What is your purpose?
My purpose is a full-circle story. It is to help leaders and companies find purpose to make their mark on the world.
How did you get to this moment where you knew you wanted to help others find purpose?
It was at halftime – midlife and midcareer experiencing what I have come to understand is the paradox of success.
I’d achieved more than I’d hoped for as a village girl born into the most unfavourable circumstances in apartheid South Africa.
I was living in Sydney with the family I had always wanted and a career that had exceeded my expectations. Outwardly everything looked great but inwardly, I was feeling the dissatisfaction of a life built on the pursuit of my own success.
I chose to take a pause in the road and ask myself three fundamental questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What does the next half look like? I believe, if you’re brave enough to answer these questions, it will take you down a path to purpose.
Markd works with some very high-flying CEOs and executives. What is the importance (and benefit) of having a rock-solid purpose as a professional?
Around the world, the business environment is in a permanent state of disruption as trust in institutions continues to decline. Today, more than ever leaders are looking for a new genetic code to help them and the companies they lead to not only survive but thrive. According to a landmark study by the Harvard Business Review, it comes down to one word – purpose.
The results of this study highlight how purpose helps leaders and companies, grow, innovate and transform, helping to restore much-needed trust in institutions.
One of your personal heroes is Nelson Mandela and you were lucky to once be in the same room as him. What is the power of someone who knows their purpose?
Nelson is a personal hero, more so because his life had such a big influence on my personal story. He comes from the same tribe as my mother and even attended the same high school as her, but decades before. He grew up in a village close to where I spent the first 8 years of my life.
Nelson’s purpose was based on his higher-order value of freedom, which he maintained confined to a 6m cell for most of his 27-year imprisonment. He was given many opportunities to be released but his pursuit of freedom was never just for himself or black people, it was to free all the people of South Africa. He never compromised on that goal.
When we pursue a life of purpose, doubt will often come knocking at our door. With me, it comes in a small voice that says,
What can a poor village girl achieve?
I respond back and say, What a poor village boy achieved. She can change the world one purposeful leader and company at a time.
Nelson’s purpose of freedom continues to inspire the fulfillment of my purpose today.
Now is a unique time for us to stop and re-evaluate what drives us, and to plan a clear path post-COVID. What is the starting point for unpacking personal purpose?
COVID his a huge disruption to our lives but it also gives us an incredible opportunity to set a new normal. Without stopping to reframe we’ll revert back to our comfort zone.
Unpacking personal purpose starts with leaders recognising their success but seeking out something more, which is significance.
We all want to make a mark on the world. What would the world look like if every company and individual put their best efforts into their inherent purpose?
We believe every person is marked with purpose. Unfortunately, we find ourselves living in a world full of challenges from every perspective – politically, socially and environmentally. The reduction in trust is a direct result of people living in fear of the future and their role within it.
Every move of the human race has a leader with purpose behind it. Some moves are small that we may never recognise the people behind them. Others are sizeable as we’ve discussed with people like Nelson Mandela. However, all are important. The problems to unmet needs, the source of new ideas, the answer to climate change, and even the coronavirus vaccine – all have a purposeful leader or leaders behind them.
So, if people and individuals put more effort into inheriting their purpose, we would see a move forward of the human race. That’s the ultimate power of purpose.