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The importance of having a clear purpose for personal and professional growth

Today more than ever, to achieve significant personal and business results, it is necessary to go beyond execution and also rely on motivation, involvement and, above all, full understanding of why the chosen direction is precisely the best to take.

And coaching in this sense can help, as it stimulates the awareness of those who take part

Let's make an analogy with the world of organizations, because every company has its purpose, whether it wants to or not. In many companies, if time has not been spent thinking about it, the purpose emerges along the way, and often corresponds to what suits the most influential managers. You can even end up in work environments where everyone thinks that the company is there to guarantee everyone the achievement of their personal goals, whatever they may be. In short, it is a means. For these workers, their company exists to be used, to understand, were it not that these organizations have the natural tendency, alas, to leave the business early and be forgotten.

But organizations with a clear and compelling purpose are another story: first of all, they are those that will survive the succession of their leaders and employees, such as Apple and Disney. And they are also the ones with the most lasting success.

For example, Harley-Davidson says of himself: “We fulfill dreams of personal freedom: it is our purpose and we take it seriously. Harley-Davidson's goal is to convey freedom. This declaration of intent makes me think so much, no, about the wind in your hair while driving.

Or take Patagonia, a company specializing in sportswear. Its purpose is to raise environmental standards in the clothing sector. She is so committed to this mission that some of her advertisements are like "Don't buy this jacket", with the idea that most people, after all, already have too many things. Patagonia also seeks to reduce waste by producing highly durable clothing and offering customers a repair service.

Yet, according to a 2017 Gallup research, only 33% of workers in America feel really busy at work, they feel aligned with the purpose of their company, a percentage that drops to 13% if we consider the worldwide figure.

But does all this also apply from a personal point of view, as Mark Twain reminded us?

Yes, several researches have shown that in the most accomplished and performing individuals they are those who, more than the average, have clear goals and greater self-awareness.

What are the purposes I want to give to my life?

On personal purpose, you can also work in a coaching path. Sir John Whitmore, the father of coaching, suggests some key questions; for example:

  • What is the dream you yearn for?

  • What do you really want from your life?

  • How would you like to impact this world?

  • Or, imagine you are eighty and you turn around to look at the past life. What would you like to observe?

Maybe it's worth asking yourself before you reach the age of eighty, what do you think?

And, among other things, these are questions that a coach often asks his clients.

But if asking yourself it can be easy, here, finding the answers as always is a little more complicated. Clayton Christensen, an American academic, describes a method that an organization or a person can follow to identify their own purpose, and suggests 3 steps to take.

The first has to do with likeness, with appearance: what kind of company do we want to become? Or what kind of person do I want to become? In the first case, I can imagine what kind of value I want to bring to my stakeholders, in terms of products, services, experiences. What kind of organizational culture will I embrace? What behavioral models should I adopt? In the latter case, for example, I may wish to become a good father, a passionate practitioner, a selfless friend, and so on.

The second step has to do with the degree of involvement that attracts me to what I want to become, because the purpose cannot simply be put on paper, and it magically comes true. Furthermore, if the purpose I give myself I can choose deliberately, the way I achieve it passes through the way in which I face the challenges and opportunities that come my way. What is it that I regularly award in the company? What importance do I give, what priority I assign and how much budget I dedicate to making decisions consistent with my purpose. And, if I think about the personal sphere, I can ask myself how, for example, do I take advantage of the difficulties I encounter, to become the kind of person I want? Engagement has a lot to do with the decisions I make in favor of what appeals to me most.

The third and final step of Christensen's model has to do with metrics: what do I measure myself on? On the degree of innovation? On the sustainability of the business? And if I am an individual, do I measure myself on the number of people I coordinate, on the RAL or on the bank account? Or the number of people I help to become better every day, or the number of real friends?

It is these three parts, the aspect, the involvement and the metrics, that give life to the purpose, whether it is corporate or personal, little changes, just as the fact that this process often takes years, before arriving at a clear purpose does not change. , which acts as a guiding star in our daily life.

In short, it doesn't matter much where we are, but it matters above all in which direction we are going.


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