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The Practical Benefits of Purpose

October 29, 2019

A few weeks ago, I spoke to an audience of bank presidents and CEOs.

These individuals are seasoned, successful, and accomplished. Most of them also fit the stereotype of their profession. Their job is to manage money. They work to mitigate risks. They are focused on the bottom line. And they think in terms of real, concrete results.

So in a crowd like that, I probably look a little different. Not only am I quite a bit younger than most of the people in the room, but they also look at me as the “leadership guy” who is doing the inspirational stuff. My closing keynote followed sessions like “Understanding the Regulatory Environment” and “A Decade After the Downturn—What’s Next?” So I knew my content had the potential to be perceived as “fluffy”—not the serious stuff.

Whether it’s my own insecurity, or maybe the fact that I want to work extra hard to add value, I made sure to highlight the practical benefits of a purpose, of a vision, and of good leadership. Maybe you need a reminder that these things have a tangible impact as well.

So let’s explore the very practical benefits of purpose. For the sake of this message, I’m going to use the words purpose, vision, and goals interchangeably—not because they mean the same thing, but because these practical benefits I’m outlining apply to each of them.  

When you have a clear purpose, you have clear benefits. If you miss everything else, don’t miss this: When the vision is clear, the mundane becomes meaningful. So here are three practical things that a clear vision does for you:

1. Helps you Want to get going. The word I like to use here is passion. When you have a clear vision, you have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. It lights the fire. Vision acts as a catalyst. It’s the spark plug that makes you want to dive into your work. If you think about going on a trip, vision is the destination. When I know the destination, it makes me want to get in the car, turn on the ignition, and hit the road!

2. Know Where you’re going. Very tangibly, vision gives you direction. Having a purpose, vision, or goal simplifies your decision-making process. Every day, you’re confronted with options, and you must decide what to do and not do. When you are crystal clear about what your goal is, then you can look through the lens of that goal to evaluate your decisions. Bottom line, a clear goal helps you know more clearly whether to say “yes” or “no” to choices you need to make.

3. Makes you Willing to keep going. Vision provides motivation. When life gets tough—you get discouraged, depressed, and just don’t feel like persevering anymore—having a vision will motivate you to push through obstacles and challenges to achieve your goal. The clearer the goal, the more impactful it is. Think about that: the better I can visualize my desired future, the more motivating it is. The challenges we face are looming, large, and  right in front of our eyes. We need a clear picture of our purpose to persist through the obstacles that try to deter us.

Your individual goals, vision, and purpose provide the passion, direction, and motivation necessary to fulfill your calling.

This works personally, but it also works organizationally.

It’s not enough to simply create a mission statement and put it on a wall. Doing the annual goal setting exercise is not sufficient. It must become something you see and pursue.

A clear purpose, vision, or goal for your organization will fuel your team with passion, provide them with direction, and give them the motivation to achieve the important work you’ve set out to do.


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