On purpose: why you do what you do

On purpose: why you do what you do


by Wouter Bakker

To succeed, any employee or organisation, in any field of business, must have a purpose. This is essential.

The concept of “purpose,” however, is an abstract. It is rarely clearly defined. It can be difficult to explain. It is different from, say, your mission, or your values.

Instead, your purpose answers the question, “Why?” Why do you, or your organisation, exist? Why are you here? Why is it that you have decided to do whatever it is you are doing?

But answering that “why” is a challenge within itself. There are always multiple facets, angles, reasons as to why you have set out to achieve something. So to help you along your way, we’ve come up with a few criteria that will allow you to better define your purpose.

Be passionate

Any purpose worth its salt — and, by proxy, any successful organisation — will be founded in passion. Maybe it’s environmental issues, maybe it’s simply a love for something like shoes — bottom line, you must care deeply about it. No one has ever achieved a lofty goal by being complacent, after all.

Be talented

A purpose doesn’t mean you have to be the next Van Gogh or Lebron James, but you — and your employees — do need to be good at whatever it is you are trying to do. And while talent is much of the time a natural gift, that doesn’t mean it can be honed, improved, even learned. Defining your purpose hinges upon reality, upon finding something that you are good at — don’t aim to design innovating SCUBA equipment if you can’t swim!

Be economically minded

Sometimes it seems like a faux pas to outright admit it, but it’s nevertheless true: money is extremely important. To survive, your organisation must make money. To survive — to eat, to pay rent — you must make money.  That means your purpose must have roots in an area that is economically viable, in the present and the future. That doesn’t mean you can’t set your sights high, but you also must be reasonable and practical when figuring out just where all that money will come from.

Be aware

A well-defined purpose is one that brings value to the world. Your organisation must offer society something that it needs. You must fill a hole, somehow make your neighbourhood, your city, your county, your country (and so on) more complete. This will ensure that you are working toward something beneficial for all involved, as well as put you in a better position to request and receive support whenever and wherever you may need it.

Be happy

There’s quite the difference between being passionate and being happy. One is fuel, drive, the other is lubrication, a sense of contentment, assuring that you won’t burn out. A good purpose provides both. Work is work — but if you’re both passionate and happy, your end goals are a lot easier to achieve.

Now it’s time to begin, to get out there and matter. Need assistance? We’re always here to help. Give us a call!