The hustle of the business world leaves little time for mindfulness. Pause what you’re doing and ask yourself fundamental questions about yourself and the career you’re pursuing. Why do you want to found a start-up? What’s your vision for the future? What’s your purpose in business and life in general?
As part of the EWOR Fellowship, Xavier Sarras gave a lecture on impact and purpose as an entrepreneur. One of the leading Experience Economy entrepreneurs, Xavier has spent his career founding marketing agencies and other businesses. As the founder of 4P Capital, an impact VC investment firm, Xavier dedicates his time to supporting start-up companies in solving social and environmental issues.
In this article, we’ll help you discover your purpose and pursue profits while remaining true to yourself.
What Is Purpose and How Do You Find It?
The term “purpose” has been over- and misused by society. If you ask ten different people for their understanding of purpose, you’ll get ten different definitions. What does it mean to have a purpose? Is it measured in usefulness and achievements or on a philosophical level?
“When your heart, your gut, and your head are aligned,” Xavier shared his definition. “That’s when you feel purpose.” In other words, having a purpose is the “why?” in your life. Why are you here? What do you have to contribute to the world? Why did you pursue this career in business?
American success coach and author, Tony Robbins, encourages entrepreneurs to use The Rocking Chair Test. Imagine yourself sitting in a rocking chair as an old person and looking back at your life. What did you do that you’re proud of? Do you feel like you made the right decisions? If you did something you’re proud of, and it feels like it was the right thing, you’ve found your purpose. Based on this thought experiment, chase what will make your future self proud.
People speak about having purpose as if it’s the same as creating an impact. Don’t confuse the two terms, as they mean different things. “Purpose often enables impact, but it doesn’t causally lead to it,” Xavier said. Creating an impact is part of your purpose and what will make you happy.
Why Is Purpose Important?
Self-reflection and arriving at the right conclusions are hard for many. Why bother finding your purpose in business and life?
Purpose gives you driving energy and motivation. Studies show that there is a direct link between living a long life and purpose. If you chase your purpose and have that drive, you’ll increase the chances of a long, happy life.
“When you have a purpose, you don’t work because you just live,” Xavier stressed the importance of purpose in business. The key to success is loving what you do, feeling fulfilled by it, and earning money by doing it. If you only care about becoming rich, your business venture will not be as successful.
Determine if your work is close to your heart, and ask yourself fundamental questions. Is it close to your purpose? Will it be fulfilling even if it doesn’t earn you any money? When you can answer those questions with “yes,” you’ll be successful. Your industry or educational background won’t stand in the way of success if your heart’s in it.
Mindfulness Techniques and Tools
Finding your purpose requires turning inward and practising mindfulness. After realising what your purpose is, maintain a close relationship with active reflection. So, what tools can you use to visualise your purpose?
Learn about four key tools below and use them a few times a week to practice mindfulness.
It doesn’t have to be a daily habit of writing down your thoughts in a journal. It’s okay to skip days, weeks, or even months. What’s important is that you sit down and check in with yourself. Write down what you’re struggling with, what your goals are, and what meaningful thoughts you’ve had. It’s a useful tool for capturing moments in time and reflecting on them.
Another mindfulness technique is to repeat daily mantras to yourself. Positive affirmations fuel your motivation and remind you why you’re pursuing your career.
It’s not about generic postcard sayings. Write down guiding principles in your life and repeat them in rituals that work for you. Some prefer to do so in the shower, during meditation, or before bed. Some repeat their mantras internally, while others prefer to speak them aloud. Find out what works best for you and develop regular routines.
One of the most popular mindfulness tools is meditation. Slowing down and taking a few minutes out of your day to meditate increases your connection to your mind. Energy comes from within, so taking care of your physical health is as important as caring for your mental health. Use apps such as Mindvalley if you need meditation and mindfulness guidance. It also caters specifically to entrepreneurs and career-driven people, with many programs to choose from.
Life is busy for all of us. It’s important to press pause and reflect on what you’re grateful for in your work or personal life. Thankfulness exercises can help with that.
Write down or say aloud what you’re grateful for. For example, collect three things you’re thankful for today, this week, or this month. It can be in the form of a prayer, a mantra, or meditation. Start your day with gratitude in the morning, or at the end of your day by reflecting on the blessings you’ve encountered or created.
How to Turn Purpose Into a Career?
Through mindfulness, you’ve found your purpose in life. How do you use that knowledge to your advantage and join business and personal goals? How can you turn a passion into a career and make sure your purpose is at its heart?
The purpose of your company should be aligned with your own purpose. Don’t found a start-up just because of financial greed. Your purpose will be larger than your start-up as it expands beyond business. Finding your purpose in your social environment is as important as finding it in your professional career.
There are three steps to joining purpose and business. First, find your purpose through the exercises we shared. Next, define the metrics of success for you. People have different definitions of success, so pinpoint your own. Finally, find the right vehicle to create that success.
Finding the right vehicle is a perspective from success coach T. Harv Eker. It’s the third element of his success theory. The first two are finding the right version of yourself and starting your business at the right time. If you have all three, nothing stands in the way of success. From personal experience, Xavier has pivoted a few times to find the right vehicle for his purpose. Follow his footsteps and find the right vehicle for your mission.
How to Balance Purpose and Profit
The demands and fast pace of the business world make focusing on purpose secondary. They even seem incompatible at times. Yet, chasing financial gain and being mindful of your higher purpose aren’t mutually exclusive. How can you balance the two?
As an impact VC investor, purpose is at the heart of Xavier’s work. He aims to find scalable start-ups that are profitable, but also have a positive environmental or social impact at the core of their business model. He combines purpose and business and supports young entrepreneurs with the same mindset.
Failing is essential in your personal and professional life. There’s no way to avoid making mistakes. How do you handle failure and miscalculations? Does having a purpose give you an edge in the face of failure?
Instead of framing failures as negative, regard them as the next step to success. Mulling over missed opportunities or social missteps won’t benefit you.
Failures are investments into your future. Consider what you left behind and trust that the lessons you learned will guide you towards your next career move.
Having found your purpose won’t make failures disappear. They’re essential to your journey. View your mistakes as opportunities to grow and let them fuel future decisions.
Final Advice: Lessons in Persistence
Finding your purpose in business is difficult, but critical. It is possible to join a career and fulfil your purpose with the right tools, but there are no shortcuts to mindfulness.
However, the final ingredient to a great career is persistence.
If you love what you’re doing and believe in your vision, persistence is the key to success. Develop patience and practice persistence to achieve your goals. Ask yourself, “Do I need big cash right now? Is there pressure to earn money?” If you’re getting by and are building your start-up, don’t expect too much too fast. With patience and persistence, you’ll reach your financial goals in time. Don’t give up on your ambitions too soon.