In a time of change, spending time to uncover your purpose and values might seem like a distraction from the urgent priorities we all face. But finding them will bring you eight major benefits.
1. Better Results
The more clearly you have defined your purpose and values, the better you will be able to focus your resources on what matters and ignore what doesn’t. Inner clarity leads to outer results.
2. More Motivation
People who know their purpose and values are more able to keep going in the face of obstacles and negative feedback. The clearer you are on what is important to you, the less other people’s criticism or disapproval will matter. “I know this is what matters to me, and this is how I choose to behave in the world, irrespective of whether anybody else agrees with me, approves of me, or tries to stop me.”
3. Fewer Problems and Distractions
Winston Churchill said, “You will never reach your destination if you stop to throw stones at every dog that barks.” If you know your purpose and values then each time an issue arises you can ask yourself whether it is relevant to that purpose and values. If it is then it is a priority for you. If it isn’t then ignore it — it is someone else’s fight.
4. Clearer Opportunities
As you move towards your vision many opportunities will arise. Do you have the time and resources to pursue them all?
Knowing your purpose and values will help you decide which are truly opportunities for you and which are distractions.
5. Clearer Outcomes
Once you have chosen to engage with an issue, your purpose and values provide a shorthand to quickly identify the outcomes you seek. What would the outcome look like if your purpose and values were being upheld?
(And when you know more quickly what you want to create you free up time and resources to focus on how to achieve that.)
6. A Greater Feeling of Control
In a world of constant change everything can seem to be out of control. How can you expect to control anything unless you have the resources of a billionaire, a president, or a CEO? But when you become that billionaire, president, or CEO you find you have so much more at stake, and so many more issues to contend with, that you aren’t really in control then either. Nobody is.
The only thing we can control is ourselves.
Knowing our purpose and values gives us a focus that enables us to choose our behaviour, choose what we engage with, and how. This is true power.
In a churning world, where everything is unpredictable, the greatest control we can hope to achieve is to work on an opportunity that inspires us, in line with our overall purpose and values. Achieving this is what Inner Leadership is all about.
7. Immediate Results
Peter Drucker said that success was not only about finishing but about finishing well. Your future vision has two parts: the results you will create and the culture you will live by once that vision is achieved.
When you live according to the values of that culture now, you immediately achieve half your vision. The tangible results you seek then become easier to achieve as well.
8. More Freedom, Flexibility, and Adaptability
When the way forward you have chosen is just one way of achieving your wider purpose it becomes easier to adapt when events turn out differently from how you expected. You simply make sense of the new situation and find a new opportunity to pursue: one that is still in line with your purpose but fits better with the way events have actually turned out. You recover more quickly from setbacks and become more flexible to changing circumstances.
In a churning world, knowing your purpose brings you continuity and stability.
Spending the time to define your purpose and values brings you focus, motivation, adaptability, and results.
Adapted from Inner Leadership.