Higher Purpose in Business
Break a million dollars. Outperform your competitor’s product. Write a best-selling book. Land a star client. Add zeros to your income.
For business success, we’re taught to set goals that make us money.
I do love money. But it is not happiness (sort of). There have been lots of studies that examine the threshold of how much money we need to be happy. A Princeton University study reports that when we make $75,000 per year, we’re happy - but making any amount more than that doesn’t necessarily increase happiness.
But there’s a twist. While making above $75,000 per year will not impact your general day-to-day mood (your daily feelings of stress, anxiety, joy, sadness, and so on) it can raise deeper existential life satisfaction and give you the feeling that your life is working out.
On the surface, outperforming your competitor’s product or breaking a million dollars is not that deep of a goal by itself. You’re better than someone. You’re worse than someone. That’s an endless and dissatisfying loop. Big goals and big numbers might juice up your motivation, but in a grander sense, it’s not that moving. If you want to feel a deeper sense of life satisfaction and personal meaning, your business goals have got to tap into something deeper and emotionally driven.
Aspirations are different than goals. They point to a higher purpose, a social and emotional reason for existing. Aspirations are your vision for transformation that you want to lead in the world, and that is also aligned to your business objectives.
Aspirations not only move you, they move everyone around you to support your vision. Your team members, clients, potential clients, family, and media rally around your idea and vision to transform the world.
Your aspirations make others willing to change their behaviors and actions to align to your vision. This is huge.
For a solopreneur, that could mean the difference between hoping you get a new client to buy your product - to having a message, brand, and solution that inspires others to engage with your work. Your exponential and viral satisfaction leads to growth.
For a larger company, that’s the difference between trying to improve performance through measures and agreements and awkward trainings - to having a greater purpose that taps into your employees’ emotions. That shift will transform your organization into a collection of people who fully own their part in driving your company’s purpose. Again, your exponential and viral satisfaction leads to growth.
Having and sharing your company’s higher purpose not only creates massive accountability and higher personal standards for everyone (including you), it also turns everyone (including you) into an evangelist for your company. You, your clients, team members, leaders, colleagues, and others in your community will be excited by what you are creating, and share that within their respective worlds.
So if you or your team members are looking at spreadsheets all day trying to figure out how to make improvements, great - data is hot. Robots, AI, yes - it’s the future. It’s now. But the way to connect to your higher purpose is to connect to people.
Your higher purpose and your company’s story already exist. All you have to do is listen to understand. Ask questions, get curious, listen, notice what you hear, learn about who you are. Your curiosity, self-awareness, and understanding of others will guide you to surface the purpose that is already there.
When you see your higher purpose, then the magic can begin. Infuse your higher purpose in all that you do. Tell your purpose over and over again. Love it. Share it. Integrate it into your systems, communications, branding, processes, business direction, goals, customer experience, and beyond.
I have worked with many successful entrepreneurs and business leaders who love and repeat their higher purpose over and over again. It is deceptively brilliant. Your ideas and messages might not be that seismic. In fact, they’re usually not.
But when you fully own it, live it, and embody it, your message will become your own transformation and the transformation that your followers want to join. Your purpose tells you who you are and who you are not, and your actions, conversations, and offerings align to that. You can drop what’s not aligned.
Know your higher purpose in your business, and once you do that, feel free to look at a few spreadsheets from time to time.