Why are you doing what you’re doing?
Have you ever stopped to think about the answer to this question?
If you’re reading this post, you’re probably a leader looking for answers.
As a founder of many businesses and a leadership coach, I’ve forced myself to look at the question and learn how it’s impacted leadership. I’ve worked with dozens and hundreds of businesses to help them with this question as well.
I’ve learned two important things in the process:
- The answers often lie in asking the right questions.
- All effective leaders are able to articulate and believe in their purpose and its impact on leadership.
Finding purpose and being in your purpose is essential for powerful leadership. There are 8 steps to finding your purpose and letting it guide your actions:
- Quandary – Why am I here?
- Reframe Your Questions
- Behavior Inventory
- Look at your service
- Energy Add and Life Sucker Task List
- Honoring your purpose VS. Being in purpose
- Create Death Exercise
- Craft your statement of purpose
Friends, this is a big one today, but don’t get lost in the weeds. Let’s dive in to find your purpose and its impact on leadership.
Impact Through Purpose
Purpose is one of those topics that feels more like something a philosopher will write essays and stories about than what a leader focuses on.
But, friends, nothing could be further from the truth.
By asking ourselves the hard questions and learning from the self-reflective process, we learn about who we are as a person and as a leader.
Why even bother with purpose at all?
I do a lot of work with business leaders of all paths, and one of the common elements all successful business leaders have is a defined purpose that lines up with their personality.
What is the purpose?
Purpose is the reason you do something. It’s the reason why you think you exist.
These are the questions we’re asking ourselves today on this brief journey to learning more about ourselves.
Ahead we’ll dig into my process, but for a brief moment consider the following questions and ideas:
Why are you doing what you’re doing?
You might be someone passionate about your service industry, or maybe you just fell into the job.
Some of you may have started as part of the family business.
Maybe you picked up skills in the military or trade school and now you’re in this position.
There’s no right or wrong answer here, but take time to think about it.
If you could do life all over again, would you change your job?
I’m not saying you need to, but the honest answers may tell you to change your purpose.
The good news is you don’t have to change a whole career to meet a new purpose.
How does your purpose affect how you lead? How does your purpose impact your ability to lead others?
Look at how your purpose or lack thereof may affect your leadership or lifestyle.
The connection may surprise you.
What would happen if the reason you got into the business changed or went away?
Times change and things change all the time.
Learn about how to better handle change as a leader.
If you started in your field because your family wanted you to, what would you do if your family no longer pressured you into it?
If your service field changed from what you originally loved, how do you think you would handle that?
What if you changed as a person?
Hopefully, we’re always growing and changing. The person you were 10 years ago is probably not the person you are now.
And your purpose may be affected without you realizing it.
The disconnect between your purpose and how you act causes problems and affects your ability to lead.
I’ve been on this Earth for 50 years friends, and I think I’ve lived 3 or 4 different lives at this point.
I’ve changed, and so has my purpose.
When I start to notice my leadership become listless and I do things because that’s what I’m “supposed to do”, I take a good hard look at myself and my purpose using the following steps.
8 Steps To Find Your Purpose And Impact Your Leadership Positively
I’ve made myself an expert on helping others find their primary purpose in their leadership. This is a simplified version of my award-winning coaching and speaking topic on purpose.
For the full piece, click below to schedule a consultation with me.
#1 Quandary – Why am I here?
Don’t answer this just in the context of work, but try to answer why you think you exist on this Earth.
The answer is hard for most people (all people, really). This is a question philosophers have tried to answer for thousands of years.
You don’t need to have a single answer, but try to put something down on paper.
What are you here?
Without getting too frustrated, put something down, and then let’s reframe the questions into something a little easier below.
#2 Reframe Your Questions
Think more specifically now on the answers to these questions:
- What am I doing here?
- How do I go about things?
- Who am I spending my time with?
Looking at these specific answers will end up giving you an insight into what you’re doing with yourself.
Don’t try to guide the answers, be honest. No one has to see them but you, and no one is judging.
#3 Behavior Inventory
List behaviors and things you do on a regular basis inside and outside of work.
From this list, mark the ones that give you joy and fulfillment in your life.
These are your hints about what your purpose should be.
#4 Look at your service
Look at the service you provide to the world and other people in your behaviors.
It doesn’t have to be actual community service like volunteering at a food bank or working at a homeless shelter (though these are awesome things).
Think about your industry. What about your industry fulfills you and provides a service to others?
We make a positive impact in our businesses and help people by providing great service and good lives for our team mate. This may be what your purpose is.
Not every leader in the exact same industry or exact same position will have the same purpose.
My wife and I have been married, but it wasn’t our calling or service to have kids.
We find purpose in our marriage and service to each other.
I’ve been more than blessed to have Christy as a partner, but it doesn’t just happen.
It’s work, and we work at it.
We’re two different, and part of our purpose, our service, is to build a strong marriage.
Another part of what fulfills me is helping leaders lead better in their businesses. I don’t have to do this, but I love it.
Look at your life. What do you love that helps others?
#5 Energy Add and Life Sucker Task List
Make a list of the tasks you have to do in your life, but focus more on work for this one.
On this list of tasks, label them as either “energy-adders” or “life-suckers”.
Energy adding tasks are ones you get excited to do.
For me, it’s studying and analyzing the data from spreadsheets and the like to make better business decisions.
Life suckers are the ones you do because you think you’re “supposed” to, but you hate them every time they come up.
For me, it’s making spreadsheets and programming them to collect the data.
Your purpose won’t ask you to do things you hate. Someone else has this purpose.
A good leader knows how to help everyone find their purpose and work most effectively.
#6 Honoring your purpose VS. Being in purpose
The majority of leaders, including yourselves, want to do a good job for their company, clients, and team mates.
But when you think about what your job is supposed to be, do you find yourself carrying out tasks you’ve “got to” do them?
This is a problem.
You probably have an idea already of what your job or leadership position should be. You may even be able to clearly state the purpose of the position.
So you work on each task with your head held high. You are honoring your purpose.
This is fine for most people, but let me offer an alternative.
What if instead, you find your own personal purpose that marries your personality and your position into one piece.
Now, when you work on tasks, you’re not doing it to honor a purpose; you’re just living the purpose.
Live every aspect of your life as if it’s on purpose, and your life will be your purpose.
Don’t do it because you have to or because you’re supposed to. Do it because it’s just what you do.
Think about how you live, how you act, and how you speak. Let your purpose become a part of who you are and watch how it guides your actions.
#7 Create Death Exercise
This one sounds a little dark, but it makes a huge impact on most people.
For me, this was a turning point when thinking about my purpose in life and in business.
The idea of this death exercise comes from my time spent with Michael Gerber and the E-Myth.
Learn about Michael Gerber.
In the early 2000s, I worked with Michael and earned certification as an E-Myth consultant.
During this process, he asked me to craft my own eulogy.
It’s dark, but death is a reality. Spending some time thinking about it actually inspires insight into one’s purpose.
But, as the saying goes:
To this end, let’s look at 3 steps:
- Imagine your death
- Visualize your funeral
- Craft your own eulogy
What will it say at this point in your life?
What do you want it to say?
Honest digging and reflecting are essential at this point. Don’t give up because it’s getting hard: you’re at the breakthrough point.
#8 Craft your statement of purpose
This is where the magic happens.
In my training and worksheets, there is a whole specific guide for this step, but here’s what you need to do in short.
Look at all you’ve written down from steps 1-7.
Circle keywords and ideas you see happening over and over again.
Pay attention to the themes of your life.
Write these words and ideas down.
Now, write out a draft of what your life’s purpose is based on this information.
Next comes the hard part:
Do nothing with it for 1-3 days.
Don’t look at it. Try not to even think about it.
Look back at it after a few days and make edits.
See what sticks out to you.
This is your final primary purpose.
Go Seek Your Purpose
This was a heavy post, and the whole process of seeking purpose and impact on leadership is a big, time-consuming one.
Don’t feel like you need to do it now, but carve some time out for the whole process.
All effective leaders have defined purpose in their job and life. They exist in their purpose and don’t bother with trying to “honor their purpose.”
They live it.
You can too with some reflection and soul-searching.
This is a short version of the worksheets I give out on this topic. These worksheets are, in turn, a shorter version of my coaching sessions.
If you’d like the worksheets, head on over to my contact form and ask for the “Primary Purpose Exercise Worksheet” by clicking the button below.
Start somewhere and get to work finding yourself.
Regardless of your purpose, it’s all about who you are as a person, why you’re here, and why you do what you do. You MUST know your purpose to be impactful as a leader.
See you next time, friends.
About Kenny Chapman
Kenny Chapman’s mission is to help driven leaders build their ideal lives and careers (even if they don’t know what that looks like yet). He is an award-winning authority on helping people discover their true potential and make the simple, though not always easy, necessary changes.
Kenny is a professionally trained speaker, consultant, columnist, author of The Six Dimensions of Change 2.0 and In-Home Sales Acceleration, and host of the Leadership in a Nutshell podcast. He is an entrepreneur at heart, building multiple successful companies, most recently the Blue Collar Success Group. His teachings have inspired individuals worldwide to reshape their lives and organizations, creating sustainable change, happiness, and personal fulfillment.