Inspirational Speaker | Business Mentor | Inspirational Book Author | Inspiration Books


The Rhythm of Being ON PURPOSE

Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010
You know you don't have to 'be ON PURPOSE®' every day - you only need to know that you have a purpose to ensure you get through to tomorrow.

Simply acknowledging you have somewhere to be, someone to care for, and something to achieve - whenever or where ever that may be, actually makes it easier to take a day off sometimes.  The momentum of knowing that this mission you are on is tracking ok, you are getting to the next point as planned and that the efforts you are putting in actually are taking you there is in itself a liberating feeling.  Being so focused and knowing where you are on your journey can make it so much easier to truly relax and recharge when you need to.

On the other side of this is the issue of never slowing down and being driven unendingly towards an imagined finish line - at some stage you have to rest the mind!  But imagine getting through your days and not really having a clear destination in mind.  Imagine if you will, the endlessness of crossing what feels like a desert without having a compass and a reason to cross it in the first place.  It makes those thirsty days endless.   Knowing that there is a point to it and where the best places to camp are, simply enable you to stop and revitalise yourself as you go and ease the pressure a little on the way, and sometimes that's just really nice to do.

Happy holidays to everyone and best wishes for the coming New Year,

Friction Helps Us to Grow

Posted on Monday, December 06, 2010
I was reminded of the line recently:  To have a grievance is to have a purpose in life.  ~Alan Coren, The Sanity Inspector, 1974
I take this to mean that when we are fed up, and our spirits rattled and our energies fractious, we create the need to move forward in some way inside.  Whether it is to march off to the council and lay a complaint, or gather a troop together and march in protest, it’s the irritations and frustrations that actually get us moving.  The friction that ignites inside from where creativity, and communication can rise up in meaningful ways, and solutions be discovered to those challenges. 

That’s really important.

Imagine if you will, a world where nothing ever goes wrong in your day.  The day starts well, ends well and nothing much of anything is in the middle of it.  It is as you planned it and wish it to be.  While we all want such days – and sometimes I know I NEED them – if every day were like that, we’d soon struggle to get up each morning.

Sameness and certainty do not help us to grow – friction does.  How we learn to cope with it is what shapes us.

Living or Dying ON PURPOSE?

Posted on Tuesday, November 30, 2010
An 'unemployed' existence is a worse negation of life than death itself.  ~José Ortega y Gasset
What a great quote – to do nothing is to be useless, and to be useless is to die inside while still existing.   How can any of us justify simply meandering through our lives with no purpose or reason to get up every day?
I believe we all have skills, talents, and abilities, even though for some, these are very well hidden and let’s also consider some of us don’t truly find our calling or vocation until later in life, but to sit idly on the sidelines of life and simply wait is inviting our lives to become meaningless, and this surely is dying while our bodies take a slower path.  

I also like the way Johann Wolfgang von Goethe expressed it: "A useless life is an early death". 

Knowing Why is a Big Part of Your Business Strategy

Posted on Monday, November 15, 2010

You know the more I think about this ‘WHY’ business, the more I see it being used, or in many cases not well understood and therefore not used well.  You see, I believe the easiest way to understand purpose and being ON PURPOSE® is to get your head around how your head works as a decision maker.

Think of it this way – when you wish to convey to your market that you can provide a service or products, consider that WHAT you do is generally understood by your marketing, the image you portray, and the communications relating to your products and services.

How you are going to provide this service is explained by your words.  You can tell anyone about the way you work, the customer service levels you wish to provide and who John in Accounts is in case there’s any issue with the billing. 

But the WHY is what comes from deep inside.  The Limbic part of the brain deals with feelings and intuition and we as customers tune into this often without even thinking about it and whether we know it or not will usually base our decisions on what this part of our brain is telling us.

The WHY is also the purpose behind what you do as a business operator (or teacher, parent, friend – but let’s just talk business for today).  It’s the driver and motivator.  If you don’t have a clear reason for doing what you do, customers tend to be less engaged, and often will seek alternatives to what you are offering from people who knowingly or not are connected to their purpose.

Let’s consider APPLE for a moment.  Their overriding purpose behind everything they do is to be the counter culture maker in design and technologies as they provide solutions to what their customers want, often coming up with solutions to things we didn’t even know we were challenged by yet.   Wow – that’s really thinking differently.

You see APPLE knows that by ensuring the company’s WHY is understood by people who want new, innovative and counter culture solutions (that we often don’t quite know we need yet) they can build a huge fan base of customers like me; many of us being early adopters who also think of ourselves as being innovative and fresh consumers.   Their WHY is what drives us to become so passionate about buying APPLE iPods, iPhones, iPads in their millions. 

Do Dell, HP, IBM, Compac, SONY etc have the same levels of talent, innovators, technology, and resources that APPLE have?   Of course they do. And collectively they also make outstanding products, but they don’t have the passionate fan base that APPLE have become so famous for having.  The people who will argue over dinner about the merits of APPLE technology and innovation as passionately as others will debate politics and religion.

But APPLE has a unique point of difference – it’s in how they think, the WHY.  This is powerful beyond measure, and the best thing of all is, we all have the potential to develop our WHY’s.  To be ON PURPOSE® in all that we do too.

The Reason Why

Posted on Wednesday, November 03, 2010

'Why' is the driving force behind purpose.   It starts by understanding what Simon Sinek calls the Golden Circle.  The outside layer is about What we do. The middle is about How we do it. The inside circle is Why we do what we do

Sinek believes that Most of us ask:  What, How, Why?  Some of us ask: Why, How, What? 

For example, it’s not enough that our iPods produce great music quality, have outstanding technology behind their production or that they are highly fashionable and ‘cool to have’.  As consumers we buy into the purpose behind Apple’s existence more than we do Dell, or Sony now.  Apple state that: “Everything we do is designed to challenge the status quo – we believe in thinking differently”.  This is what millions of Apple fans around the world feel first and last about Apple products.  They love that Apple feels what they do about pushing boundaries. 

Too many business operators and marketers don’t get that the way we think about how we spend our time, money and resources has changed.   It’s not enough to see a product and think, “wow, that’s cool; I like the colours and how many features it has”.  Now we want to know why it’s better than the other ones like it.   

We feel more intensely about what we spend our time, energy, resources and money on than ever before.   We want to do business with people who are like us.  An increasing number of consumers  also need reassurances that our money is going back into the ‘do good’ pot in some way.    And we make decisions based on how we feel the company we are committing our money to for any product or service is worthy of our investment.  We ask questions like, do they recycle, put effluent into river ways, re-plant trees and so on.  It’s not just about the product or the best price any more – and so companies need to consider this in their own business strategy and marketing communication more so than ever before.

The goal in business is to do business with those who believe in what you believe.  Why you do what you do – not just ‘what you do or how you do it’.  Being ON PURPOSE® is critical to this line of thinking. 

What Drives You?

Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I saw an advertisement for something recently that talked about 'what drives you'.  It asked the questions:  "What drives you to... get up early, get across town, meet with someone new, invest in a project, return home at the end of the day".   The answer of course is 'purpose'.  Being ON PURPOSE® in anything is crucial to arriving at the end of 'it' (what ever the particular 'it' may be at the time) and feeling good about the outcomes.

Your purpose may be long reaching - or far reaching.  Perhaps many people, or much time needs to pass for the results to become real.  But at the beginning, the purpose must drive a plan. Some thought must go into making all the parts work, and all the pieces fit together. 

Do you have a plan?

Does your plan have purpose? 

Does your plan have room for flexibility?

Do you know what the variables are? 

Whatever it is that you are working towards, whether it's "getting up early, getting across town, meeting with someone new, investing in a project, or returning home at the end of the day..." if you know the Why (have purpose) then the How will follow, and will often take care of itself.  

ON PURPOSE Parenting

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Being an ON PURPOSE® Parent

In considering Purpose in all its contexts, I believe we must have it behind everything we do, not just our work or sports, but also in how we play, and how we raise our children and manage our family relationships.   From the moment we are born, we strive to grow, learn and get ready to venture out into the world, and our parents have expectations of our future and the type of people we'll grow up to be.   So we as parents, need to consider the outcomes we expect for our children and start applying purpose to our parenting skills.   This is what drives us to move forward, but also it keeps us ready and willing to pick ourselves up during those tough times when we're exhausted, frustrated, and dealing with tantrums, tears and spilled milk! 

Our temperamental two year-olds eventually move out of this stressful phase, start school, and move through various stages of loving us and distancing us, then loving us again as they prepare for leaving home and taking their places in the world.  What we can do to help them is to let them know our sense of purpose and commitment to ensuring that the day when they pack the car, or leave us tearfully at an airport that we know they are completely ready, capable and able to adjust to what ever comes their way henceforth.

I've a friend who's son recently left home and country to seek his fortune, and as he left, she realized that had she not had a strong sense of purpose leading up to that moment, it would have been a much harder goodbye and she'd have worried so much more.  But having known that her dedication as a mother (who encouraged independence and responsibility) had contributed to the making of a 'good person' she felt "mostly ready" to let go when the time came.

We have the right and the responsibility to plan our childrens' futures, and while we may not have a lot of control over what they do, where they end up living, or who they partner up with, we can plan ahead for us all to be ready to launch good people out of our nests.

Being an ON PURPOSE® parent makes for a wonderful journey.

The Strong Purpose Behind Winning Gold

Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Strong Purpose Behind Winning Gold

What makes athletes get up every day, repeat the same training routine, day after day, and grow their ability to improve second by second, day after dayPurpose!   Their dream of attaining the greatest of results – be it winning gold at the Olympic or Commonwealth Games, National Championship titles, or breaking world records – it all starts with purpose. 

When a child starts with a dream, and has the skill and talent to match it, then works at achieving excellence in their chosen field, their dream is usually nurtured by their parents, coaches and mentors.  But if that child does not have their own sense of purpose around their dream, then there will simply not be enough drive and determination to get through the failures, the disappointments of not winning sometimes, the pain and anguish of exhaustion and sore muscles.  They just won’t have enough inside to get them across the finish line.

This is not just about setting goals, but having the absolute passion and determination to see your goals become reality.  That’s what being ON PURPOSETM is all about. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers1, maintains that it takes an average of 10,000 hours of practice to get outstandingly good at something.  He says that talent and natural skill are not enough – virtuosos are made, not simply born.  Sure the talent has to be there, but alone, it’s not enough to sustain a childhood of ongoing practice and determination to reach the top! 

The Commonwealth Games in New Delhi next month will be an exceptional celebration of hundreds of athletes who have the drive and determination to get them to the top of their respective sports, and achieving a place in their countries’ teams is in itself a significant achievement.  Most of them are actively nurturing that strong sense of being ON PURPOSETM every day, and for some, this will result in taking home Gold, Silver or Bronze. 


When you know the Why the How follows naturally.

1. Outliers, Gladwell M. Penguin 2008

What About Learning New Things?

Posted on Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Have you decided to go forth into something and realized that you don’t have all the skills needed to achieve great outcomes yet?  Maybe you need to up-skill, or maybe you just need to know enough to be able to hire someone highly skilled so that you truly understand what it is that they are really great at so that you can get the best out of them.

Start by considering these two things: 

  1. Do you need or even want to become technically brilliant in order to run a superior level technical team or department?
  2. Or would it be enough (or maybe more than enough) to simply attend some good refresher courses so that you at least know the quality of the candidates you could hire to do some specialist work?  

Many great leaders recommend hiring people who are smarter than you are as a means of achieving much more than you can do by yourself.   Perhaps the best use of your time is to improve your leadership or management skills so that you can truly harness the effectiveness of others who are experts in their field.

This is a good time to consider your own strengths, and weaker areas of ability.  What do you love to do and what are you best at focusing on?  It’s all very well to know that you have the ability to do the $10 per hour jobs like filing, or data processing, but what if your own top skills are better spent on the $100 per hour jobs. 

Thinking about these things from mindset of being ON PURPOSE® gives you clarity about what is truly important and what it is you are aiming for beyond the details.  

Do You Need Help?

Posted on Saturday, September 11, 2010

In order to make great things happen, you nearly always need to work with other great people.  These may not be Abraham Lincoln ‘great’, but certainly exceptional in their field and therefore of significant value to you in your endeavors.  Regardless of your work, industry, objectives in moving forward into greatness, your best mentors, guides and teachers should be those you seek out and express a willingness to learn from.  (It should be noted that at this level you are looking for a lot more than a business advisory appointed free mentor.)

So who are your ideal ‘greats’?  And how do you meet them, then get them to work with you?

Start by defining exactly the type of guide, teacher or other kind of helping hand you need.  What would be the ideal situation from your point of view?  If it’s someone to mentor you, then begin with identifying what makes you an ideal person to mentor from their perspective.  How will you step up and prove you’ll take real value from their encouragement, support or advice?     

Many people who are really great at what they do are often targeted for mentoring and rightfully may become quite selective as to whom they agree to work with.  You have to impress upon your chosen ‘greats’ that you are willing, able and committed.

Do you need to do anything to make this a reality?  Are you ready to be mentored by someone who is truly great?

Your purpose in preparing for being mentored by someone who is absolutely perfect and is your most desirable mentor is part of being ready.  So invest time in thinking this part through, ensure you’re able to answer any and all questions you may be asked when you approach your target, and above all else, be professional.   You should also have done some homework to be sure you know a fair bit about him or her, so that they know you’ve taken the time to do so.  This is important.

Get ON PURPOSE® with getting help to become all you can be.