“I know of a dozen people who would pay you five thousand a year for telling them everyday that what is important is seldom urgent. Urgent equals ephemeral, and ephemeral equals unimportant.
— (George Smiley in John le Carré's A Murder of Quality)”
How many notifications do you think you receive each day? Research suggests that the average person receives more than 60 daily notifications. This doesn't consider when you grab your phone to scroll through an application. It also doesn't factor in phantom vibration syndrome. It's easy to get knocked off course. It's easy to find something to suck away your time.
Information bombards us daily. We need some of it. It eases certain aspects of life. Yet, most of it is noise, distracting us from more important endeavors. It's becoming difficult to turn the noise off. Leaders must become proactive. They must become elite at sorting through the noise to find what is most important. Purpose is your most effective tool for cutting through the noise.
In this sense, purpose provides hope that clarity is on the horizon. As distractions seek to suck up your attention, there is hope that you can put on your "purpose blinders." You can move forward to the finish line. It's true that the most urgent tasks vying for attention create tension at the bottom of your stomach. Rather than running through tasks to release the tension, keep your eye on the prize. Focus on your purpose.
Do you know the purpose of your team or organization?
On a deeper level, do you know your purpose?
Creating a two-word purpose statement is the final step in our Leadership Transformation Process. My two-word statement is "Clarifying Meaning." The vision of InitiativeOne is: "The global leader in transforming organizational potential through accelerated personal and professional growth." So on a personal level, how do I know I am doing meaningful work? How does what you do today have meaning?
It contributes to something deeper than today.
Meaningful work comes from a place of synergy that maximizes your output, your joy, your gifts, talents, and abilities with a pursuit that you could not do on your own. For me, writing this blog gives me joy, and that fits into the strategy of InitiativeOne. It's a piece to the larger puzzle. Getting caught up in the mindset that what you do doesn't matter is easy. It's easy to feel pulled in different directions. Personally, my purpose keeps me focused on the day-to-day grind of life. Communally, I know that the work that we do will go far beyond what I do.
When viewed in this light, purpose becomes a lens for viewing the world. If it's not on purpose, it is not important. Now sometimes, you don't control the actions that you have to get through each day. Sometimes, you're required to do things that don't fill your well. These tasks have to get done, but they should not take the bulk of your energy. Pour yourself into those tasks in a way that maximizes your unique gifts, talents, and abilities. This shift will help remove the dread associated with the "daily grind" mentality. Focus your best time and energy on the areas that provide the greatest impact. Your purpose will become your greatest source of energy and hope.