PATTERNS OF FRUSTRATION
Time and time again, we have the honor and opportunity to help entrepreneurs and leaders grow their businesses, develop leadership and managerial skills, integrate Internet marketing strategies into their mix, and develop new products and services.
Over the years, I have seen some distinct patterns with folks who, in spite of their successes, remain frustrated, unfulfilled, or are just simply having a hard time staying focused enough to implement and follow-through on the very actions and strategies that will help them achieve their goals.
HAVE YOU BEEN BRAINWASHED?
At the core, a few common themes stand out; incredible areas of opportunity that often go ignored. As a society, many folks have allowed themselves to be brainwashed; brainwashed to not give a lot of time to what truly creates an unstoppable foundation to building both a successful and an incredibly fulfilling business.
The main question that grabs people's attention and pocketbooks (and taps into fear, survival and reactive tendencies) is “How can you earn more money?” The answer to this question may truly only come when we ask, "What would bring you more happiness and fulfillment?" A sense of healthy pride and passion for one's contributions of their talents and gifts is actually a lot more motivating than the traditional rewards of a paycheck. Ask that question and you gain great insight into the internal motivations (purpose, service, heart and values) as opposed to external motivation (bribery, promises, threats, fear, money). Although as a culture we have grown accustomed to external motivation, true commitment and excellence is an inside-out thing. The truth of the matter is that sustained performance and success is an internally motivated desire and becomes the mission of the individual, not a temporarily agreed upon set of behaviors as means to an end.
PEOPLE WANT A SENSE OF MEANING
Over the years for example, we have been blessed to do a significant amount of government contract work. Yet, soon I felt myself dragging and would dread my drive or train ride into Washington, D.C. Why? Because we were serving a client whose employees didn't want to be served. In other words, although I was getting paid, I did not feel a consistent sense of meaning and purpose. I did not see my talents and gifts being taken advantage of by people who valued personal accountability, performance excellence, and self-empowerment.
These cultures, so it appeared, fostered finger pointing and blame mentalities. Only occasionally would someone show up who actually took responsibility for their own happiness, productivity, and the creation of opportunities. And, you want to know what they had in common?
A DEEP SENSE OF PURPOSE
That's right, they were accountable to their purpose. They knew why they were here, what they wanted to contribute and they were so grounded in that connection that they didn't even bother to use other people, their bosses, co-workers, or even their spouses as excuses for their misery. In fact, it didn't cross their mind to put energy into how everyone else around them needed to change. Because they were connected to a higher purpose and reason for being, they didn't focus their energy and attention on others. Instead, they knew who they were, why they were here and took 100% responsibility for creating job satisfaction and fulfillment for themselves. They tended to be high performers, had incredibly good attendance, were reliable, trustworthy and fairly well liked - except for the employees who hated them for being so perfect!
MISSION AND PURPOSE IN BUSINESS
In the 1990's one of my mentors, Dr. Stephen Covey, really helped bring the concepts of personal accountability and mission into business arena. I had the honor of teaching the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for many years and again, I saw similar themes. If people could not accept Habit One: Be Proactive (which is all about exercising your inborn right to choose your thoughts, behaviors and actions and take responsibility for your own stuff) I knew they would never be able to progress upwards on the maturity continuum.
If people were not clear on their mission; their mission as a business owner, leader, manager, parent, spouse, etc., they were choosing endeavors or areas of focus that were not necessarily aligned with their values. Yet, those who had a strong sense of mission and purpose and those who took responsibility for the fact that they were responsible for their own happiness and success, were the ones who stood out as stars in their various businesses. They didn't abuse sick leave, file or get complaints, or make costly mistakes. They added value to their endeavors and were easy to manage because they were self-managing.
AWAKENING TO PURPOSE
Although we do powerful work with clients in developing leadership and management skills, strategic planning, marketing planning and personal effectiveness, we also do incredible work in the areas of awakening to purpose and help people align their purpose with their work.
For some it does mean changing careers or companies, because it becomes so obvious that they have completely blocked their success by staying in an unhealthy work situation or a mis-matched career. After all, if you are going to invest a tank or two of gas, commute hours to get to work, and put in a 50 hour work week, you might as well enjoy what you are doing right? If you are going to be abused by your boss or have to deal day-in and day-out with personality conflicts and inefficiencies, you may as well love what you are doing and see that you are making a difference!
ALIGNING WITH PURPOSE INCREASES THE BOTTOM LINE
Last year we had the honor of taking about 200 folks around the world (from Arkansas to Australia, Maryland to the Middle East) through Awakening to Purpose, a comprehensive, step-by-step process that examines The 7 Keys to Awakening and helps reveal a higher connection to what will give deep meaning in one's life, work and relationships. As is within any beneficial training or coaching, some people discover that some of their beliefs and choices need to be changed - even in terms of their career. Most people, however, once their purpose is defined, uncover critical opportunities to align their thinking and behaviors with their purpose - in all aspects of their lives. Attitudes improve, values are clarified and acted upon, people don't waste energy by complaining and instead funnel their energy into innovation, productivity, increase their profit margins and customer loyalties, and bring a greater sense of purpose and commitment to their relationships and endeavors.
Simply put, they are just more fun to be around and give energy instead of taking it!
THE REASONS FOR HIRING AND FIRING
Research shows that people get hired for experience and fired for poor attitude (poor attitudes does effect performance and makes everyone around them miserable). People leave jobs because they are unhappy or because they are not a good fit for a manager or culture, not because they are not getting paid enough (that's what they will say though!).
Yet, a person who is aligned with a deeper sense of purpose, can bring a great deal of creativity into how they fulfill their purpose and because they take responsibility for their own attitudes and efforts, they are fairly low maintenance and managers and leaders get to focus on the positive aspects of their jobs like fostering shared vision, leadership development, and innovation.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY
So, what's the moral of the story? Easy. Purpose ain't fluff or “woo woo” -- it's foundational to building a self managing, value and purpose driven culture that enables people to bring their best selves and contributions to the businesses and customers they serve. And, that's all good for the bottom line!
Anita Pathik Law is the owner of Dare Dreamers and founder of Awakening to Purpose and the Power of Our Way Community. Her coaching, writing and speaking are all authentic expressions of her purpose which is to raise consciousness and build bridges of higher understanding. She does her best work with soul-based entrepreneurs and leaders who are committed to building their personal leadership capabilities and building sound, aligned strategies in alignment with their purpose and passions.