Executive coach Richard Leider is widely recognized for his work helping leaders discover the power of purpose. His sage advice about finding purpose gives us the opportunity to look inward; to discover new things about ourselves—and to lead differently. We’re thrilled that he’ll be joining us as co-chair of our Global Institute for Leadership Development® Asia, July 17-21, 2017 in Singapore. He will help our participants tackle big questions like: “Why would someone choose to follow me?” and “Am I on a path to becoming a great leader?”
There are no rigid formulas for how to write your purpose statement as a leader, mentor or coach, but there are many helpful techniques to assist you. Here are seven ideas that have brought powerful results to many people over the years. Use them to see what you can discover about yourself and your dreams.
1. Think about this sentence for a moment: “From family and friends who knew me when I was very young, I have heard that my “special gift” is __________________________.” How have these “gifts” persisted in your life?
2. Imagine being on your deathbed, still clear and coherent, when your best friend drops in to visit you. Your friend asks, “Did you give and receive love?” “Were you authentically you?” “Did you make a small difference in the world?” How did you answer these questions?
3. Get out your calculator and do some “life math.” Multiply your age x 365 (____). Then, subtract that number from 30,000 (____), an average life expectancy. Once you get clear that you have (____) more times to wake up, it might inspire you to live more courageously now. How do you feel about how you are spending your most precious currency—your time?
4. How did you wake up this morning? Did you resist getting up or did you get out of bed with energy and purpose? Think about the way you wake up, these days, and you will learn something about your life’s purpose. What was your “mood” getting up today?
5. Write the question “What are my gifts?” on five index cards. Give them to five people who know you well and ask them to write their response to the question on the card. Put them all together in a place where you can see them. What theme or thread do you see?
6. Are you curious? What are you most curious about, today? Here are some clues that will help you answer:
- Time passes quickly when you’re exploring this.
- It’s so natural, you can’t help spending time on it!
- You enjoy it so much, your worries disappear when you’re doing it.
- A bad day doing this is better than a good day doing most other things.
7. Look around you for potential models and mentors. Ask yourself who is really leading the kind of life and doing the kind of work that you envision in the next phase of your life. If you think of some of these people, initiate a courageous conversation to find out more about them.
What did you discover about yourself? Are you on a path to becoming a great leader? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.