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Leadership Personal growth

The 7 powers of purpose

Bumped into this great list by Dan Rockwell (of the Leadership Freak fame) the other day that talks about the seven powers of having a purpose. From my experience, a leader without a purpose is essentially like a ship without a rudder — directionless. 

Here are the seven powerful things having a purpose can offer you: 

1. Grit. A leader with sense has reason to fight through adversity. “If we possess our why of life, we can put up with almost anyhow.” Nietzsche

The purpose is what fuels leaders. It’s what pushes them to do what they do every single day. 

2. Effective choices. Any choice will do when you don’t have a purpose.

As Zig Ziglar would say, “do you want to be a wandering generality or a meaningful specific?” And being specific is all about making a choice. 

3. Boundaries. Say yes to the purpose so you can say no to distraction.

Having a clearly defined purpose helps you determine what’s important and what’s not. 

4. Meaning. Purpose identifies contribution. Contribution defines meaning.

Why do you do what you do? It’s probably the most potent question a leader can ask. And the answer can direct you to take massive action that leads you to fulfill your purpose. 

5. Evaluation. Perhaps our discomfort with purpose is it creates a standard for self-evaluation.

Ha! Gotcha! People hate being judged — by others and themselves. And having a purpose forces one to set the bar higher, which means they will have to work extra hard to meet their expectations. That’s hard work most people don’t want to commit to. 

6. Fulfillment. A person without purpose replaces meaningful action with trivial pleasure.

Somewhat similar to #4 and #5 above. Not having a purpose essentially means you’re coasting through your life. And all that adds up to wasted time, money, and energy. 

7. Belonging. Purpose justifies your place at the table.

Everyone wants to be a leader, but nobody wants to lead because they’re all obsessed with position authority. But that’s to be earned by your thoughts, actions, and the results that you’ve delivered. None of which can happen if you don’t have a clear purpose in life.

Share this with someone who’s got the potential but is missing the mark. Even better, share Dan’s original post on his site.