With a clear purpose and vision our life and business can soar, and happiness can be at the core.
I just finished reading the book Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, the late CEO of Zappos.com. Zappos is a successful company (purchased by Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion) known for its workplace culture, where happiness is at its core. The last chapter titled “End Game” really struck a chord with me for a number of reasons. Notably, the message lines up with Purpose from the happiness formula in Good Morning, Life!
Interestingly, I’ve also recently been reading lots of articles on what’s been coined “the great resignation”. In 2021 a record number of Americans quit their job. While there are a number of factors contributing to this high rate, a common theme is that workers are reevaluating their life priorities, prioritizing work passion over financial security and want to work for companies that align with their values.
It really emphasizes the importance of a clear end game or purpose for both people and businesses. This will be a two-part blog post: this first part focuses on the end game for us as people, while Part 2 will focus on companies and the link between the two.
What’s my end game?
To get people thinking about their end game, Tony Hsieh would ask them, “What’s your goal in life?” He typically got lots of different answers. Some said they wanted to start a company, some wanted to find a spouse, and others wanted to be healthy. Whatever their goal, he would follow up with “why?” He would ask why again and again after each ensuing response. Eventually the final answer inevitably came down to the same ultimate pursuit: happiness.
At our core, we all want to lead happy lives. Happiness is generally our desired end game.
While we may take different paths, our ultimate goal is the same. Instead of blindly following old behaviour patterns, we can consciously choose actions that help meet our end goal. Without being mindful about our true desired end game it’s easy to veer off our path.
How do I figure out my end game/purpose?
I recently had a speaking engagement where I walked through the happiness formula in our work context. After the session, an attendee told me that in his group’s Zoom breakout room they got into a philosophical discussion about the concept of Purpose. So I thought it’d be helpful to write this post about how we can define our Purpose in a practical way.
Creating a personal vision statement is what helped me define my purpose. I started with a list of questions. Grab a pencil and jot down notes as you ask yourself these questions:
- What are my dream character traits? Choose your top 3 personal character traits that are important to you. You can Google to find a list of character traits from the internet, such as this list.
- What energizes me?
- What did I enjoy doing as a child?
- What differentiates me from others?
- What is one thing I do better than anyone?
- What impact would I like to have on the world?
- What are my most fundamental beliefs?
- What is the greatest thing I want to achieve?
Based on your answers, create a short overarching personal vision statement (1-2 sentences). It should be present tense and action oriented.
Personal vision statement
If it helps to see an example, here is my personal vision statement:
Bring compassion and joy to the world by being authentic, doing my best, and inspiring others to be their best.
Personal vision statements can be easily referred to and mine helps me stay grounded in my purpose when faced with the many daily demands on my energy and time. My vision statement is my North Star, creating alignment between my daily actions and my end game.
My personal vision statement is about how I choose to live. I also have a core purpose statement that focuses more on what I focus my attention on. The what may change over time, so it’s always good to revisit and check in.
If life is a journey, then purpose is a compass that helps us stayDeloitte – Defining Your Purpose Info Graphic
the course. And if you veer off the path, don’t be discouraged.
Replot your course and refocus on what matters most to you.
What’s your purpose?
What’s your purpose/end-game?
By reading or listening to Good Morning, Life!, you’ll discover the secret that happiness is not actually a future end game, it’s for today! Putting off happiness for another day is a dangerous plan. We risk getting to the end of our life and realizing that we ran out of time. Instead of spending our days being happy, we spend our days waiting to be happy.
It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.Eckhart Tolle
Now that we’ve had a chance to dive into what brings meaning to our lives, stay tuned for Part 2. We’ll explore how purpose and happiness can come together in a symbiotic relationship for people and companies resulting in strong business performance.