Desire is a natural part of living life as a human being. You want what you want. You want more money and nicer things. These desires are natural. But some people never move past accumulation as their purpose.
Living a life based on accumulation will leave you high, dry, and unfulfilled. I’ve worked with a tremendous number of leaders who had everything their hearts desired but were still chasing ghosts to try to overcome the emptiness they felt inside. That emptiness is the lack of purpose and impact. They might have moved the needle on their organizations and their bank accounts, but since they don’t feel that they moved the needle on humanity, they continue to feel incomplete.
One of my clients has built five businesses, each with a successful leader in place and each profitable. Our discussions often focus on what’s next. I bring the discussion back to creating a more powerful impact in the world, and his mind shifts back to the next business he will open to feel complete. The first five didn’t solve his lack of fulfillment, why would the sixth? He’s missing significance and impact. He is still chasing accumulation and external accomplishment. The only place he’ll find true satisfaction and joy is in creating and connecting to impact the world — through purpose. Each week I work with him and he understands a little more because he keeps trying to live the same life over and over, expecting different results.
Focus On Impact
Too often it takes attaining everything you want to realize that what you have chased led you nowhere except having a lot of stuff. Desire is healthy and should be nurtured, but in order to experience true, lasting joy, you must move past accumulation and accomplishment as your primary focus, and focus on impact.
When you finally determine your purpose and begin to create impact in the world, you shift from a life you have to live to a life you get to live. Then you really start living instead of waiting to die.
What is Purpose?
Your purpose is the reason for your existence. None of us are mistakes or accidents. You are not here by chance or coincidence. You are on purpose. There’s only one of you in the whole world. There was a one in 400 trillion… That’s one in 400,000,000,000,000 chance for you to be born and you made it! You are a miracle! The universe has gifted you with talents and gifts equal to that of any other person. Whether you discover and nurture these talents and gifts — well, that is totally up to you.
During my corporate career, I could identify talent, build teams, and develop individuals and teams at a world-class level. I assembled some of the finest teams I ever witnessed. I also developed some of the sharpest talents on those teams.
I hated all other aspects of my leadership positions. I thought I needed to do the other 1,000 things per day that I didn’t want to do in order to get to do the things I loved — develop people and teams.
I Didn’t Feel Special
I felt so small and insignificant. My thought was that if I could build a team, then anyone could. This talent was not a talent at all, just an average skill. I was wrong. I always felt inadequate because I felt average in everything, but I spotted talent in others. I never thought my talents and gifts were special, but they are. I am blessed — just like you — with an abundance of everything I need to find significance and create impact on this planet.
When I recognized that I didn’t understand my talents and gifts, I reflected on the success I had, and what skills I used to create that success. Coaching, teaching, and inspiring others to see the power of their talents and abilities were the fuel that created all of my prosperity, success, and results. That’s when I realized that I had been blind to my true gifts all along.
Define Your Purpose
I sat with a mentor and we talked about purpose. Our conversation centered around the things I loved to do, and the impact I’d like to make in the world. I came to understand that purpose is simply the impact we want to have in the world, and the way we want to positively change society, so our impact is felt for generations. The butterfly effect demonstrates that the simplest action impacts everything else. So when we set out to create a significant impact, the effects will be felt for centuries. The question is: what unique impact do we want to make before we make our last exhale?