by Gregg Imamoto

When I was asked to write a blog post on acting with purpose, without much thought, my visceral response was “Absolutely.” Since a lot of my business is helping companies and executives build their strategies to achieve their purposes, I figured it should be pretty simple to write an article on something I’m passionate about. But a principle I like to remind clients of is that “simple is hard”, and this post has become a manifestation of that saying. In the days of the typewriter, my crumbled failures to write this blog would be overflowing the wastebasket.

So with a deadline missed, and now desperate to get something submitted, I grabbed Webster’s dictionary in hopes that it would have the makings of a blog post for me.

This is Webster’s self-described simple definition of purpose:

  • the reason why something is done or used: the aim or intention of something;
  • the feeling of being determined to do or achieve something;
  • the aim or goal of a person: what a person is trying to do, become, etc.

As I considered this definition, I realized I lacked even more clarity than I thought about what acting with purpose really means.

In order to gain greater understanding, I decided to use an approach that I use for my business and frame the definition from Webster’s into the form of questions:

  • How intentional am I day to day?
  • How determined am I each and every day to achieve something?
  • How am I doing on my journey to achieve my goal of what I’m to become?

By stepping back and thinking about these questions, many streams of thinking led to convergence in one simple question: Am I determined to be intentional today in order to achieve a goal on my way to becoming the best version of myself?

In a moment of honest reflection, what I realized about myself is that what I might be determined to achieve for the day was not necessarily intentional, and the thought of these as goals on a journey to being my best self was not even a consideration. Most of my days are merely the habit of executing the things that immediately need to get done. Certainly there is prioritization involved, and completing these tasks is intentional and creates some value. But do I consciously connect the dots to include specific goals that push me towards what I want to become? Absolutely not.

Now, as I look back on this experience, I see clearly how these questions derived from the dictionary definition of purpose are very similar to the ones I ask in order to help fix broken companies.

Answering these questions in order will help guide you or your company towards acting with greater purpose:

  1. Whether it’s the vision for a company or the purpose for an individual, what is your big “why”?
  2. Do you have a strategy that incorporates milestones or goals in pursuit of the big “why” that you can strive to achieve every day?
  3. Do you have a dashboard to measure results that will reflect your intentions day to day?

After writing this piece, I have discovered that while I know how to help companies answer these questions, I need to also begin trying to answer them for myself. So starting today, I am mapping out very specific things I want to intentionally achieve that, once crossed off my list, will inform me that I’m moving towards meeting my big “why”. Dare to join me?

Originally posted on the Bulldog Drummond blog.

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