When answering this question we have been inspired by our work with Deri Llewellyn- Davies, who developed a tool he called Strategy on a Page (SOAP) aimed at helping business owners to scale.
Deri argues that there are four elements to an individual’s personal purpose:
In this blog and the next in our series we shall look some simple ways of clarifying each of these in turn.
What’s Your Passion?
We believe that the first thing that defines a 4th Sector Entrepreneur is a passion for social justice. Sometimes this is general that then becomes focused on something specific and sometimes it starts with the specific.
So what are you passionate about? What is it that you truly care about? What is it that you truly love to do? Hopefully, there are things we’re all passionate about in our personal lives – but what about life at work? What really floats your boat – and what sinks it?
Passion generates energy and commitment and imagination, while a lack of passion does the exact opposite. Lack of passion means the desire to contribute and create value are effectively locked down – and that goes against the very purpose of having a 4th Sector enterprise in the first place.
So as a leader you have to be honest and clear about where your passion lies. Or even if you really have it at all where and when it’s needed.
As Deri notes:
“You have to have passion… That’s what gets you through the dark times, that’s actually your competitive advantage in a lot of cases… And I mean everybody in the organisation having that passion, there’s no excuses for that. And I think that’s fudged. I think a lot of people go, Yeah, oh we love what we do. Well, really?”
If you’re not loving what you do and you’ve lost your passion, it’s either because you built the wrong thing in the first place or you’re doing a load of stuff you shouldn’t be doing.
If that is the case, you need to do something about it. Fast.
What Lifestyle Do You Want?
Big question – what kind of life do you want to live and are you actually living it?
Yes, we all know that work isn’t everything – or shouldn’t be. But if you have a passion for what you do, plus a strong sense of responsibility – and a lot of people running enterprises do – work can just expand until it seems to take up, well, your every waking moment. That’s rarely healthy. External pressure inevitably increases and things can easily start to slide. Everywhere.
So it’s in the interests of all busy leaders, the organisations they lead and the customers they serve to get the balance between work, home life, friends and outside interests absolutely right.
You can only do this by being clear about what things are truly important to you. And this means not just talking about them but writing them down as set out in the following exercise.
Spend 10 minutes physically writing down what you’ve actually spent your time doing this last week. Have a look at your diary and count the hours for each activity, including at the weekends. How do you feel about what you see?
Now write down the things you’d like – or love – to be doing, but aren’t. How many hours would you devote to those activities – if you could…?
Is there a disparity between the life you’re living and the life you want to live? Is your work moving you closer to that life or further away? And if it’s the latter, what specific things need to change?