Isolated. Anxious. Stressed. Fearful. Agitated. Purposeless. These are just some of the emotions the world is feeling. The silver lining is extremely hard to see. We are afraid to make decisions until we have more control and visibility. We feel stuck because of the prevailing uncertainty.
The truth is we must move forward even in the uncertainty.
We will not reemerge the same as before and when we do, what should we make of this lost time we were all forced to accept? For those of us who seek a deeper meaning to moving forward in this uncertain time, I have a proposal: We must look within and find our innermost purpose.
Purpose goes beyond making a profit — it’s the true reason for being. Purpose should be a foundational element in how organizations make decisions. Two strong examples are TOMS shoes, which exists to provide shoes to children in need, and REI, which is dedicated to conservation and enjoyment of the outdoors.
Purpose is the deeper motivation behind why we do what we do every day. It is about finishing a good day’s work and doing what makes us feel gratified and at peace with our contributions to the world. I expect serving a greater purpose will soon become the norm and profit-only-based businesses will soon seem passé.
Everyone has unique gifts to mobilize toward “doing good while doing well” as a business. Our agency puts brands on a global stage, and we realized this is our gift. In quarantine, we developed our “Relevance Purpose Method” with our proprietary “Purpose Finder” to help companies identify, communicate and amplify their purpose-driven efforts around the world. Championing our clients’ purpose is our purpose, and we care deeply about it.
Based on this experience, here are some tips to re-emerge as a more focused, resilient and impactful brand, with purpose:
- Get emotional
Going against everything we have been taught in business, I believe we must get emotional and tap into our hearts. What do you really want to improve in the world? Where do your day job and that personal issue intersect? How can your sphere of influence be directed and pointed toward change?
- Go beyond leadership’s heart
To truly ignite the passion of an organization and become more than just a CSR (corporate social responsibility) exercise for the C-suite, you must involve more staff and tap into the wider causes that matter to the larger group. All too often, charities or causes are selected by one person who may be far out of touch with the rest of the organization. The “opting-in” of staff is vital to make the company’s purpose a sticky factor for retention, adoption and fulfillment.
- Leverage your unique gifts
What is your organization already good at that can have the most impact? Who interacts with your service or product? Channel the opportunity that is already a part of what your company does or serves. That is a starting point for where you can make an amplified impact. Each of us has some part of ourselves that can be a gift, be it money, time, relationships or reach.
- Ensure authenticity
Does the overall business go against the causes you care about in any way? If so, know that it will be discovered and challenged, so think through alignment and authenticity across the company, its clients, stakeholders, employees and vendors. Ensure there is ongoing transparency on the results of your efforts. If you genuinely give freely and do not tie everything back to a humble brag about your own company, it will educate, empower and endear others to you.
- Seek and find
Finding a purpose or cause can be daunting and time-consuming. Many companies give up because the choice is simply too vast. Conducting due diligence in selecting a cause takes serious dedication to research, insight and strategy can be a lot to shoulder. Consider seeking experts to help you through this process.
- Don’t follow the rules
In order to get greater awareness and engagement, engage with your cause in an original way and forge a relationship that is one-of-a-kind. Purpose should be baked into the brand ethos in various ways. Form a new product, a give/get program, a proceeds program or give time — be creative. Just try to keep it from becoming overly complex.
- Aim for the magnetic effect
Authentically being in alignment with your deeper purpose will attract more like-minded individuals into your sphere of experience and influence. This will attract more of the customers and relationships you seek. Make a robust strategic plan with measurable results and incorporate like-minded partners, and you can create a powerful impact, even from quarantine.
Once we incorporate a dedication to purpose, our feelings transform. Isolated becomes unified. Anxious becomes active. Stressed becomes focused. Fearful becomes hopeful. Agitated becomes empowered. Purposeless becomes purposeful and powerful.
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