Serving your purpose: You can’t get there, unless there’s a “there” there

by | Feb 4, 2013

Why is your business here?

And forgive me for being cheeky, where do you think it’s going?

Because you can’t get from here to there unless you know where “there” is.

Purpose matters, a lot

I love that you are in business for a purpose.

Perhaps that purpose is to beautify, provoke, or educate through your art.

It could be to help others live more fully, authentically, passionately.

Or it could be to create beautiful and effective websites.

But whatever your purpose, you won’t fulfill it unless you have a destination.

A business purpose is not the same as a destination

A business purpose is a motivation, a reason for setting out on the journey. A destination is the end point of the journey.

They’re different. Depending on your point of view, the purpose of putting a man on the moon was to win a battle in the cold war, extend the frontiers of science, or galvanize a nation around a common cause.

Whatever the purpose, the destination was the moon.

Your business needs a destination as well as a purpose

Without the moon as a destination, those various purposes would have remained amorphous ideals. With the moon as a destination, those purposes were served, not only when the goal was reached, but throughout the journey.

And every step taken toward the destination enlivened its purposes, building excitement and momentum.

It’s the same with your purpose-oriented business. Without a clear destination, your actions may be in alignment with your purpose, but they won’t fit together in a focused manner to build excitement and momentum.

The result? You have to keep generating new oomph to serve your purpose. It’s exhausting and often disheartening.

What’s the moon for your business?

Take a few minutes and reflect on your business purpose. This is the time to be idealistic. Make some notes, actual notes, about your purpose.

Now brainstorm some possible destinations for your business. A destination could be:

  • A financial goal.
  • A specific, measurable change you make in the world.
  • A sizable work product, such as a monumental sculpture or a new clinic.

Loosen up those brain cells and play with concrete, and perhaps unconventional, destinations for your purpose-oriented business.

Don’t be afraid to think big

I love that you work for yourself in service of a higher purpose. I want you to embrace your business purpose with wide-open arms and a big heart. I want it to be hugely meaningful for you.

And I want you to have a big destination for your business purpose, what Jim Collins (see sidebar) calls a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

Give your business a moon to land on.

It’s scary. (It should be.) How you will get there is a mystery. (That’s a good thing.)

And when you name and claim a bold destination, the sky really is the limit.

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What’s up with the order limit? It’s the max that Maggie, Lisa, and I can stay on top of so that everyone gets good service.
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