Why Purpose Matters: The 7 Powers of Purpose

A leader without purpose is lost in a world of opportunity.

Boxing Ring.

A leader with purpose has reason to fight through adversity.

The 7 powers of purpose:

  1. Grit. A leader with purpose has reason to fight through adversity. “If we possess our why of life we can put up with almost any how.” Nietzsche
  2. Effective choices. Any choice will do when you don’t have purpose.
  3. Boundaries. Say yes to purpose so you can say no to distraction.
  4. Meaning. Purpose identifies contribution. Contribution defines meaning.
  5. Evaluation. Perhaps our discomfort with purpose is it creates a standard for self-evaluation.
  6. Fulfillment. A person without purpose replaces meaningful action with trivial pleasure.
  7. Belonging. Purpose justifies your place at the table.

#1. Purpose looks forward.

History helps define purpose, but meaningful contribution concerns the present and future.

You disregard the future when the past dominates your thinking.

Challenge: Monitor the trajectory of your language, decisions, and actions. How forward-looking is your approach?

  1. How much time do you spend complaining?
  2. How frequently do you pine for the good ole days?
  3. How much of your day is spent seizing opportunity?
  4. How might the future be different based on your current decisions and actions?

#2. Purpose looks outward.

Focusing outward expands life. Focusing inward congeals it.

Self-kindness is one component of meaningful living. But there’s more.

“Other-focused acts might boost “eudaimonic” well-being, the kind that comes from a sense of purpose and meaning.” Berkeley

On the other hand, “… heightened levels of self-focused attention are common in depression…” PT

One purpose of self-reflection is multiplied contribution. Look inward so you can more effectively serve outward.

One purpose of self-reflection is multiplied contribution. Look inward so you can more effectively serve outward.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy—but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you lived at all.” Leo Rosten

How might clear purpose enhance leadership?

How might leaders clarify their purpose?

Bonus material: Here’s a snippet of my conversation with Robert Rosenberg. CEO of Dunkin Donuts from 1963 to 1998.