Inspiring Purpose

by  Mike Henry  |  Leadership Development

Nothing puts air in our sails like a noble purpose. But many of us work for businesses where our focus is to simply outperform last quarter. If you can’t manage your purpose, you can still inspire your co-workers. When you bring the best of who you are to the job or the project or the dinner table, you will inspire. You can’t help it. Great causes inspire. Any cause is greater than service to self. Include anyone besides yourself in the category of “who you serve,” and your cause becomes something great!

Maybe you don’t look up to your company or its leaders. Maybe you drag yourself to work every day. But if you can make your purpose anything bigger than yourself, you can begin to experience inspiration. And this is self-inspiration. It’s an intrinsic reward that we get when we know we’re doing something meaningful. In Drive, Daniel Pink referred to people motivated by the goal as Type I people to designate their intrinsic motivation. That intrinsic motivation comes from a purpose. (Note: Steve Farber wrote a great book on this titled Greater Than Yourself.  Check it out.)

What if you decided that you were going to serve a teammate tomorrow? Just look for opportunities to help a coworker with no expectation of return. I promise you will get an opportunity. We’re all struggling a little. We all could use some help. Look for the help you can provide rather than concentrating on the help you need. The minute you recognize a need and take action, you’re a leader. And that action builds trust which will eventually lead to influence. That’s character-based leadership in action.

Make your purpose bigger than yourself and energize your life. You’ll energize the people around you too.

Photo by ronnie44052

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About The Author

Articles By mike-henry
Chief Instigator (Founder) of Lead Change Group and VP of IT for a mid sized technology company. Passionate about character-based leadership and making a positive difference.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Anne Perschel  |  14 Jun 2010  |  Reply

Mike – You remind us that we don’t have to wait for company leaders to inspire us. We can each be our own inspiration and create a vision/mission to lead on behalf of something greater than our selves every day. And by the way my friend You are a Walker of that Talk.
.-= Anne Perschel´s last blog ..Do We Need a King & a Queen – A He-Leader & A She-Leader? =-.

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach  |  15 Jun 2010  |  Reply

Mike – Your incisive message rings true for professional and personal pursuits. Academics debate where that “purpose” or “motivation” comes from and why it is stronger in some than others. Nonetheless, when a person does set out on a purpose, s/he becomes a self-propelled module of energy and success. Now that’s environmentally friendly!

Great post. I will RT on Twitter.
Warmest wishes,
Kate Nasser
.-= Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach´s last blog ..Leaders, Get ALL Your Employees to Think Customer Care! =-.

Mike Henry  |  19 Jun 2010  |  Reply

Kate, thanks for picking up on the sustainability of this “renewable energy!” Mike…

Sharon Eden  |  15 Jun 2010  |  Reply

Hi Mike…
Finding your purpose and expressing it at work is a central theme of my upcoming book. So, for me, it’s more than having ‘a’ purpose. It’s about discovering your own purpose and using work as a vehicle through which to express it. And, as always, purpose is for the greater good of yourself AND others!

Great post… thank you.
.-= Sharon Eden´s last blog ..Leadership Leather! =-.

Mike Henry  |  19 Jun 2010  |  Reply

Sharon, thanks for the clarification. We should discover our purpose. I’ve been discovering mine for quite some time. But even while we’re looking, we can adopt one bigger than ourselves and that will give us energy. Mike…

Marty Caise  |  19 Jun 2010  |  Reply

Mike, You are right of course that inspiration starts with the self inspiration and a genuine belief in A PURPOSE. The challenge is how your purpose and the organization’s purpose relate – if they do at all. It is then where you have to consider “the good, the bad, and the effective” when it comes to your own leadership group. The more effective your leadership group is, the better the opportunity your purpose and vision will be considered.


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