Knowing Your Purpose – The First Step To Success
When I was younger, I used to see success differently than I do today. I would look at someone I admired and want to be them. As a young man in high school studying theatre, I wanted to be Robert Redford or even Henry Winkler. When I started as a professional magician, I dreamed of being David Copperfield. Anyone who has met me will tell you that I would never be any of these men, but it was my idea of success.
Many of us picture success as looking like someone else — and we can’t be someone else. And we shouldn’t even want to be. If we try to become like other people, we wouldn’t be successful. We would, at best, be a bad imitation of them, and we would eliminate the possibility of becoming the person we were meant to be. Obviously, I could never be Redford, Winkler, or Copperfield and if I had tried, I would never have become who I am.
As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself, Everyone else is already taken”. When we try to be somebody else, we rob the world of who we are. Take a few minutes right now to write out your personal definition of success. What would need to happen for you to consider yourself a success? Write it out on a post-it note and stick it in the book here. Here is my definition of Success. I adopted this from my mentor, author and leadership Guru, John Maxwell. It is. . . Knowing our purpose in life, Growing to reach our maximum potential, andSowing seeds that benefit others.
We can see by this definition why success is a journey rather than a destination. No matter how long we live or what we decide to do in life, we will never exhaust our capacity to grow toward our potential, nor will we run out of opportunities to help others. When we see success as a journey, then we will never have the problem of trying to “arrive” at some elusive final destination. And we’ll never find ourselves in a position where we’ve accomplished some final goal - only to discover that we are still unfulfilled and searching for something else to do.
William Barclay is credited with saying, “There are two great days in a person’s life - the day we are born, and the day we discover why”.
For 20 years I ran a very successful professional land surveying business. I was in partnership with two others and we were the premier Land Surveying firm in Manitoba. I made some pretty good money and by the world's standards I would be considered successful. But for some reason I was unhappy in this position. I wanted something more. I had met a number of my goals. I had completed college with a degree in surveying. I had articled and written and passed all of my professional exams.
I had been commissioned as a Manitoba Land Surveyor, and, I was an owner in a very successful firm. I was successful. I had met my goals but I wanted more. I wanted my life to have significance. I longed to entertain, inspire, and educate others. I could not do this from within my Land Survey firm. I was very good at what I did. But it was no longer my passion. I discovered my passion was in helping others live their passion. I needed to move from success to significance. This is what I was born to do. So, how do we find our purpose in life"?
Jim Collins in his book "Good to Great - Why Some Companies Make the Leap. . . and Others Don't" describes the HEDGEHOG concept. The hedgehog principal is based upon an ancient Greek parable that states: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. ”Isaiah Berlin in his famous essay describes the hedgehog concept this way.