The importance of purpose

Since I created my new ‘digital home’ towards the end of 2014, I spent a lot — and I mean a lot — of time wondering what my first blog post should be about. So much so that I got stuck worrying more about making sure that it was a perfect first post, rather than thinking about what I actually wanted to say in the post.

After reading lots of great advice through the rather brilliant 99u book trilogy, I realised that it didn’t really matter what it was about, I just needed to write something. Something important to me. Something I cared about. Something I wanted to share with the world to make a difference and have an impact.

And during a chat with a friend I had the lightbulb moment —

one of the most important parts of life for me is purpose.

Purpose in my home life. Purpose in my work life. Purpose in everything I do.

My personal purpose

At the start of 2015 I was inspired by the amazingly insightful Keith Yamashita, Chairman of SYPartners, to think about what my personal purpose was in life.

After a bit of reflection, I wrote down what it is.

And then I published it for the world to see.

My personal purpose is “to do life, better”.
My personal purpose — “to do life, better” https://twitter.com/iammichaelwatts/status/542067681592352768

You can find out what this means by reading the How I am aiming to do life better page on my site.

Why did I choose purpose?

Simple — if I don’t understand my purpose I feel lost, I feel vulnerable, and I can’t see what difference I am making.

A couple of years ago I had a period where I lost my purpose at work. Following an internal restructure I joined a new team, I didn’t feel a connection to the work, and I didn’t know what my purpose in that team was. And as a manager of the team, this then started to filter throughout the team. We lost our mojo. We just did the work. We just bounced from one task to another. Never finishing anything. Never being proud of what we were doing. We had conflict. We had confusion. We didn’t seem to know who we were or what we were doing or why we were doing it.

This just caused a vicious cycle. We just kept going round and round not able to break the status quo.

And then over the new year holiday break of that year I spent a lot of time reflecting on what the problem was.

And I realised — it was me.

It was me

I didn’t understand the purpose of me or the team, so the team didn’t understand the purpose of themselves or the team. So I decided that something had to change. I had to understand our purpose. More importantly, I needed to understand my purpose.

It wasn’t easy, but after lots of searching, lots of thinking, and lots of time spent challenging myself, I got to grips with it. Then it dawned on me. The reason I didn’t know my purpose was because I hadn’t put the whole of me in the work. I hadn’t connected with the work. I hadn’t connected with the staff. I wasn’t being me.

So I made a deal with myself — I had to get better. I had to connect with the work. I had to connect with the team. I had to be me. Or I had to leave.

I decide to stay.

The new me

So after the new year period, I went back to work fired up, all pumped up and ready to make a difference.

To help guide me, I set out my purpose at the time -

to be a leader, to lead by example, to make a difference, and to give the team the direction it needed.

And to do that, I needed a plan. I’ll set out what that plan was in my next post.

Here’s to progress.


Find out more

If you want to check out what I’m up to, check out my blog — www.iammichaelwatts.com — where you can find out how to connect with me.

Together, we can do life, better.

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