If you could only have one of the following, which would you choose? £500k; or greater awareness to a cause close to your heart; or to inspire others to greatness? This week I read one of those ‘great-news-stories’ that pop up every once in a while. An 11-year-old boy slept in a tent in his back garden for 365 days, the purpose was to raise money for a hospice after fundraising events were cancelled due to covid. After he had done the entire year under canvas, he had raised £500k; he had raised awareness of the cause; and he has become an inspiration with many more children taking part in a ‘big camp-out’ in their own tents.
And that got me to thinking … how many times do we have just what we need to do great things right under our nose. The late tennis great, Arthur Ashe summed it up perfectly with the quote I used to intro this ‘start where you are; use what you have; do what you can’.
It’s the purpose part of what you do that is the important bit.
The opportunity arose when Max was given a tent ‘to have an adventure in’ by his neighbour. The commitment was staggering, a whole year in a tent with the British weather going from one extreme to another. Yet what bound this together was that it had a great purpose, the hospice in question had provided end of life care for two friends and many more besides. The end results were incredible. There was a huge financial benefit to the hospice; and of even greater benefit to others out there is the inspiration that we can all do great things when opportunity, commitment, and purpose combine. So the question is do you know your purpose?
The inspirational author Simon Sinek tells us that we should always start with the ‘why’. Why? Because people buy why you do something rather than what it is you do. They buy that because they buy into your purpose too. A lot of the time when you ask someone ‘why do you work here?’ they will come up with all sorts of mundane things centred around paying a mortgage, school fees, standard of living etc… well, you could do that with a job anywhere, so ask again, ‘why do you work here?’
I heard another story this week about a senior level person who thought they might be at risk of redundancy from a very well-known prestigious retail brand here in the UK. This person found themselves sat in a job interview, feeling completely uninspired, at a company that makes DIY items. This person’s ‘why’ for that interview was a panic reaction to potentially not having enough money – so not really a ‘why’ more a ‘what I need’. Fortunately for this person, they did not get that job, and they are no longer at risk of redundancy from doing something they love, and they will continue to be great at it because of just that.
Purpose costs nothing; committing to it costs nothing; having the opportunity to fulfil it – priceless!