Ever asked yourself “Why am I here?”
As a kids in school did you dread being asked the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?”.
It’s one of the most difficult questions to answer...but it can be done.
And once you find your purpose, your true calling, it can be the most powerful ways to stand out as a leader in business.
Of course some people have extraordinary natural talent, the World leading sports stars who were born to jump or run, kick or hit a ball better than others.
They seemed to always know what they wanted to do and they, like Nike "Just did it".
Then there were the geeks, nerds and tech-heads who typed code better than they could spell and built their own tablet for their 10th birthday. Not only do they know their purpose, they can’t quite figure out what the big deal is about finding it.
Of course then, there’s the entrepreneurs, knee-high to a grasshopper and selling lemonade or trading baseball cards to their friends. They see the World in a completely different way to the rest of us and seem to always land on their feet.
But not everyone has such clarity, in fact we might even consider these ‘super humans’ freaks of nature.
Most normal people either fall into their profession, taking an opportunity to earn an income and floating from one role to the next based on survival rather than the desire to thrive, or they have their genetic destiny chosen for them, brought into a family business or following their Father's footsteps into a trade.
Which one are you?
Have you figured out your purpose?
If you searched ‘why am I here and what is my purpose’ in google you are amongst almost 26 million other people also searching for an answer, so if you haven't found your why yet, you're not alone.
As we get older the desperation to find your purpose tends to get more intense. There’s the ‘ticking clock’ of reproductivity, the mid-life crisis of your 50’s and the desire to create a legacy before you shuffle off this mortal coil.
Simon Sinek codified the why question with his TED talk about the ‘Golden Circle’ highlighting that almost everyone can explain what they do and how they do it, but virtually no-one shares why they do what they do.
It clearly explains the powerful ability you have to communicate your purpose and passion when you find your why, but unfortunately Simon does go into HOW to do it... So here's an outline and some action steps for professional service providers like you, to discover your WHY and start using it to position yourself as the go-to in your industry...
Finding Your WHY?
Knowing your why explains how brands like Apple and personal brands like Martin Luther King stand out as different.
They stand up for something meaningful and we love them for it.
The thing is, if you want to really have a massive impact, to inspire as many people as possible, you are going to have to find your purpose to fire you up, create clarity and give you the direction to promote and market your passion.
Probably the best piece of advice Simon gives is “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.
If you want to create a stand-out personal brand, and attract a tribe of followers who become your raving fan clients, you need to emotionally connect with a shared belief in your purpose.
If your brand and business is solely driven by money or fame, it’s far more difficult to have real emotional engagement with your audience, affiliate, clients and partners. You have to fake it. And that's really not sustainable.
No matter how great your service is or how qualified you are to deliver it, if you are not able to LIVE YOUR BRAND, people can’t connect with your purpose, and they will never really trust you enough to believe in you.
Here are 4 simple action steps you can take to help you find your Single Minded Purpose to create a powerful personal brand that stands for something:
Action Step #1 - Regress
Oprah Winfrey talks about how your purpose flows throughout your entire life.
She said “Purpose is the thread that connects the dots to everything you do that leads you to an extraordinary life.”
Think back to when you were a child and what you loved to do, what came to you naturally?
At just 3 years old, Oprah was reading scripture at the front of her church. Her highly organised executive assistant once told Oprah that all she ever wanted for her 6th birthday was a filing cabinet. Imagine growing up to manage Oprah's filing cabinet!
Then there are stories closer to home, like Di Krome of Wildfire Consulting in Brisbane. She remembers her parent's milk round and how she hated going out so early in the mornings to deliver milk, but loved counting the money. She became an accountant! Later she realised the unhealthy relationship many in business had with earning money and she now burns away the old fashion thinking of killing yourself to make an living, with fresh new ideas that nurture good mental health in the workplace.
Or Michael of Burgundy Bespoke Jewellers, who loved making perfect model trains and place as a kid, painting them exactly right, with an attention to detail. When he launched his own business he wanted to treat clients with the same level of respect, like royalty. We discovered the story of Mary of Burgundy, the very first woman to be given a diamond engagement ring...and the brand was born.
So regress for a moment and think about all the things you were naturally good at as a kid, what you really loved to do without even trying. What are the threads of your life that have led you to where you are now? What stories have made you the person you are and how has your life experience, the things you learned and your natural expertise all culminated to this point?
What's the backstory to your brand?
Action Step #2 - Time-Out
Many people feel pressured to ‘find their why’ and begin pushing or compelling their thinking, rather than letting the purpose find you.
Stressing about having to decide your life purpose is like looking down the barrel of redundancy, divorce or financial ruin. It doesn't need to be that stressful.
Trying to figure out your why with a gun to your head is hopeless.
But, it’s amazing what happens to your brain and how clarity of thought can be created, when you relax.
Taking a break, exercising or simply taking a shower can lead to the most interesting thoughts and clarity of direction.
Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes had his eureka moment in the bath, so could you!
During meditation, beta waves in our brain decrease, enabling it to process much less information. the frontal lobe, used for making decisions, goes AWOL, and the Parietal lobe and Thalamus shut down senses, losing you in space and time.
A bit of quiet time to reflect and allow your emotions to take over your rational brain can be all you need.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate, just let your brain relax and allow clarity to begin. Make note of how you feel as the thoughts enter your brain about your single minded purpose.
Even if you think it's woo-woo, give it a try!
Action Step #3 - Ask
If you are really getting stuck on finding a single minded purpose, start asking those around you for the answer!
The question "What was it that I did for you” is ideal to ask your existing clients if you provide a service.
If they are friends and family, or those who have known you personally for a while. Ask them “How do I make you feel?”.
Action Step #4 - Ease
What do you do with ease that others find difficult?
That is your expert-ease.
If you have been doing what you do for 5 years or more, chances are you are operating on autopilot.
You have forgotten your natural ability to process and progress through the solution you deliver and you assume everyone knows how to do it.
- Real estate agent? Not everyone knows how to sell a house.
- Accountant? Not everyone knows how to complete a tax return.
- Fitness Coach? Not everyone knows how to prepare a balanced meal and fitness plan.
Seriously. These may seem totally simple to you, because you instantly know what to do, why wouldn’t you, you’ve been doing it for years, it’s basic!
And yes, people can learn to do what you do, they just don't have the time. The most valuable currency on the planet right now is time. If you can get someone to a better place in their life faster, they will ask you to do it for them.
Do a brain dump of all the things you know about and stuff you know how to do.
Grab a pad of post-it notes, a pen and the dining room table (a wall works well too).
Just write any topic that you know about about or are naturally good at on each post-it and slap it onto the table until there is nothing left in your brain.
Then arranged the notes into categories. The categories become steps, and now you can develop an over-arching theme that will become your brands core message.
This is the foundation of your unique approach and process.Your USP, the #1 thing you will become famous for.
BONUS Action Step - NO!
Sometimes you why isn't driven by what you do, it's by what you DON'T do. Standing out in the crowd, with a strong personal brand, can be all about what you say no to.
The hearing specialist who doesn't give away free hearing tests, even though the entire industry uses that as a marketing ploy.
The back pain specialist who never uses the words "pain management program" because unlike all the physiotherapists and chiropractors offering ongoing treatments, his focus is on removing the pain.
So what don't you do?
Writing a list of all the things you don't do can clarify the focus on what you do do.
Regardless of how you do it, taking the time to discover your single minded purpose, even though it’s confronting and challenging, can be one of the most rewarding activities you will ever complete.
The clarity and focus alone, makes this exercise worth it and the increase in confidence in your brand value is extraordinary.
After all, the only person you need to convince that you are good enough, is you.