Find Purpose: 2nd Key to Great Results

When you find purpose, you begin to build a bridge to the future you want.

Clearly Define Your Purpose:
Create a Bridge to the
Future You Want

“Great minds have purposes; others have wishes.”

Washington Irving
Washington Irving was an American writer, biographer, historian, and diplomat of the early 19th century. He is best known for his short stories “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”.

“When you establish a destination by defining what you want, then take physical action by making choices that move you towards that destination, the possibility for success is limitless and arrival at the destination is inevitable.”

Steve maraboli; Life, the truth, and being free
Steve Maraboli mini-bio via

This may seem unbelievable: 

Humans are often confused about what they’re actually supposed to do.

As a coach, I see it in my clients a lot. In business, I see it often in team members.

Sure, people don’t like to admit it, but we’re often operating at the outside edges of our confidence, qualifications, or capabilities.

There’s even a condition related to this: impostor syndrome.

It’s this tendency to feel uncomfortable that keeps us retreating back to our comfort zone.

Retreating back to our comfort zone keeps us stuck in the patterns and routines of our past. When we stay there, growth and new results become difficult or impossible.

With that in mind, I want to applaud you for being here and reading this.

You’ve taken an amazing step that many people will not:

You’re out on the skinny branches, and taking on something completely new.

Congratulations and kudos to you!

What is the real goal?

People often disagree about how to do a job

Even where an initiative is well-defined and believed well-operated, there is often a fair amount of variance in understanding and belief, between people with the same job, about how to do the job.

Rarely is a model or procedure for how to do a job clearly defined and agreed on by the people who do that job.

  • As evidence, have you ever talked to customer support for a company, not gotten the result you wanted, then called back and had a completely different experience?
  • For another example, just look at how many diet and weight loss plans exist, then consider how many of their customers don’t keep weight off over time. (Most people don’t keep off the weight after they lose it.)
  • Even among people paid similarly to do the same job, even when they agree about what’s important, there may be wild variances in approach and productivity between and among the people who do a known job.

In many operating businesses, ask an expert if documentation exists, and if it exists, they’ll often say yes, (but)…

  • “Yes, documentation exists, but it’s not really correct.”
  • “Yes, documentation exists, but you can’t really do it that way.”
  • We do it differently now: there’s a better way, or the approach has actually changed.

Innovation is painful

Find purpose quickly, or you are going nowhere.

“Until you ‘figure out what success means’ to you personally and to your organization, leadership is an almost ‘pointless conversation'”

–Peter Drucker
By Jeff McNeill -, CC BY-SA 2.0,
Peter Drucker is an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, who has been described as “the founder of modern management”.

If that’s how it goes when there’s a known job, expected results, and people are experienced in doing the job, think how it can go when there seems to be a clear goal, but there are no established means of accomplishing it, and maybe only an outline of the approach (the plan) to get there.

Help teams build a bridge to high performance

As You Find Purpose, it becomes critical to:

  • Ensure everyone knows where the buck stops when it comes to determining what are the desired results.
  • Thoughtfully describe the intended operational outcomes of an initiative, so it’s possible to know when we’re approaching them.
  • Define, as clearly as possible, metrics that will be used to assess whether an intended goal is achieved, so we can know when we’ve won.
  • Draft descriptions, specifications, models, and designs that explicitly describe the intended outcomes of the initiative.

Sometimes it’s necessary to build a model, or a product, or tools, or processes associated with fulfilling an initiative. In these cases, it’s important to specify the desired result and how we expect to meet it.

At this early point in the process of innovation, we’re often operating on a theory. We may not really know.

Nevertheless, it’s important to start somewhere, test results, and adjust from there.

As you Find Purpose, do it sustainably

Approach it from your playful place. It helps to stay unattached to the outcome, and open to any result. When we do this, we can stay objective about what works and keep it, see what isn’t working and change it.

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

–Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra By Unknown - Baseball Digest, front cover, September 1956 issue. [1], Public Domain,
Yogi Berra was an American professional baseball catcher, who later took on the roles of manager and coach. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest catchers in baseball history.


People often aren’t sure what to do, where exactly they’re going, or they’re not clear about the plan to get there.

As you begin any undertaking:

  1. take some time to clearly define the goal(s),
  2. ensure other participants in the initiative understand the goal(s),
  3. create a clear, common (shared) plan about how the goal(s) will be achieved,
  4. work together (collaborate) with your team members to build the plan and do the work,
  5. stay aligned with your teammates, by taking regular opportunities to check-in and ensure a shared understanding of what you’re doing, where you’re going, how you’re getting there, and where you are right now.


  1. Review the lesson on Power, for more resolve and encouragement in this area (this link will open in a new window).
  2. Write short answers to the following questions in your PowerBoard:
    1. Name something you see now that you didn’t see before.
    2. What is one thing you can begin to put to use immediately?


You now have at least one more new piece of information and one more thing you can put to use immediately in your life.

Next: Click here and Find Purpose

Click the Links Above:
Review the Lesson on Power, then
Clearly Define Your Purpose

More Information

Photo Credits

Tags: , , , ,

Hi, I’m Dylan Cornelius. I’ve spent my career helping Fortune 500 companies build custom products and change the lives of their employees and customers. Now I teach business owners how to manage change like best businesses. Get great results, and change your life with product development, continuous improvement, and agile management practices. Not only does it help at work, it works for self development, life problems, fitness plans, and chronic illness. In graduate school, I concentrated in “Management of Innovation” — after all, I worked in Silicon Valley, and I’d grown up just down the road! It was there I learned we don’t have to work so hard! We don’t have to rely on trial and error or hope, we don’t have to settle for less than we really want, and, most of all, we deserve to have advantages just like the big companies. There’s a better way to get great results and change your life. Let me show you how to manage change like the best businesses. Get great results and change your life with product development, continuous improvement, and agile management practices.

Reduce overtime and avoid burnout

Reduce overtime and avoid burnout

Reclaim work-life balance so you can

focus on fitness, friendships, and fun.

Get my Ultimate Team Collaboration Accelerator

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.