1: Getting better at getting better is what RiseWithDrew is all about.

Monday through Thursday, we explore ideas from authors, thought leaders, and exemplary organizations. On Friday, I share something I am working on, or we are doing at PCI in our quest to earn a spot on Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Back in 2001, I was part of the very first year-long Stagen Leadership Academy program. A decade later, I took Stagen’s Integral Leadership program a second time. For the last two years, I’ve been part of the Stagen Advanced Leadership Program.

Looking back, the leadership training and development I’ve been part of at Stagen has been one of the three most important learning experiences of my post-collegiate life, along with discovering servant leadership and implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) at PCI.

I met Rand Stagen back in the late 1990s when both of us were active on the board of the Dallas chapter of Young Entrepreneurs Organization (now called EO). Being proactive, meeting people, and getting involved with different organizations is a winning life strategy.  We never know whom we will meet and how our lives will change as a result.

2: The most important take-away for me the first time I took the Stagen program was the Meaning Module. That quarter, all class members worked on articulating our values, our vision for the future, and our purpose. I still remember sitting at the kitchen table one morning twenty years ago, defining my seven core values for the very first time. I’ve continued to wordsmith and tweak them through the years. Today, I consider my values to be the foundation on which I have tried to build my life.  

3: Setting goals and having a vision for the future have always come naturally. Defining my life’s purpose, however, was a much more challenging exercise.  

But it’s worth doing. The power of purpose is perhaps best captured by Mark Twain’s quote: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Purpose answers the question: Why? As in, why do we exist? Purpose is more abstract and less tangible than values or vision. It demands an answer to the question: What difference do we make? Better yet: Above and beyond making money, what difference do we make?  

Purpose asks: What is the meaning of our work? Because purpose and meaning are interrelated.

After working through several exercises and discussions with people I admired, I was able to articulate my life’s purpose: “Learn, stretch, dream, go. Inspire and empower others to do the same.” 

When I finally came upon it, it just felt “right.” Unlike my core values, I haven’t edited or wordsmithed my purpose much over the past twenty years. Today, it still inspires me when I read it or say it aloud. And, certainly, on my best days, it defines who I am and how I show up in life.

More next week!


Reflection: What are my values? My vision? And, my purpose?

Action: Block out some time to define or refine.

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