Dialing in to what matters
Passion and Purpose are recursive – the pursuit of either leads to the other and each is dependent on the other for its existence. The question posed to me was which comes first.
Passion usually seems to be the hook, but it is the realization of purpose that everything engage in you so you are able to activate it in your life and work.
That realization of a sense of purpose must resonate within you for the passion to be fueled. Something in the purpose makes you aware of the passion.
In short, my answer is Purpose comes first, at least for anything lasting.
The great book, Flow by difficult-to-pronounce, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, does a great job of detailing how you get to that state of passion or “Flow” he describes as “joy, creativity, the process of total involvement with life.”
In your own life, you probably recognize what Mihaly says to be true, that we find ourselves in this state when our attention is wholly focused on and invested in the pursuit of realistic goals.
Goals. That implies purpose.
A key characteristic of being in the flow or on purpose, is that you order your attention and direct thinking and actions. Your mind and energy are working in an ordered way, a way designed and constructed with the intent of achieving the goal.
This ordering sifts out everything irrelevant to your goal and makes it fade into the background. More than that, it turns your obstacles into challenges.
When your goal is backed by a sense of purpose, if there is a higher or grander meaning underpinning the goal, the obstacle do not get the better of you. When you have a big “Why” for your goal:
- Instead of being stumped, floored, or disappointed in something, you get curious. How to overcome this? What to try next? You have a realization, a moment, in which you realize that it is up to you to choose your reaction.
- Rather than feeling defeated by a failure, you feel motivated to find a different solution. It becomes your quest – and you don’t give up on a quest.
- When something threatens what you are working toward, you are ready to defend or fight for it. It becomes the dragon you, the hero, need to conquer.
Each time you succeed in overcoming of whatever comes up to frustrate or stall you, it gets banked in your “passion savings account.” Every triumph, no matter how small, enhances your feeling of being in control and fuels a sense of wellbeing that gives you momentum.
Now I want to focus on what this means for something that is my passion: Your brand.
Most business owners do their planning – what they are selling, how much, to whom, how, and by when. Many forget, however, to really examine and hook into the “Why” behind those goals.
Strategic thinkers know their brand is the embodiment of their “Why.” It stands for something other than a name, a product or service. It stands for the true value people get when they buy or invest in whatever it is you sell.
Your brand should demonstrate your “Why” in a way that is meaningful to your customer. When people get and value that special purpose behind your brand, they have reason to choose you (read more here) over your competition.
If they value it enough, it even makes the competition irrelevant. You become the only option.
There are 3 main reasons we business owners don’t put our brands out there in a vital and vibrant way:
- It feels too personal and we don’t want to feel that exposed.
- We are not tuned into or do not appreciate the true value of our gifts – don’t understand how different, unique, or special it is and how much others appreciate it.
- We are too focused on short term results to take the time to excavate the psychological power we are able to generate, for ourselves and our customers.
Brands that foster emotional engagement generate significantly higher returns – higher prices, more word of mouth, greater loyalty.
You can’t get that kind of emotional engagement from your brand without infusing a whole lot of emotional engagement into it.
- Putting time into effective planning for what you do makes you a good business owner.
- Putting time into the psychological value of what you offer makes you a good brand owner.
Which are you? A business owner or a brand owner?
How you spend your time can tell you which way you lean.