6 Questions to Find Your Reason for Being
I received a one line email from a coaching client at 7:02 p.m. on April 2. It’s been dripping in my mind since it arrived.
“Is a servant leader’s most important decision choosing the people he/she will serve?”
I’ve seen lives change when people choose who to serve. I often ask aspiring leaders who they want to serve. But, it’s not the most important choice servant leaders make.
The most important decision:
The most important decision servant leaders make is about mission. The second concerns who to serve.
Choose your mission first, then choose who to serve.
This afternoon I remembered, “Peter Drucker’s Five Most Important Questions.” The context of the book is organizational, but the questions apply to individuals.
- What is your mission?
- Who is your customer? (In the context of the email I received, who will you serve?)
- What does your customer value?
- What are your results?
- What is your plan?
A reason for being:
Mission explains purpose. The reason you’re here.
Mission is unique, but the same for all of us. Drucker said, “… Changing lives is always the starting point and ending point,” of mission.
Mission should fit on a t-shirt. “The mission says why you do what you do, not the means by which you do it.” For example, three words capture my mission. “Unleashing Leadership Potential.”
*Six questions to find your reason for being:
- What strengths and talents do you have?
- What opportunities are available?
- What challenges need to be addressed?
- What commitments are you willing to make?
- What lights your fire?
- What are you willing to stop doing so you can do more of what matters?
Find your purpose, then choose who to serve.
How might you answer, “Is a servant leader’s most important decision choosing the people he/she will serve?”
You might say that choosing who you serve helps leaders chose their mission. What do you think?
*Inspired by, “Peter Drucker’s Five Most Important Questions.”
Since I was young I was always in awe of those who seemed to recognize their mission. You know, those middle school classmates that from the age of 12 or 13 knew their calling. Then of course executed their plans. Those over achieving jerks. Unfortunately that wasn’t me.
Now at middle age my calling is just now beginning to fully coming into focus. And it really feels good and carries the promise of being truly soul fulfilling. Of course middle age also carries baggage that challenges our commitment and bravery. Many distractions and obstacles that if allowed to become the focal point will derail our true calling.
Thanks for the redirecting to “the mission.”
Appreciate the conversation daily.
Thanks Steve. I’m with you. It feels like I’m just learning what I’m all about.
Your comment makes me think about the role of others in helping us clarify our mission. Now that you are more clear on your mission, a door opens for you to help others find clarity. That feels exciting to me.
Thank you for being vulnerable in your comment above, “I’m just learning what I’m all about.” I feel like I was in my 50’s before I began to understand what I’m all about. Some have said that life is all down hill once you hit 50 years old. I totally disagree. I believe the best years are now and are yet to come. My body is already slowing down but if LIFE is only the physical, we are all in tough shape. Clarity of mission brings such amazing fulfillment.
Thanks much, Bob
Thanks Bob. These years can be the most impactful and fruitful of all. You have a lifetime of experiences that include mistakes and successes that are useful both to you and those you serve. Awesome!
Best for the journey.
Excellent post and reminder. I feel that we may have different purposes at different times in our lives. I’m not sure I’ve ever truly found mine but I enjoy the search. These questions will help. Stu
Thanks Stu. I wonder if low-level angst about our purpose is a good thing. It keeps us on our toes and open for growth.
Yep, I certainly feel that ‘angst’ from time to time. And I agree – it spurs me to continue exploring. 🙂
Mission and vision are the critical factors enabling and driving business. If a leaders mission is clearly defined and percolates downwards , the result will be huge success. Thanks Dan for throwing an insight.
Thanks Subramanian. “Percolates downward” is an interesting way to think about this. I usually think percolating as down. I have no reason why? 😀
..twenty years +/- ago at a Conference I was challenged with this statement, from Joseph Stowell then President of Moody Bible Institute.. “the real test of a servants heart is if I act like one when I’m treated like one..” it stuck! Especially in leadership roles we can be distracted by rank/privilege.
I was one of those over achieving jerks, previously mentioned…Ha ha! I knew that I wanted to join the Military when I was 13 years old, and nothing was going to derail me from that. I remember being promoted into the rank of Sergeant. The rank where one is given a couple of team members and is leading them. I was asked by one of my senior non-commissioned officers what kind of a leader I was going to be, and it took a few years to really find out In the military, you rarely get to choose who you are going to lead, but I found out if you request the worst people, you will get them. I was well known after a short while, that if there was a Soldier that no one could get to listen turn them over to Sixberry. I also found out through this process that there was something that made everyone tick, and I just had to find it. I was not able to solve all problems or save every Soldier, but I learned to be a servant leader by taking care of my Troops. I am currently a Sergeant Major, considered “old school”, but I’m well respected. I still like trying to lead the trouble makers/poor Soldiers…trying to figure out what makes them click, and how do I help them change the negative in their lives.