Building Purpose and Resilience

3 min read

Two Days. It’s not a lot of time to make life changing decisions, but working on your business – rather than just surviving inside it – is a rare luxury.

15 leaders of creative companies have been journeying with us looking at some of the key facets of their leadership. Recently we had two days in London together. Day one was “You & Your business” with day two looking at “Strategy, Sales & Marketing”.

“What is your purpose?”

This is one of those ‘small’ questions that Mark, co-founder and lead executive coach at Form often asks. In all honesty it’s a massive and deep question that we all need help picking through, so we led the cohort through a process to explore how their purpose might be defined refining it into a meaningful and authentic statement.

The point of trying to come up with an answer to such a big question is because a defined purpose helps us identify whether we are on-track (or off-track!) in doing things every day that are aligned with who we really are.

When we understand this, we can analyse the situations we find ourselves in and operate out of a sense of our “true north”… making changes to re-orient ourselves to function intentionally rather than reactively.

Burying the gut feeling that we’re off-track with our purpose can be a short-term fix, but over the long term being off our purpose or – worse – floating with no defined purpose only grows into discomfort, confusion and numbness.

An example of someone’s purpose they gave was… “Making a meaningful contribution wherever I go”. For them, this is broad enough to fuel how they work in any context, and leads them to the specifics of how they take action and make a difference.

If you were looking to get clearer on your own purpose, explore questions like:

  • What really drives me?
  • What get’s me angry (and then flip that)?
  • What do I strive to see?
  • What have been the patterns of my life over the last decade?

These are all questions that may help you start to define that clear, 10-20 word answer.

Mark said it took 2 years until he really nailed what his purpose is, but it can start with 10 minutes in a journal. It’ll probably feel disjointed, frustrating and slow – but it’ll be a start. A start that – once you get clearer on what your purpose is – leads to more enjoyment, satisfaction and success.

Resilience and “The Framework”

A purpose statement is great but it has to be grounded in the every day of living for it to mean anything tangible. So we moved onto detailing a frameworks that builds greater resilience in the lives of the leaders on the programme. Who doesn’t want to be more resilient?! It’s a key characteristic of a leader to be able to bounce back, because let’s admit it, life does not always follow the plan we have in mind.

Resilience is created through having strong habits build in the key areas of life. For me personally, these areas are Relationships, Finances, Physical Health & Spiritual Life. If any one of these is significantly out of whack then my resilience in the face of trials even in other areas will be significantly reduced.

Building a healthy pattern in my day-to-day and month-to-month ensuring these areas are prioritised means that my overall resilience is increased. If however any of these begin to slip, I’ll begin to be overwhelmed by things I’d usually take in my stride.

What if you were to examine your patterns and make (NB. make… not ‘find’!) space and time for the things that are REALLY important for you. Would the cumulative effect of lots of strong little habits layering on top of each other help you be a better leader? Parent? Spouse? I suspect so.

We’re all working this out and I guess none of us have it all completely figured out. However, hopefully some of the above will help to increase your capacity, deepen your contribution and build the sense of fulfilment you have in going about achieving your goals and leading others.

 

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