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Creating your leadership purpose

Cheryl Rae – Creating Your Leadership Purpose


You don’t so much “find” your purpose as some may say, but you create it!


So how does creating clarity in terms of your purpose, help you as a leader?


This is a question many writers, researchers, and professionals have tried to answer. Coach and Leadership Development Professional Cheryl Rae gives us one of those answers. She says: “It’s something that helps you and guides you when you feel like times are tough. It helps you hold true to yourself and anchors you.”


Leadership purpose is something that grounds you and saves you from the risk of being seen as arrogant. When your ego starts feeling too good about who you are becoming, your leadership purpose is what grounds you back to humility. But not just that; it also inspires and motivates you, and helps you push your limits, to achieve your goals.


As Freya Stark has said: “There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.” A purpose in itself is a real belief, and it has a deep meaning, so when what you do and what you believe in are not on the same page, success is unlikely to be achieved.


For example, Disney’s purpose is to make people happy by entertaining them. Sure, organisations all want to make profit, but there should always be a bigger purpose: to keep evolving, to care, to unleash potential etc… As leaders, it is important for us to know why we do what we do, because this is exactly what gives our work meaning.


Coach Cheryl Rae believes that every great leader we have come across or heard of, has a really deep sense of purpose, and that is what differentiates them from the crowd. A few examples are Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Jane Goodall, Richard Branson, and Sheryl Sandberg, who have all dedicated their lives to what was important to them and had incredible success stories.


Here’s an exercise you can do with a partner, a friend, or a coworker:

Ask them: “What’s important to you as a leader?”, and then, let them express themselves for three minutes. Yes, it sounds easy, but you have to truly listen to them, and create a positive thinking space where they can tell you what they think without you interrupting them. Do not think of your answer, and simply listen for three full minutes. Be there for the other person, and give them enough space to think and express their ideas without interrupting them. Do this both ways.


The purpose of all of this is to answer a bigger question, which is:

“What is your leadership purpose?”

What legacy do you want to leave behind? Once you know the answer to this question, you will be able to move forward and work deeper to achieve your goals.


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