By Michael Zeller
If you’re a leader or a professional in any capacity, you’ve probably asked yourself at one time or another, “How do I find my purpose? And how do I create an impact?” As a leader myself, I’ve asked these questions more times than I can count.
Out of my own experience and from my own journey, I’ve discovered some ways that have greatly clarified the answers to those questions, and I’d love to share some of those insights with you.
My friend, Jeff Goins, wrote an enlightening book called The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do, which says that those who really find their purpose first create awareness and intentionality, then seek it as a journey, not a destination.
Let’s begin with these questions:
- Are you seeking clarity on your leadership purpose?
- Are you intentionally pursuing it?
- Are you hoping your purpose drops from the sky?
If you are doing more of the latter, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. However, if you intentionally pursue clarity on your purpose, guess what will happen? You’ll create more confidence, momentum, certainty and resilience in your life and those you lead.
“So how,” you ask, “do I find my purpose as a leader?”
- Create space for your heart to breathe
When you create space for your heart to breathe, you create an opportunity for your purpose to bubble forth.
Here are some ways to do that. As you do these, you’ll naturally create more awareness:
- Stop the hustle that comes with your position. Take some time daily to truly unplug, including from technology, to learn about yourself.
- Ask for feedback from people you respect, and be receptive to what you hear.
- Seek feedback from life itself on your successes and failures.
When you show up more aligned, energized and centered, your energy, enthusiasm and strength will spread to those you lead. How we show up is one of the most critical aspects of leadership.
- Listen to your yearnings
My friend, Rob, yearned to do something different other than the chiropractic business he was in. He had built a successful practice in Atlanta, but for years, he yearned to do something more. He wanted to create adventure and experiences for people so they could learn how to work hard and play hard. Finally, last year, he stepped into creating a podcast that has now evolved into an international mastermind filled with adventure and transformative growth. It’s become an amazing experience for those who are involved with it, but especially for him and his wife, Kimberly.
As a leader and business owner, if Rob ignored what was stirring deep within, he would have missed out on the impact that he had available for him and his wife. But because he was aligned and open to what he truly was made for, he created a new path that has impacted thousands and is even more fulfilling for him.
- Gain clarity on what you’re good at
This is one of my favorites. Personally, I love helping leaders unpack their zone of genius.
To begin, discover your unique abilities by taking five personality tests: Myers Briggs, DiSC, Kolbe, Wealth Dynamics, and StrengthsFinder. As you unpack those tests, it helps you see what you’re really good at, what you’re not so good at, what you need to manage, and who you need in your life. Each test result gives you a different perspective and adds a layer of insight. Next, write out your unique life experiences, your key relationships, your values and your passions. The intersection of those four arenas is your zone of genius as a leader.
- Take courageous steps forward now
Unless you take those first courageous steps, you won’t get momentum. Rob had to sell his thriving chiropractic practice to step deeper into his calling as a leader and create the life of adventure that he and his wife craved. This is one of the most difficult steps because comfort lulls us to stay right where we are.
Courage, however, is the prerequisite of progress. When you take courageous steps, you can see and feel the momentum build. Often you will have to make courageous, uncomfortable decisions to shift into the next phase.
- Contribute in a way that the marketplace rewards.
In reality, all the talk about living passionately misses a key point. You might be ultra-passionate about something, but if the marketplace doesn’t also care about what you’re passionate about, you won’t be able to build a viable business. Additionally, you could lose the confidence of those you lead.
In The Art of Work, Goins says, “Find what you love and what the world needs, then combine them.” Your team doesn’t just need a leader who can passionately lead them. It needs a leader with ideas that will work. So, find the area of contribution that the marketplace is ready to reward. Test, pivot, retest and pivot again until you find something the world is excited about.