Understanding purpose: the big and little “P” with Richard Leider
The big P purpose is often a noble purpose, which is good. For years I talked and wrote about purpose with a big P.
You have to find something that's your cause or it's our family. I kept seeing how people got stuck with purpose,
purpose with a big P. [MUSIC PLAYING]
Purpose is a verb. Purpose with a little p is about that difference we make in the lives of others on a day to day basis,
and it's important to name that so that we can continue to remind ourselves over and over again. This is why I'm doing what I'm doing.
So purpose with a little p is what we practice on a day to day basis.
It's the why we do what we do, and how we do what we do.
Well, when you're looking for a little p with purpose, I make a certain assumption, and that is people want relevance.
They want something that's relevant to who they are and their life. We're all in charge of our own lives that way.
In many ways, they want help to figure out, well, what is my calling? What is the work that's relevant to me?
What energizes me, and what drains me? [MUSIC PLAYING]
I've been interviewing taxi cab drivers for many years. Now this is an iconic cab driver.
He's got all his iconography up there. I can tell about his religion. And I said, well, do you mind? Let me ask you three questions.
Do you love what you do? I was trolling here for his gifts. I was trying to figure out what are his gifts. I said, do you love what you do, on a scale of one to 10, one,
no, 10, yes. One, I do this to make a living. I said, OK. So I went to the p, passion.
I said, are there any parts of your job, one to 10, where you lose all track of time? You're really in what we call the flow state.
Any part of the day where you're in flow? He said, one on the job, 10 at night.
And I went, 10? What's that all about? He said, I love coaching soccer. When I get off at work, the first thing I do
is head to the soccer field. I love coaching kids, my own kids and others, in soccer. I grew up as a soccer player in another country.
So I'm a 10, but not on the job. At night. So he's got the balance between little p during the day, big P
at night. And then I asked him the third question, the v, the values question. I said, are there any people you love serving more than others?
He said 10. I love serving older adults. I'm their guy. I help. They call me when they need a ride to the opera,
to the store, to the airport because they trust me, they like me. I said, well, you have a calling. He said, no, only priests have callings.
I said, no, you have a calling. The point is, we all can bring the essence of ourselves, our gifts, passions, and values to work, and live
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