This is an excerpt from my forth-coming book with Hendre Coetzee, Shiftability: Creating a Sustainable Competitive Advantage in Selling which will be released in early 2017. Sign up for my email newsletter on the homepage to receive more information about Shiftability.
Mark Twain said, "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why."
Wondering why we are here is fundamental to the human condition. It’s a profound moment when we start to catch a glimpse of just what our purpose might be. This discovery is the starting point of living an intentional life aligned to your purpose.
Many authors wiser than we are have written extensively on the notion of personal purpose and living a purposeful life. There’s a lot to be said – more than we will attempt to cover here. But there are a few points we would like to make.
As a sales professional your sense of individual purpose is central to your success and effectiveness. If you don’t have an understanding of your own purpose, you need to take the time to identify and define it for yourself. Understanding your purpose is not just a process of discovery and recognition; it’s also a process of declaration and decision.
For some there is an obvious natural gifting and calling to be stepped into. For the rest of us, purpose is more about choices and determining how we want our story to play out. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich wrote, “What a different story men would have to tell if only they would adopt a definite purpose and stand by that purpose until it had time to become an all-consuming obsession!”
We like this simple diagram that illustrates how the different spheres of your existence overlap and intersect. In this perspective your purpose is found at the intersection of your passion, mission, profession and vocation.
These are some common elements of individual purpose:
- Fulfilling work (and the greatest fulfillment often comes from serving)
- Providing for self/family
- Learning and Growing
- Reaching personal potential
- Leaving a legacy
- Making a difference
This last point brings us back to Spence and Rushing’s definition of purpose being a statement made about the “difference we are trying to make in the world.”
Jackie Robinson said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
What kind of difference do you want to make? This is a question you should ask both personally and professionally – because you can make a difference as a sales professional.