An image of Patty Rodriguez

Guest post by Patty Rodriguez, author, producer and co-founder of Lil’ Libros press.

The greatest companies are led by visionaries. A visionary leader must have the passion and purpose to inspire and align their team toward reaching long-term goals.

But what is purpose, and how do we find it? You have no idea how many times I get asked that question by early entrepreneurs.

So, I ask: What excites you every day? What do you look forward to when you wake up in the morning? What drives you to your daily actions? What is your why?

And many times, answering those questions is not as easy as it may seem.

To know our why or purpose is to have a clear understanding of our role as a human and a leader. Without understanding your why, it is nearly impossible to grow both personally and professionally. Which is why being able to articulate your why is the most crucial undertaking for the growth of you and your business.

Finding your purpose is not easy, but we’ll start by defining what purpose is. Your purpose is what makes you uniquely you—that magic that fuels inside you and inspires you to act and grow.

Purpose is not taught at school; it doesn’t come with your bachelor’s degree. Your why is not inherited from your ancestors or your parents. It is not what society wants you to be or what you think you should be. To put it frankly, it is who you cannot help being.

And that is the magic behind your purpose because only you can gift that gift to the rest of us.

Leading with purpose as your compass is what separates a leader from a visionary.

But why is it important?

Leading with purpose and passion for a cause

Most entrepreneurs are solving a problem, and most times that problem is personal. Take Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder of Bumble. After bad dating experiences, she decided to create a safe space for women. A space where women can send the first message. “Honestly, my ambition comes from abusive relationships,” Wolfe Herd told TIME magazine the night before becoming a billionaire and the youngest woman ever to take a company public.

Without Whitney’s passionate desire to not only end the painful dating cycle she had gone through but to also shield other women from living similar experiences, we would be telling a different story for Bumble.

Increase team engagement through leadership

Energy is contagious. A purpose-driven leader will not only inspire a team with their words but also with their actions.

Former Zappos founder, the late Tony Hsieh, would sit at a desk the same size and model as that of his employees. When asked why, a Zappos spokesperson said, "Everyone at Zappos is all here for the same goal, so it only makes sense that we can connect with each other whenever we need to. I cannot really think of another way for a CEO to be more transparent than to have this very open-door policy."1

Purpose helps keep your goals right in front of you

One company I admire dearly is Melissa & Doug, a manufacturer of wooden puzzles and educational toys. For years, Melissa and Doug focused solely on creating wooden puzzles. Then they moved on to other educational toys and puzzles but always with their purpose front and center: to make products with simple concepts that inspire creative thinking and discovery.

Critics would say that a business that does not embrace new technologies is setting itself up for failure, but Melissa & Doug has stayed true to its purpose and continues to grow and inspire.

You see, clearly defining your purpose and pairing it with action will help build a company that helps make the world a better place and bring meaning to you and your team. So, make time for an honest conversation with yourself and ask these questions:

  • What excites you every day?
  • What do you look forward to when you wake up in the morning?
  • What drives you to your daily actions?
  • What is your why?

You may not find all the answers today, but with a frequent effort of asking yourself these questions, you will be on your way to build a purpose-driven company.

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