In the fall of 2021, I spent a weekend with an author, entrepreneur, and pastor. Each was considered the best in their respective roles during the height of their careers. The author had written over 100 personal development books and has had an impact on business leaders all over the world. The entrepreneur had been financially independent and semi-retired from the time he was 27 years old and was approaching his 60th birthday. The pastor had built a very successful church after traveling the world performing in a gospel music group for decades. These individuals had already achieved everything there was to achieve in their lives. They were able to do what they wanted to do, when they wanted to do it, with whomever they wanted to do it with.

The Myths About Success

One of the common misconceptions of the highly successful is that once they achieve their success, whether it be earning millions of dollars, being recognized as a best seller, or being in complete control of their lives, is that they are happy, satisfied and content for the rest of their lives. This causes us to believe that we will be happier and more fulfilled when we achieve the levels of success that those we follow reach as well. The easy life. If I can be honest, I believed this too. When I was constantly getting laid off, I would dream of the day that all of my problems would go away as a result of having a stable job or business that more than paid all of my desires. It’s not true. I’ve met hundreds of extremely successful people by the world’s standards and they all have had plenty of challenges to overcome after achieving the highest levels of success. Successful people still have problems. They may be different problems than the people many consider to be unsuccessful, but adversity is no respecter of persons. When I think about the life I’ve lived along with the lives of the author, pastor, and entrepreneur, I’d say that the one thing we all have in common is that we’ve all had problems. It’s part of the human journey. Our problems are all different, but the attitude and mindset that it takes to overcome problems is the same. That weekend I learned that the author, pastor, and entrepreneur weren’t driven by success. It was more than that.

What Drives High Performers

When I said goodbye to the entrepreneur at the airport, I broke down in tears. I experienced something that weekend that I didn’t expect. The conversations I had that weekend with my mentors gave me insight into the heart of high performers. They aren’t driven by accolades. While they were all driven and extremely successful, they were all unsatisfied or felt like they had more to give the world. I could feel it in their presence. I could feel the motivation or the desire for a win radiating from the depths of their soul during our time together. It wasn’t about money either. They already had money. For these three, it was about a deeper meaning for each of them, whether that be impact, restoration, or redemption. I learned that these high performers were successful, not because they craved success, but because they each were driven by something so intense that it couldn’t be satisfied by money. This drive was called purpose. Martin Luther had it. Anne Frank. Martin Luther King. Rosa Parks. Victor Frankl. Bill Russell. Ghandhi. Nelson Mandela. Mother Teresa too. They didn’t have purpose, purpose had them. They submitted to it. If you search the background of anyone you respect, you’ll find a tremendous amount of adversity they overcame to leave their mark on the world, and that it was purpose that drove them.

Why Purpose Matters

In tears, I walked through the airport looking for a restaurant so I could get something to eat before I headed to my gate to board my plane to go to my uncle’s funeral in California. My tears would dry for a while, only to reappear as soon as I was with my family as we mourned the loss of my uncle. The next 2 years would help me understand why purpose is so important to our lives. The loss of my uncle would be the beginning of a long stretch of adversity that was unlike anything I’ve ever faced. I was used to battling financial problems, but with the emotional challenges I faced due to funerals, work, brain fog from covid, and challenges in relationships, I was experiencing adversity that was unusually debilitating. During this time, I grew to understand why purpose is so important. Purpose is so important because of life. Life will happen and it’s often the reason many people never reach their goals or dreams. It’s not because achieving your goals and dreams is so difficult. It’s because of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that you must persevere through to reach your dreams. You will face challenges that will make you want to quit on life, business, relationships, and dreams. Things will happen that will make you want to lock yourself in your bedroom and never come out. To quit. Disappear. No one would blame you for doing so either. The pain can be crippling and overwhelming. This has been where I’ve been for the past 24 months, deflated by adversity. During that time, I worked on myself. I went to counseling, improved my mental health, helped my clients when necessary, and worked on a course I wrote on building transformative business relationships for entrepreneurs called The Power of Connection. When I finished, I felt extremely relieved. I didn’t want to finish it and didn’t think I could with how deflated I felt. When I finished, something whispered, ‘this is why purpose matters’. I got it. Purpose matters because it’s the only thing strong enough to push you beyond the adversity you will face as a mother, father, friend, or entrepreneur. As you live your life, don’t look for success, find purpose. It’s one of the most important motivations we can possess in this one-way journey called life.

Let’s Talk About Purpose

If you’re an athlete, executive, or entrepreneur looking to strengthen your personal clarity and commitment to your career, business, or purpose, I’d love to help you get where you’re wanting to go faster. Don’t hesitate to reach out to start the conversation.