My six-year-old grandson Lucas heard me talk a few weeks ago about my recent rebranding of my consulting business to Defining Moments. He asked me if he could have some of my new business cards. Sure, I said, but why?
“Well, that way if I meet anybody who needs your help I can give them your card.” While we hardly share the same crowd, I played along and gave him a few cards. Then he says:
“Do you want one of mine?”
“You have your own business cards?” I replied, bemused.
“Sure,” he said, as he reached into his pocket and pulled out an actual business card holder, slipping one of the cards out of the case and handing it to me like a polished salesman. On the card:
Super Lucas – Superhero
Lightning Fast Speed, X-Ray Vision, Super Strength
To cap it off, there was a tagline at the bottom that said it all: “Here to fight evil and protect my little sister.”
As I studied this little masterpiece of marketing, he looked up at me straight-faced and said, “In case you meet anybody who needs me, you can give them my card.”
As fanciful and whimsical are such childhood notions of a purpose-driven life, I was reminded how often the clarity and ambition of our own purpose in life — who we are — is often subdued by or subordinated to the expression of what we do. Most of my business associates and clients are at or near the pinnacle of their careers. Several of them are asking themselves (and, often, me) whether the future is simply the quantity of such success or the quality of the success. Having a clear sense of purpose is not some kind of indulgent self-examination that success affords you at some latter stage of your career; it is something that — if shaped early enough — can drive and sustain your impact on your organization in ways mere positional power cannot. I have been part of many meetings where it was obvious some people felt their organizational role was their calling card. Conversely, it was the ones who understood their personal purpose who truly influenced the outcome in a lasting way.
I suspect that my grandson Lucas — whether he eventually becomes a superhero fighting evil or something different — will never lose that conviction that he is here for a reason.
Meantime, I have his business card, if you ever need him.