How do you find your purpose ?

This is the second part of my article on purpose. Here I will explain who is responsible for it and how to find it. You can look at the first part here.

You know already the answer of this question: it’s the founders together. The founders of the company fulfill the mission, the vision and the values and make them live inside the company.

The ones building the trust around the purpose and giving direction are the founders.

Most of the time the purpose of someone is just to be happy. They are working or going out to be happy. The question is what they can do to be happy?

It’s a really hard question and you need as a person to have a self-investigation which can be painful.

This introspection starts with you and only you. You need to change the way you see your life, you need to start with what’s making you wake up the morning and keeping you interested during the day and at night. I can talk as renowned authors do about motivation and building something around your passion. Building a company around music or sport because you like those things. And if you can do so, you should jump right away on this opportunity. However, I think it’s like chasing after a unicorn. Not everyone can build around their passions. Making sense of what you do is the most important thing. It needs to adhere to your values and beliefs. We all wish to accomplish something and at the end be happy.

If you are honest, you will say the same thing as myself, you don’t want to work ridiculously hard. You want to enjoy life, take the time with your family, with your friends. You want to have enough money to pay for what you need without worrying about the future. You want to enjoy the ride.

And I am not talking just about work, I am talking about relationships, about happiness, about family and friends and about belief and trust in your future. Don’t you think that everyone wants that? Especially your customers or employees.

Now that we clarified that, a question still remains: How do you find it?

I don’t think someone has the perfect answer or the perfect recipe. I am going to share with you the questions I developed working for managers, advising startups and friends and being mentored too.

  1. What do you hate the most? Is it injustice, inefficiency, poverty… This will help you to find a path.
  2. What do you want and what don’t you want? It’s easier to answer what you don’t want, but try to do both. Look at your past experiences, think about the people you met, it will help you answer the question.
  3. Who do you want to help? Is it your community, people like you or is it another, your family or friends?

Finally answer this question: Why do you want to do it? It doesn’t matter the way you do it or what you do… The most important question is the why?

If you are doing something selfish, for you. People will notice it and will never be touched by it. Don’t look at your clients and ask them “What do you want me to do for you?”

You can’t find out your own purpose by asking others or potential customers. You can’t find it by doing market research on how to be positioned. You have to find it on your own or with your cofounders. It must be something you all agree with.

I will give you an highlight about what it means by sharing with you the story of the owner of Der Gateau.

Der Gateau inspiration

When Gautier Genevet moved to Quebec City he decided to produce a certain type of cake called Baumkuchen in Germany. His cakes taste amazing but he was lacking confidence and motivation. I guess he was looking for an answer to that question: “Why am I doing it?”

When I encountered him, he told me about his business and we talked about it a bit. We discussed the fact that he was struggling,and I couldn’t understand why.

After a time, I asked him if he wanted to drink a coffee with me to talk about it. During this exchange, I understood more why he was struggling. Building a business like that is really hard because you are dependant on a lot of factors that are out of your control. I started to understand and still I couldn’t catch why he was running this business. I guess he didn’t know either at that time.

So I started to ask him questions about him, about the cake in itself and why he chose to make that cake in particular.

We discussed about his family, his choices to move from France, the life he liked there. I wanted to understand the why. Bit by bit, I was going deeper and further and I started to have real answers to my questions.

As I said before it’s a hard process and not everyone accepts to be pushed like that.

After a while, he told me this: “I want to bring happiness and joy with my cakes. I want people to share emotions with their friends and family when they eat my cake.”

I loved it when he said that, it was the real answer. Everything in this sentence was about what he wanted to give to someone. It was about the love and passion he has making his cake and sharing it with his customers. Even for him, I think it was a revelation.

If you arrive at that state, it’s like a relief, it’s the answer you were expecting. And when you find it everything becomes way easier.

Asking those questions helped him answered the question for his company. Will it help you?

Have fun building your product and if you don’t like the rules just change them. There is no bad rules, there is just a bad interpretation of them.

Digital product and innovation manager crafting and living experience. +15 years of hands-on experience leading teams remotely. Be the hero of your journey!