Finding your leadership purpose is not easy. If it were, we’d all know exactly why we’re here and be living it every minute of every day. It’s not easy, but it’s one of the most important things you need to do if you want to grow and develop into an even more effective leader.
You can begin to identify your leadership purpose by:
1. Developing your stories – Mine your life story for common threads and major themes. Your goal is to identify your core strengths, values, and passions – the pursuits that energize you and bring you joy. The following prompts may prove helpful:
What did you especially love to do when you were a child, before the world told you what you should or shouldn’t like or do? Describe how a key moment made you feel. Identify two of your most challenging life experiences. How have they shaped you? What do you enjoy doing now that brings out the best in you?
2. Working with a coach or mentor – It’s almost impossible to identify your leadership purpose alone. You need help from people who act as mirrors. Retain the services of an experienced executive coach, or find a qualified mentor. You can also seek feedback from a small group of trustworthy peers.
3. Writing out a statement of purpose – After completing the first two steps, take a shot at crafting a clear, concise, and declarative statement of purpose: “My leadership purpose is _______.” The words in your statement must be your own. Don’t pull buzzwords or clichés from a business book or article. Your statement must capture your essence and call you to action.
As you review your stories, you’ll likely find a unifying thread. Pull it to uncover your purpose, and then begin to share it with others. Your payoff will be an increased comfort level as you articulate your purpose. You’ll build trust by creating the authenticity that followers seek in their leaders.
Sometimes I wonder why so few people actually write down their most important purpose. Sure, it’s hard to discover what it is. It takes courage to reflect and define what truly matters to you in your life as a leader.
Working with a coach makes it all that more interesting and productive. If you’re interested in learning more about the process of finding your leadership purpose, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me here and on LinkedIn.