Define Your Purpose, Write Your Ethos


With the recent passing of Nelson Mandela, we are reminded of the importance of having purpose in our many dealings throughout life. Mr. Mandela’s purpose was to end oppression in his country and unite his nation. Even after being unjustly imprisoned during the prime of his life, Mr. Mandela held true to his purpose. He became not only the face of an uprising, but after his release, the leader of his nation and an example for the world. Mr. Mandela truly lived a life to his defined purpose — to his ethos.

Today, many of us live and conduct business with “flaky” purpose. We do not specifically define ourselves or our business. Because of this, we do not live or work to a defined purpose, rather we jump from choice to choice and decision to decision. Although we can still be effective in life, and in business, without defining our specific purpose, truly great lives and truly great businesses are not “flaky.” A great life, like a great business, is focused, continually worked on, bettered, and passed on to the next person.

With the New Year approaching, many of us will make our New Year’s resolution. It could be to make it to the gym more or spend more time with our kids; whatever it is, the experts remind us to write it down as goals are more likely to be achieved if they are written down versus something verbal or in thought. With that in mind, I encourage you to not only write down your New Year’s resolution(s) and goals, but to take that one step further and write your own ethos — for yourself and for your business. Write what you live for, what you work for, what you stand for, how you live, how you operate, how you make choices, how you make decisions, what you believe in and how you want to be remembered.

I did this a few months back and it truly reminds me who I am and gives me solace and focus when making choices and decisions. Most of us will never have a specific purpose as great as Mr. Mandela’s, but if we all live and conduct business to our own specific purpose, we will all live the life we want.