the other day I realized that there is another statement that’s true about me:
“I have a passion for building systems that don’t fail.”
I love operations. In my opinion anything that is worth doing that must be done repetitively should be done so efficiently. Buying products and shipping orders are good examples. I am a fanatic when it comes to pursuit of perfection and elimination of variability in such things. I love to develop systems of processes that, if followed, ensure efficiency and predictability. I have a passion for it.
This didn’t all come at once, and I still don’t have 100% clarity on every aspect of “mission, vision, & purpose”. However, decisions are easier to make with what I DO know, and as time goes on I get more and more clarity. The key is regularly asking yourself what gets you excited, and where you would spend unlimited amounts of time and money if they were not a limitation. As you continue to seek the answers they get clearer and clearer.