No matter whether you are a ‘C’ level executive, parent, or teacher, charity worker or religious leader or in fact anyone in authority, I believe there is a valid question that we should ask ourselves from time to time: What is the purpose of our authority? What is really expected of us and how will we be judged at the end of our assignment? For an end will come as sure as night follows day.

You see them from time to time, people with a strong sense of purpose. They seem to be running on a different fuel from those without it. A personal sense of purpose gives them the drive they need to continue in even the hardest of times.   Part of the problem lies in that often the expectations others have of us are not always so clear. And even when they were clear at the outset, our roles and responsibilities can very quickly take on a life of their own. Additionally, we tend to interpret our function for our convenience and then later make excuses for the stuff that somehow didn’t work out.

I heard a religious leader speaking on the radio as to how he sometimes forgets his sense of purpose when talking to powerful people from the world of business and politics.  How for a while, especially if they are listening to what he is saying, he allows himself to believe that he is somehow part of their world. But then he looks down at his feet and sees his open sandals, reminding him that his purpose through life is not to run a corporation or make money but to bear witness to his religious beliefs.

I suppose we can look down at our luxury watches and cars, but they only reflect wealth and achievement, rather than purpose.  At the end of the day, we need to look to our business cards, and to our function title in particular.   Now many people say that a title is not important to them, but it should be. It attempts to describe the function that has been bestowed upon us by people that have put their trust in us. It is how others see us. A title holder is expected to have a specific purpose and to perform in a certain way to fulfil that purpose.

From the humble cleaner to train driver and chief executive, our purpose is defined by our function and the authority given to us to perform it.  Once in a while, I think it is both useful and deeply rewarding to reflect upon our true purpose because it all too easily gets confused with the tasks we find ourselves doing from day to day.

The next generation are coming, perhaps it will be different? I do not know. What I do know is that they are looking at us as leaders and asking themselves what is our purpose, and is the way we do things the way they want things to be for them?

Have a good week,