You know, when you retire you do have more time on your hands and much more time to think. As many of you know, I enjoy summer evenings on my deck where there is no shortage of reading material and time to think. Late the other evening I came upon an essay that was shared with me when I turned 65. Entitled, “And Then it Was Winter,” it provides a perspective on life as one looks back. As I read the essay again, the golfer in me snagged one of the thoughts, “But, here it is… the back nine of my life….” As a golfer, I know you can play the back nine better than you did the front nine. In fact I usually shoot a better back than front. That being said, I started to think about my “Life’s Purpose” during this back nine. Hence the focus for this week’s newsletter.
The idea of “ Purpose” was considered this week at Harvard’s commencement. Speaker Mark Zuckenberg, to his parents’ delight, finally received his degree, an Honorary Doctor of Laws. In his Commencement Speech Zuckenberg shares insight into his years at Harvard and the beginnings of Facebook. He reflects that the early years were difficult, “Relationships were so frayed that within a year or so every single person on the management team was gone. That was my hardest time leading Facebook. I believed in what we were doing, but I felt alone and worse, it was my fault…….Now years later I understand that is how things work with no sense of higher purpose”. Zuckenburg then identifies three ways individuals can contribute to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose:
- By taking on big meaningful projects together
- By redefining equality so that everyone has the freedom to pursue purpose
- By building community across the world
He leaves them with a challenge to embrace, “Class of 2017, you are graduating into a world that needs purpose, It’s up to you to create it!
“Purpose” has also changed when we look at it from a business perspective. Writing in GreenBiz, Mike Tower examines, The Rise of the Purpose-Driven Business. He begins by stating, “The old-school notion that being purpose-driven requires non-profit status has given way to the concept of the purpose-driven business, which focuses on identifying a societal need, then working to fill that need.” He uses Henry Ford as an example of the first CEO who put purpose alongside profit . He then examines Mission vs. Purpose and provides sample statements for each from three companies; Starbucks, Johnson/Johnson, and Patagonia. So what is your organization’s purpose?
Let’s end by considering Purpose from a personal perspective. Ben Angel, author of Flee 9-5 and a contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine considers the challenge of finding purpose in his video, “How to Find Your Life Purpose”. He contends that finding it is a process of experimentation, self-exploration and never-ending pruning. He states, “Most of us know what our purpose is, we’re just to scared to claim it. Embrace the Challenge and Claim your Purpose
Have a great week!