Business on purpose: The soul-goal connection

by | Nov 14, 2011

Thinking Out Loud: The difference between your Core Purpose and a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)
Your Core Purpose is the reason you’ve chosen your work. It’s non-negotiable and doesn’t change. Your Big Hairy Audacious Goal serves that purpose. You need to know the difference or your goals will be either too fuzzy or too small to pull you forward.
Succeeding at a purpose-based business is a lot like building a house to be a home for your family.
If you confuse your goal (to build a house) with your purpose (to create a home), you will to stall before you get very far. (You’ll also drive your architect crazy.)
The simplest choices will fraught with such significance that it is almost impossible to make them. Compromise will be out of the question. Making decisions based on factors such as square footage or cost will seem a travesty.
Because how can you possibly reduce the creation of a home to such considerations?
You can’t.

A house is not a home

You can, however, reduce the goal of building of a house to practical elements. However painful it may be to reconcile your dreams with your budget, it is eminently possible.
And the lovely thing? When you keep your purpose in mind as you formulate and pursue your goal, you can serve that goal even as you make the necessary compromises. Because even the most modest house becomes a home when you animate it with purpose.

Purpose animates goals

Animate comes from the Latin, anima, or soul. Purpose is the soul of goal-setting. It infuses goals–and the process of achieving them–with meaning.
The purpose of creating a home makes achieving the phenomenally challenging goal of building a house worthwhile.
The purpose of furthering your work in the world is what makes business goals worth pursuing.

Goals serve purpose

Goals give purpose shape and focus.
Purpose without goals is flabby. Without the goal of building a house, the dream of creating a home may remain a dream indefinitely.
Goals are the means by which your purpose is given form so it can function in the world.

Success requires purpose and goals

Many Accidental Entrepreneurs get derailed on the track to success because they confuse purpose and goals, or because one of the other is missing.
When you love your work, purpose is likely to be at the forefront of your thoughts. It’s almost certainly your primary motivation.
So you may resist goal setting or find it boring and tedious.
And when you do concentrate on the mundane aspects of running a business–bookkeeping, marketing, creating systems and structures–you may forget that you’re doing all this to serve a greater purpose.
At times you may feel like you have to sacrifice either purpose or goals.

It’s your job to make the connection

As a conscious business owner (and you are a business owner if you work for yourself), your most important job may be to keep alive the conscious connection of purpose and goals.
To remember that purpose is the soul of goals and goals the means by which you express your purpose in the world.
Take a moment now and think of a word, image, or object to serve as a talisman that, for you, represents the connection between your purpose and your goals. Then find a way to keep that talisman in your awareness.
Because it’s your job–and your privilege–to both build the house and make it a home.
Photo by J Brew via Flickr