As a business owner, have you considered that you’re also a leader? You lead your clients towards a solution, using a methodology that you have tried and tested.
A leader approaches work a little differently. For example, ideas like their mission, vision and purpose take significant priority for them.
Under the microscope the word purpose, at least initially, seems a little hard to pin down.
Purpose means that you are running a business for a clear reason. The business was borne from the spark of an idea, where your heart skipped a beat at the thought of seeing it come to life and impacting others.
To be purpose-driven means that at the start of each day, you know what you are here to do and why. Answering the call invites you to make decisions that align with that purpose. You are unique, and labeling that uniqueness with your purpose makes it easy for others to self-select themselves in, or out.
Clarity Coach | Author | TEDx Speaker
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Purpose addresses the question – why does the business exist? What is its reason for being? Microsoft released a study where a person’s attention span is now just 8 seconds – less than a goldfish. You haven’t got long to communicate an idea, have it land on the other side, and inspire people to act.
Have you noticed when you visit a website that you click to the About Us page quickly, if this ‘reason for existence’ question has not been addressed on the homepage? What’s happening here is you’re seeking an answer to ‘why should I buy from you? You need that answer and reasonably fast, or you’ll click away.
Can you answer this pertinent question succinctly, with heart, and transfer that feeling quickly to another? Can you describe ‘your juice’ in a tweet?
“You can only be courageous if you’re clear.”
For example, my purpose is to focus on what really matters (and I’m on a mission to capture who you really are, not just what you look like.)
It’s that simple. If you don’t like it, that’s fine, we probably aren’t a great fit. But if you do like it, then you know what I’m going to be looking for right from the start, with the camera as the tool of choice. You know why I exist, whether I take your photo or not.
As your photographer, if you can let me see how what you do lights you up, energises you, keeps you awake at night, how important ‘this thing’ is that you’re doing, and why it simply must be done, then I’m hooked, I’m engaged, you’ve won me over, you’ve touched my heart, I’m plugged in, I’m connected…in artist-speak…I’m inspired. I’m in-spirit – it means you’ve reached in and touched my spirit. You’ve led the way for me to follow.
Aristotle, who lived almost 2500 years ago and whose books are still available to buy today, teaches us that to be successful as a leader requires an equal balance of Logos – your facts and figures, Ethos – your personal credibility, and Pathos – your impact at an emotional level with your audience.
They – your market – due to your diligence will probably be well-versed in your facts and credibility – your what and how…they may not know it consciously, but they seek the missing piece, your pathos, your why. They want a deep, good, rich reason to buy from you. They want to be inspired. And according to Simon Sinek, the most enduring companies present this first, not last. Starting with why is paramount.
“You have to be present to be clear. But even then it’s uncertain because you can’t know the unpredictable, the opportunities and challenges that appear at 90 degrees. That can be exhausting and exhilarating. I’m present with my grandchildren, but children throw the book at you in terms of certainty and you have to go with that.”
By default, if you are pressing forward with your vision and moving others to come with you, you are leading. It may not feel like it. We tend to imagine leadership in larger than life terms. Think John Lennon or Nelson Mandela. They had big profiles, notoriety, controversy, reach and ultimately, impact.
Leadership is about having a message, communicating it well and moving others to follow.
It can happen at a micro level in a playground with one child who decides ‘let’s have fun’ and then directs their group of playmates in a game. The playmates fall into line and follow the leader. The leader self-nominates, not with the goal to be the leader, but to have their vision or message expressed, heard and acted upon. They become the leader by default.
“There’s clarity of vision that happens in a single brave moment like diving in to save someone drowning. It’s a one-off. For ongoing courage, you need sustained clarity. You can’t sustain courage if you’re in a mess. It only comes with clarity.”
In 2001 Harvard Business School addressed what makes a great leader. The core finding was that communication is the key. Knowing who you’re talking to, which questions to ask and speaking to them in a language they understand, are the hallmarks of successful communication. You might have a great idea, but if you can’t communicate it clearly, have it heard and acted upon, then you’ve lost them.
Having your communication heard and acted upon means you have successfully connected at a human level. Humans are hard-wired for connection. In his book Social, social neuro-scientist Matthew Lieberman states that our need to connect is even more fundamental than our need for food or shelter. Pain and pleasure are the primary drivers for human behaviour and we more naturally move away from pain than towards pleasure, as a matter of survival. By the age of ten a child has invested 10,000 hours in how to fit in and have friends, because to be socially disconnected means death.
“It’s courageous to get and sustain clarity because it means you’re constantly questioning ‘is this best?’. People who have clarity of purpose and principles are always in forward motion.”
When your message is heard, really heard and understood at that deeper, human level, it means you’ve connected. You’ve reached into their heart and touched them. Once you’re in, you’re in. Now, they are listening and are engaged. Now, they are feeling your passion. This is emotional, it’s not rational anymore. It just feels right, but they don’t know why. When it feels right, people act. People buy on emotion. Do you want them to buy?
Be the leader. Share your purpose. Inspire them. Connect with them. Influence them to act.
It’s not about selling anymore, but simply, inviting.
How will you do all this, in 8 seconds or less?
Show them why.
A picture speaks 1000 words – it’s a cliché for a reason.
Wear your heart on your sleeve? Yes, actually.
Show them who you really are, not just what you look like. It will give you the edge.
“I’m sometimes fearful of uncertainty, but I try to embrace it. As an older person I have some weight of experience behind me, so I can remind myself that the worst has never actually happened, that what I thought would be the worst was never the worst. Time spent wondering ‘what if’ around what could happen is such an energy drainer.”
More on Sandy McDonald, Clarity Coach is here.
“Beth has a unique approach to recording the essence of who you are with her photography, which is why her photos are real. If you don’t want to be shown as the real you, then she is not your photographer. She photographed me for my TEDx Melbourne biography and I have used the same photograph on the cover of my book. It speaks to exactly who I am.
I highly recommend seeking Beth out if you want a photograph of yourself that does so much more than just a portrait.”