Imagine you’re a single parent. You’ve been evicted, and you have nowhere for your child to sleep. What would you do? The Pursuit of Happyness, one of my all-time greats, is based on the astounding true story of a homeless, single father struggling to make ends meet. Forced to lead a double life, Chris Gardener works on Wall Street by day and is homeless by night. Still, Chris dreams of a better life for his son and then he makes it happen. It’s the ultimate rags-to-riches tale.
Despite his struggles and the fact that he was homeless sleeping in subway bathrooms, Chris never forget his why; his burning desire to live his dream and to live his purpose fuel the passion for winning against insurmountable odds; his why push him through to eventually owning his own stock brokerage firm and becoming a multimillionaire.
To become an inspiration to your team, to your family, to yourself, you must remember your why. Remember why you choose this career, this house, this car, your spouse, your job, this strategy, these objectives, this location. We must know our purpose, and when those challenging times come and believe me they will come, you must remember the reasons you started in the first place. This is principally why you must inspire purpose more than profit in your organization because your why will pull and push you through those tough times.
In a moving video talk, comedian Michael Jr. describes the power of knowing your “why,” according to Naphtali Hoff, Psy.D, a contributor at the HuffPost. In it, he showed an audience a clip from a different event, in which he asked a member of that audience to sing the opening stanzas from “Amazing Grace.” The gentleman, a music teacher, began in a deep baritone and sang the refrain flawlessly.
After praising his performance, the comedian asked the teacher to do it again, but this time painted a scenario of sincere appreciation, such as a family member being released from prison. Not surprisingly, the second performance far outshone the first. This time, the song was performed with added feelings and emotions. The words were more animated, and the tone was deeper and richer. Michael Jr. concluded that: “when you know your ‘why,’ then your ‘what’ has more impact because you’re working towards your purpose.”
The late great Dr. Myles Munroe said the biggest tragedy in life is not death; it is life without a purpose. Your purpose keeps you alive, keeps you focused, and, most importantly, it provides the excitement and energy to keep pushing and fighting when challenges come. All the great leaders, all the great people who we love dearly and who have changed the course of history, Martin Luther King Jr. Mother Teresa, Bill Gates, Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, all of them faced challenges, every single one of them. They managed to push through because they understood their purpose, they consistently reminded their team about the purpose, and they understood that their purpose in life was much bigger than their own self-preservation.
You can never climb a smooth mountain and make it to the top.
Challenges are part of how we grow, how we improve, how we become better than the rest. If you want to learn something new, if you’re going to respond to changes in your environment, if you’re going to remain relevant in your industry, your why must drive you and inspire you despite the many challenges and obstacles you will face. If you want to become an inspirational leader, you must always start with your purpose, start with your why, it may be challenging at times but your purpose and a shared purpose will bring you through the challenging times.
About Gifford Thomas
I am the founder of Leadership First and the author of The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible. At Leadership First, we are committed to publishing the very best inspirational leadership quotes and articles to inspire our 330,000+ community of leaders to believe in the impossible, while creating an environment free from toxic, fearful and intimidating leadership. We believe everyone can and should enjoy their work, but it must start with the leadership leading by example. Follow our community of leaders HERE, and let's change the leadership status quo to help inspire and motivate our leaders to make a difference and create an organization their people will love.
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