The two most important days in your life are the day you were born…and the day you find out why. ~Mark Twain
It is essential to know why you do what you do. This is your purpose. And when the purpose is clear and communicated to everyone in a way that is understood, everyone is on the same boat, so to speak and can move forward in the right direction.
Like building a house and putting down a strong foundation, this is the first foundation block to creating an Amazing Company.
A company is a system, just as an individual, a family, and even the Universe. When you know how to optimize the system, you bring the best into your world. A big part of this is in knowing why you exist. In the business world, it is the reason why the company exists.
Here are a few examples of great purposes from our model companies that we feature in our book, Engage!:
– TOMS Shoes—it is a “One For One” movement; not a shoe.
– MindValley—it is about “Pushing Humanity Forward” and optimizing human potential through personal development products and education.
– HCL Technologies—putting “Employees First, Customers Second” has taken this global technology company to $4 billion in revenues in 3 years—and the primary focus has shifted to their people.
– Southwest—giving their customers the “Freedom to Fly” drives their business forward and give clarity to all business decisions.
– Achievers—they are “Changing The Way The World Works” through recognition.
The clear purpose is one of the key foundational elements that you can build your company on… and your life too. When a company is not in touch with its purpose, it will be lost.
Why do you do what you do? Let’s say you’re an executive of a company. You want to make a good living.
- Why is that? Because you want to live a good life and take care of your family.
- Why is that? Because you want to make them happy.
- Why is that? Because it’ll make you feel good.
- Why is that? Because you want to be happy too.
When anyone does this exercise on a personal level, eventually we end up with just a few core reasons: love, happiness, and peace.
It’s a simple exercise and it shows that even though we all come from different walks of life, we all have the same core desires within us…which doesn’t make us so different from each other after all.
A purpose statement is like a compass—guiding you on the path to reach your destination. A company may have a purpose well defined, but the important question to ask is this:
Is it a purpose that will inspire others to take action?
If not, it is probably not the bigger purpose. We can lift a company’s purpose to a much higher level just by asking “and why do we do that?” several times until you discover that higher purpose for being. Knowing the purpose then becomes the guiding light for smooth sailing. The same is true on a personal level.
After going through so many difficult years, I now know my purpose is “Bringing Joy To The World” by teaching all that I have learned along the way through my books, courses, programs, etc. Even Jim Carrey, one of the funniest people alive, has his own personal purpose defined very clearly—“Free People From Concern”.
A clearly defined purpose statement is the foundation to building a purpose driven life and a purpose driven company.