How to Stop Stumbling Aimlessly and Pull Purposefully

We don’t wake up thinking, “I want to live an inconsequential life.” But we don’t wake up thinking, “I want to live a meaningful life,” either.

We simply wake up stumbling aimlessly from one thing to the next.

The most important idea of the day usually isn’t thought at all.


Aimless leaders are too stressed to worry about aim.

Stumbling aimlessly:

I bet you didn’t ask yourself, “What’s my aim?” when you got up this morning.

In a world dominated by turbulence, aimlessly doing the next thing masquerades as purposeful leadership.

Aimless leaders are too stressed with to-dos to worry about aim. However, “What’s my aim?” isn’t answered with a to-do list.

The longer your to-do list, the less purposeful your leadership.

Pulling purposefully:

Aimless leading is easier than purposeful leading. “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Zig Ziglar

We spotted an ant on the deck pulling purposefully!

Purpose provides:

  1. Reason.
  2. Direction.
  3. Strength.
  4. Creativity.
  5. Resolve.

Clarify aim:

Aim amplifies meaning and multiplies impact.

#1. Aim begins with who you are, not what you do.

Five things clarify aim.

  1. Talent. What natural inclinations make pulling hard fun?
  2. Strength. What do you do well?
  3. Energy. What gives you energy?
  4. Value. What provides value to your team and organization?
  5. Opportunity. What contribution matters now?

Clarify aim by reflecting on your ability to contribute.

Aiming an arrow. Aim.

Aim amplifies meaning and multiplies impact.

#2. Aim requires perspective.

Near-term challenges typically obscure long-term goals. But during turbulence a medium-term perspective serves well.

Leading for the medium-term is addressing short-term responsibilities with long-term perspective. For example, how do you address pressing needs in a way that develops the team?

#3. Aim turns toward the future.

Problem solvers are dominated by things that have already happened. But leaders with aim fix their eyes toward the future.

Leading is more about creating the future than fixing the past.

How do you determine your aim?

What’s your aim?