Welcome back to the weekly reflection series. In this post, I am focusing on topic of finding the purpose behind our actions and answering the question of what are we here to do? This is a continuation piece that should build onto the previous blog posts regarding the ego and the passion.
What is the purpose of anything we do? This is a question we should be asking ourselves every day. Are we seeking attention, fame, authority, and money or is the purpose of our very existence rooted in service to society and helping others succeed alongside?
According to the research conducted in Great Britain and Scotland, and published by SyndiGate Media Inc, the aspiring young entrepreneurs, much like ourselves, are increasingly becoming motivated by purpose rather than just profit (Mannion 2018). Younger entrepreneurs are focusing on environmental and social concerns as well as profits (Mannion 2018); the profits are an essential part of any successful business, but what good is it to anyone if the profits are used to make the executives richer and make no impact on anything else. As entrepreneurs, we should be equally concerned with the environment and the wellbeing of society as we do for our own wellbeing. We should not just create jobs, but also treat the employees with respect and help them improve their quality of life.
The author of “Ego is the Enemy” portraits another excellent example to help us understand what it means to have a purpose. When we’re called upon are we going to respond to the challenge looking to impress people for personal gains or make a difference in the society. He’s using the example of John Boyd, someone who most of us never heard of. Boyd is credited as one of the more influential strategists and practitioners in modern warfare best know as the “Forty-Second Boyd” – meaning that he could defeat any opponent, from any position, in less than forty seconds. (Holiday 2016). Boyd dedicated his entire career to serving the United States as an Airforce pilot of F-15 and F-16 fighter jets. However, the jet fighting was not the pinnacle of his career and influence; Boyd was never promoted above the rank of colonel. Instead, he focused most of his energy on teaching and mentoring young Airforce recruits. Boyd wanted to empower the new officers, who had the potential, to make conscious choices and decisions in their careers when they find themselves in a situation to either stay true to the purpose or compromise themselves, and if not careful, find themselves corrupted by the very occupation they wished to serve. He introduced them to the concept of “To be or to do”. (Holiday 2016).
I believe this concept has a broad application. The sooner we figure out what our purpose in life, as entrepreneurs, is, the sooner we can begin working towards accomplishing the goals. Furthermore, once we define what’s important to us we’ll notice that other choices are no longer options, but rather distractions (Holiday 2016). Is our end goal to leave behind a legacy as Boyd did (even though he was forgotten by history the work he did and the influence he had in his field was unparalleled) or are the selfish desires and ego going to distract us from seeing what’s important? Again, to be or to do, that is the question.
Edmonton, Alta. How Do You Give Your Work Meaningful Purpose?; Edmonton Entrepreneurs Talk about Finding Meaning. Edmonton Journal, 25 Feb. 2016, search-proquest-com.proxy195.nclive.org/docview/1768096312?pq-origsite=summon.
Mannion, Lee. “Young Entrepreneurs Motivated By Purpose, Not Just Profit.” Young Entrepreneurs Motivated By Purpose, Not Just Profit, AllAfrica Global Media / SyndiGate Media Inc., 12 June 2018, search-proquest-com.proxy195.nclive.org/docview/2056386168?accountid=14968.
Holiday, Ryan. Ego Is the Enemy. Portfolio, Penguin, 2016.