It’s not surprising that the word “purpose” gets a lot of attention in the business and leadership arena these days.The buzz word purpose can be substituted for a number of words — reason, intention, intent, idea, objective, aim, function or determination.

A purpose should not be, but often is confused with a person’s call. Purpose and call are different. Your calling is a particular business, career, profession or trade. Most people live out their lives fulfilling their call, but not necessarily their purpose. Many people don’t take the time to connect with their purpose, and instead work in a field or career for many years feeling unhappy and unfulfilled until retirement or death.

As a Keystone Leader, I urge you to lead well and fulfill your purpose. When it comes to building your leadership brand in business, having a well-defined purpose is a key ingredient. This is your compelling why. In my opinion, a purpose is the reason why you exist to fulfill a specific task or make a specific contribution and impact at at specific time and season in life.

It’s the underlying intention that serves as a foundation for everything you do, and it acts as your guide. Being keenly aware and connecting to your purpose keeps you on track, in life and business, and serves as an internal compass.

Unlock your potential to lead well by discovering your true purpose. Here are three keys to discovering and connecting with your purpose:

1. Purposefully start with you: know why you do what you do. Finding your purpose begins with understanding who you are and why you do what you do.This involves a great deal of reflection and self-examination. You must be willing to ask yourself: Why am I leading? What is my end goal? How does my why align with my unique promise of value I believe I was sent here to deliver?

2. Visualize living on brand – purposefully – and from the heart. It’s important to get a mental picture of what it looks like to live your purpose from the heart, right here and now. What kind of mark will you purposefully make? When people observe your actions, can they see and connect with your heart? This helps to build credibility. Show people you care and foster connection with these practices:

  • Be an approachable leader. Give people access to you. Hold regular open office hours or an open house from time to time. Show compassion, let people know that you are available for them.
  • Show respect and interest. Make eye contact and be fully present and unhurried. Give people your complete undivided attention when in your presence.
  • Be a good listener. Talk less. When engaged in conversation, probe into the issues of other’s in a sensitive way. Listen for their core problem and pain and sensitively offer meaningful solutions.

Visualize what you desire to actualize! Once you can mentally see yourself living your purpose, those very images and thoughts you have about yourself will begin to draw the desired thought patterns and behaviors into your life. And, you’ll start to see the results you desire. After all, “as a man thinketh so is he!”

3. Purposefully live your message. Develop a core message that is aligned with your purpose. The Keystone Leader must be perceived as a giver of hope. Make sure that your message is centered on others. Inspire your connected community to believe in themselves, by living out that which you preach.

As a leader, you want people to know you’re in it with them. You want to see them win! Share your personal stories and show your own vulnerability and authenticity. You don’t have to be perfect, in fact sharing your mistakes and failures will help others to make sense of their own missteps. Work to live YOUR best life as an example. Help your tribe to believe in something they never felt possible.

4. Purposefully make the needs of others your priority. As a Keystone Leader in business, your purpose is not about making your life better, but to add value to your connected community – your tribe. For this reason, your purpose must be the motivation behind solving their problems. Consider your tribe, stand in the gap for them, and look for ways to serve them better. Ultimately, it’s about determining what you can offer them to help make their lives easier and solve their problems. It’s all about them!

Success comes from knowing that you have stayed the course and finished the race, with a compelling purpose that makes a MARK worth remembering and following. Communicate your unique vision and your heart, so that those around you can understand you and you can win their trust. And remember to keep your purpose top of mind, allowing it to serve as a guidepost for all that you do.

Now over to you: What’s YOUR purpose? Why are you leading? I’d love to hear your unique answer to this question. Let me know in the comments below.