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Hi everyone, John Finegan here. Here is a quick take to kick off your week!

Today, I want to talk about a fundamental aspect of leadership that can profoundly impact your effectiveness and fulfillment as a leader: leading with purpose. Leading with purpose begins with understanding yourself.

Today, at conferences, you will hear Scott Galloway telling young people that the worst advice they could follow is to follow their passion. If a billionaire tells you to “follow your passion,” he says, it means they are already rich! I could not agree more.

Your job is to find something you’re good at. Then, spend thousands of hours to be the best that you can be. After getting good at whatever that is, you will become passionate.

No one ever grows up being passionate about tax law. Work is hard, and when you encounter injustice in the workplace – which you will – at that moment, you will not love your work and think, “This must not be my passion.”

Having said that, you still need to find your “why” and engage in your passion – and there is a difference between the two.

When I was a young man working for IBM right out of college, my “why” was pretty straightforward – making enough money to care for my family – to provide a stable income.

Today, since my four kids are grown and have their own families, my “why” focuses more on my work.

At this stage of my life, my “why” is to take my education and experiences and to help others – to encourage them to be successful as leaders.

And during my off hours, my passion is to volunteer for the World Community Service Committee of the Denver Rotary Club.

Throughout history, great leaders have inspired action in their organizations by starting with the question, “Why?” Why do you do what you do? What is your purpose, cause, or belief that drives you every day?

Finding your “why” is about understanding your core values and what truly motivates you.

Take a moment to reflect on what ignites your passion. It could be making a difference in people’s lives, driving innovation, or creating a sustainable future. Whatever it is, your “why” should be deeply personal and resonate with your values and aspirations.

For example, let’s look at Nelson Mandela. His “why” was crystal clear: to end apartheid and establish racial equality in South Africa. This powerful purpose guided his actions and inspired millions around the world.

Once you’ve discovered your “why,” the next step is communicating it effectively. As a leader, it’s essential to articulate your purpose clearly and consistently to your team, and to encourage them to do the same. This aligns them with your vision and fosters a sense of shared purpose.

Here are three critical strategies for communicating your “why”:

  1. Be Authentic: Authenticity is crucial. Share your personal journey and the experiences that shape your “why.” As we discussed last week, people connect with stories and emotions, not just facts and figures. Be genuine, and let your passion shine through.
  2. Incorporate Your Why into Your Actions: Your actions should reflect your purpose. Consistently demonstrate your “why” through your decisions and behavior. This builds trust and credibility, showing that your purpose is not just words but a guiding principle.
  3. Engage and Inspire Your Team: Involve your team in your purpose. Show them how their work contributes to the bigger picture. Encourage them to find their “why” and see how it aligns with the organization’s mission. This creates a motivated and cohesive team, driven by a shared purpose.

Leading with purpose enhances your leadership and positively impacts your organization. Purpose-driven leaders create more engaged, innovative, and resilient teams. They inspire loyalty and commitment, leading to higher performance and greater satisfaction.

In essence, your “why” is the passion that fuels you, and your purpose is the destination you aim to reach. Together, they create a powerful combination that drives meaningful and impactful leadership.

So, leading with purpose is about finding and communicating your “why.” It’s about understanding what drives you and inspiring others to join you on that journey. By being authentic, incorporating your purpose into your actions, and engaging your team, you can create a powerful impact and lead with greater meaning and effectiveness.

So, I challenge you today: take the time to find your “why” and let it guide your leadership. Inspire your team with your purpose, and watch as you transform not only your leadership but also the lives of those you lead.

That’s all for today! Go out there and be the inspired leader your team needs. And hey, if you have a great story about your “why,” share it in the comments below. Let’s inspire each other!

Have a fantastic week, everyone!