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Time For A Purpose?

A few years ago, I went to see the movie Hugo – the story of a young boy, who loses both parents at a young age, and ends up living with a drunken uncle in the clock tower of the Paris train station.

The child, Hugo, is fascinated with the complexity and mystery of the clockworks and each day he is careful to do keep the clock in meticulous operating condition. Sometimes late at night in the quiet and lonely hours of darkness, Hugo would go to the glass window of the clock tower and peer out over the sparkling lights of the city below. It was on one of these nights, as he looked out over Paris, he said these words:

“Right after my father died, I would come up here a lot. I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason too.”

“There are no extra parts” – you are here for a reason.

Have you taken time to explore your reason for being?  Have you discovered your personal purpose?

If the answer is no, you are not alone. Very few people have spent the time and effort to explore this question. Almost no one has done this in the workplace.

At Popeyes, we have been encouraging people to take the time to explore the idea of a personal purpose for work. To find an answer to the question – why do you work here? And what difference do you want to make?

I am always amazed at the people who don’t want to spend time on this task. But there are many.

There are people who look up “purpose statement” on the web and see if they can find one they like. In a Forbes on-line article, you can find “Personal Mission Statement of 13 CEOs[1].” Here is a good one – from Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup, Inc.:

“To serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.”

Or you could find a colleague that has a personal purpose and see if it works for you too. Perhaps. . .

“To create secure work environments where people can take risks and explore their full potential.”

Or, like one person at Popeyes, you could copy mine and call the task, “done.”

“To inspire purpose-driven leaders to exhibit competence and character in all aspects of their lives.”

But best of all, you could commit a few hours of time and step through a process to genuinely explore who you are – and how you might use your talents to positively impact the people on your team. . .

If you set aside the time, to go through a process of exploring your life experiences, your values, and your strengths, you might find just the right combination of words to describe your personal purpose. To aid you in this process, we have put our journey to personal purpose exercise on my website at Serving Performs: cherylbachelder.com.

Could you find some time this very month to explore your personal purpose?

You are not an extra part. You are here for a reason.

And when you know your “reason,” you will serve others well.

[1] “Personal Mission Statement of 13 CEOs and Lessons You Need to Learn,” by Drew Hendricks, Nov. 10, 2014, http://onforb.es/1srQH6E

Get more from this week’s question by downloading our companion video discussion guide series.

First Published On November 10, 2015

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