Leadership on Purpose – Beginning

Leadership on Purpose – Beginning

Posted on 26. Jul, 2011 by in 1 Leadership

While I’m vacationing, I’m sharing some of the posts I wrote for other top leadership blog sites. This is first of two posts that I wrote for Lead Change Group. Friend and courageous, passionate founder, Mike Henry Sr, started the site to advocate the growth and importance of character-based leadership.  I’m one of many contributing bloggers for this excellent site. It’s worth checking it out. Small shameless plug.

The reality is forces exist to malign your leadership to mediocrity. Steven Pressfield and Seth Godin call it Resistance. And Resistance is alive in the endless chatter in our heads.  Mediocrity is also what we achieve when we go with what’s popular despite every inch of our soul screaming to go to unexplored, lesser-known paths. Why do we let our leadership slip and become mundane? Common?  Stale?

In a rat-race world the stakes are high to do something. It’s easy to become distracted.  We slip into sleepy, anything-leadership.  Left unexplored is contribution-driven leadership that comes from the core of our purpose, something real. Something completely authentic that it makes us uncomfortable.  Something that the naysayers might criticize.  We retreat and lead safely. Forgettable.


…amidst the doubt and fear your crazy, beautiful, brilliant leadership is ready to reveal itself. To unleash its influence, to achieve that outcome you’ve romanticized in your head a million times.

We need your crazy, beautiful, brilliant leadership today. I’ll leave it to Steven and Seth to explore the Resistance and how to overcome it. They do it so beautifully.

Instead, I want to share four core areas of Leadership on Purpose.  We all need to unleash these influences to lead our team, volunteers, and companies to achieve that something you’ve run like a movie in your head a million times. That idea that touches, moves, inspires, and motivates people and sparks action. We need your leadership to leave its mark on those in your life. On the world.

2 Core Areas of Leadership on Purpose

Values – Laser-sharp clarity on what drives you to make a difference in this world is a must. In today’s world of input overload, you must have a strong compass that guides your thoughts and actions. It was once said, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Your values become a guiding light in those moments of conflict and ambiguity. Your values support your life purpose. When you know your values and use them to guide your leadership, your actions and your interactions, you’ll not fall for anything, or at least less often.

Life Purpose – Leadership is about people. Leadership is about supporting the good of all. These two tenants of leadership humble us when we allow them to guide our decisions. How we invite others to contribute.  More importantly, they are central to Leading on Purpose – our life’s purpose.  What does a leader’s life purpose have to do with her leadership?

Well, when a leader is clear that her purpose in life is rooted in supporting the good of all, and realizing that it’s only accomplished through people, it becomes easier to recognize when purpose is off course.  It becomes easier to spot the distractions.  Leadership on Purpose requires that we all do the work to seek what our purpose is.

There is no magic to find it out.  There is no model or formula.  The answer lies, in part, by engaging others.  Interacting with peers and having conversations about the work you do. Learning from your mistakes and successes. It’s taking the time to reflect.  Recalculate direction.

This isn’t about some existential crisis, trying to figure out the meaning of life. No. It’s about you being in action and uncovering what you lights you up. And this requires that you dig-in and explore.

We need more leaders who can decipher when the path presented or path taken does not support the good of all or goes against the leader’s values and life purpose.

I want you to know what this means for you.

We all need for you to know what this means for you.

And if this is clear to you, then we need you to pay it forward: help another leader uncover their life purpose.

In Part 2, I will share the final two core areas of Leadership on Purpose:

  • Getting that this world is not about you
  • Evolving clarity of your gifts

Photo courtesy of Gure-nii

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4 Responses to “Leadership on Purpose – Beginning”

  1. JoeRayCr8iv

    26. Jul, 2011

    Well said! It’s important to be serious but it starts with passion. From there, stay focused. You’ll get beat up a few times, then ridiculed. That’s the nay-sayers and resistance.

    But keep moving forward, go with the flow. Fight when you have to. Take chances, color outside the goddamn lines or be vanilla safe.

    Crazy is much more fun.

    Reply to this comment
    • Shawn Murphy

      26. Jul, 2011

      Hi Joe,
      It’s a messy journey indeed. But I’d much rather be beat up along the way instead of looking back with regrets of “should’ve and could’ve.”

      Thanks, Joe, for stopping by and sharing your response.


      Reply to this comment
  2. Leadership Quality

    30. Jul, 2011

    Very informative articles on leadership.

    Reply to this comment
    • Shawn Murphy

      31. Jul, 2011

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for taking the time to read it.


      Reply to this comment

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