Know Your Purpose!
In a perfect world, we’d have no reason to doubt. Whatever claims were made, whatever promises were given, we’d believe them with the trust and expectancy of a small, wide-eyed child.
But it’s a fallen world. A broken world. And public trust in business is at an all-time low. So says R. Edward Freeman, a business ethics professor at the Darden School of the University of Virginia. Click on the arrow below to listen to his interview of John Mackey, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market.
Mr. Mackey speaks with conviction. He speaks from the heart.
Businesses must be more than profit machines, he asserts. Public cynicism is deep because business owners’ self-interest is high. Too high. Mr. Mackey has one solution.
Business owners must discover the purpose of their business, communicate that purpose, and live up to that purpose. They must believe it, live it, and design their company culture around it. They must examine how they serve society, and they must strive to “be good.” “You can’t be good,” he says, “if you’re only in it for yourself.”
What’s the purpose of your business? Do you strive to serve others with your heart and soul and mind? Do you wake up in the morning and think, “How much money can I make before sundown?” Or do you wake up and ask yourself first, “Whom can I help? How can I make a difference in somebody’s life today?”
Of course one purpose—or goal—of business must be to maximize profit or we wouldn’t stay solvent. But that’s not a particularly “noble” purpose, says Mr. Mackey. What is the noble purpose…the higher purpose…of your business? What do you do to “be good”?
Have you thought about it?
I help my clients discern their purpose with a high degree of specificity. They discover who they are at their core (their essence), what transformational process they do over and over again to effect positive change in the lives of others (their blessing), the change they’re meant to create in the world (their mission), and the wisdom they’re meant to bring to others (their message).
What are the essence, blessing, mission, and message of your life — and of your business? If you’re in the business of helping others, to be in full integrity, the purpose of your business must be directly related to the purpose of your life. Do you know your life purpose…with specificity? Do you know the purpose of your business?
I’m not talkin’ the 20-minute assessment kind of know-your-purpose. I mean the soul-level, God-calling, full-out passion & perseverance kind of purpose.
Know the purpose of your life. Know the purpose of your business.
If we discover why we’re here and whom we’re meant to serve…
If we put service ahead of self-interest…
If we ardently strive to “do good” and fulfill our noble purpose…
Then public trust will be restored.
And we as business owners will be successful.