Journey - Purpose

The NorthCoast500 is the UK equivalent of Route 66 and is one of those trips of a lifetime. A 500-mile trip from Inverness to John O’Groats, along the north coast of Scotland to Durness and then down the west coast of Scotland and back to Inverness. This summer, my wife and I chose it as a road trip to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. It was a fabulous journey, but as with any journey, along with the destination, it needs a reason ‘why’ for the journey. It needs a purpose. In this case we went a) to see the stunning Scottish Scenery and b) to spend some time together and to have a mini adventure.

We need a purpose for our trips, our journeys. This is particularly important when you encounter challenge on your journey. One part of the NorthCoast500 has the infamous ‘Applecroft pass’. A single-track mountain edged drive that has even the most experienced driver focused and gripping the steering wheel. When you are on that, feeling the fear and the challenge, knowing why you are doing it is important to keep you going.

The purpose of the journey

Leadership is about taking people on a journey. A journey from here to there. A journey from where we are now to a better place. When taking people on this journey, the purpose of the journey and helping people align their purpose to the leadership purpose is crucial for taking people with you on the journey. For many people, this September, they will return from Holiday to hear the next initiative that their leaders are launching. Crucial to their engagement will be for them to understand the reason or purpose of this initiative. People buy into a why, they don’t buy into a what.

Compare these two statements about a new initiative:

  • “We are going to switch to a new activity management system.”

  • “In order to take up less of your time and avoid missing important tasks for clients, we are going to switch to a new activity management system.”

The first one just has the ‘what’ that is going to be the destination. The second one has the ‘why’ and the ‘what’. I don’t know about you, but for me, having the reason why we are changing helps me to consider buying in far more easily.

So, as you plan the leadership journey that you are going to take people on consider the key aspect of purpose.

  • What is the reason for us doing this?

  • How will it help the people and the organisation? What impact could it have?

  • What things are my people interested in? What impact might they be looking for?

  • What is each individual person driven by? What is their personal ‘why’?

Then explaining the reason in those terms is likely to help them engage.

Your purpose

One of the most powerful pieces of work that I do with those that I coach, is help them discover their personal purpose. Many of us know what we do. Maybe we even know what we enjoy doing. But for many people, going to that next step and considering what is your personal purpose is, has not been something they have considered.

Michael Jnr, in one of his Youtube videos, explains the importance of purpose. He says, “when you know your why, your what has more impact because you are walking in or towards your purpose.” My purpose is to ‘empower’. I ‘inspire and equip’ people to see themselves of leaders of their lives and situations. The vehicles that I do this through is the coaching, training, podcasts and blogs. Knowing your purpose allows you to focus on things that fulfil that purpose. It allows you to decide where to work, what to say yes to and what to say no to. I get joy when I help people to do that. I get a friction ‘rub’ when I see the opposite happening for people. The Japanese have a word, Ikagai, which is when people discover their ongoing purpose and seek to live it out and use it in everyday situations. So, for me, when I’m in a conversation, I seek to bring empowerment to it. When I am meeting someone new, I explore what bringing empowerment looks like in this situation.

When you know your purpose, it helps you decide what to align with. When you know other people’s purpose, you can help them to see how they can support and contribute to the leadership direction. When working with a team, our aim as leader, is to create a metaphorical patchwork quilt of purpose, where each person’s personal ‘why’ can enhance the overall beauty and contribution to the overall picture and direction. Each person knowing how they contribute.

Next time you have somewhere you need to take your team, consider your ‘why’ and their ‘why’ and how the two align. Start with the why in your first clause or sentence. It certainly helps get buy in and it definitely helps when the journey gets rocky as they are invested in it.

Everyday Leader is here to empower, inspire and equip you. If you would like to explore your ‘why’ and purpose, you may benefit from coaching with us. If we can help you find a way forward, through coaching, do make contact with us at .

Do let us know if we can be of help to you!

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