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My intention with each of these posts is that you’re challenged to interrupt the noise and routine in your life, just for a moment, to think more deeply about what really matters in life… your relationship with yourself and with others in your professional and personal life.

Welcome to this month’s Tap Into Trust topic.

Each month through 2021, I’ve made a commitment to Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO of Trust Across America-Trust Around The World (TAA-TAW) to research and explore a specific topic that focuses on how trust impacts almost every measure of success in our professional and personal life.

I will be using the acronym TAP INTO TRUST which is an initiative from TAA-TAW.

Each letter in the acronym TAP INTO TRUST represents a one-word topic. Here’s the video for Episode 3 on Purpose (If you’d rather read than watch, the transcript is below).

This month’s topic is on Purpose

Here’s an aspirational action-based statement for you to use this month as you think about and apply this information and strategies on Purpose:

I engage others to build shared purpose. I avoid short term ‘wins’ that undermine future success.

Purpose is one of the words in the English language where its meaning depends on the context in which it is used.

For example, you might choose to do something on purpose – that is, to do something deliberately or intentionally.

Another example, illustrated in the action-based statement above, is the context of building shared purpose – that is, to build or develop a shared reason upon which all decisions and actions are based on.

This latter example is more aligned with Simon Sinek’s early work on ‘Starting with WHY’ … that is, to start with a clear purpose or reason.

Motivational gurus often tout from conference stages around the globe that we all need to find our purpose in life. However, that is very misleading and not very helpful from a practical sense, because what we know from evidence-based research is few people find and live their life based on one purpose.

Purpose is not necessarily singular

Rather than purpose in life being a singular concept for most of us, depending on our age, experiences, and life preferences, we might have a more than a singular purpose in our life.

For example, during your teenage years you might have determined a purpose in life to be an outstanding student, or a good friend, or an accomplished musician. In your twenties you might have determined a purpose in life to be a successful entrepreneur, or a reliable team player, or a devoted husband or wife. Later in life you might have determined a purpose in life to be a philanthropist, or a volunteer, or a life-coach who can help others to find their purpose(s) in life.

Purpose is different to Meaning

While purpose and meaning are often used synonymously, meaning is something we derive from or attach to an experience, an object, a word, or an action.

Humans are meaning-makers … we can, when we try, find, or create meaning from almost anything (if not everything).

While we could go down a philosophical rabbit hole on the differences and similarities of purpose and meaning, what we are exploring here is how purpose (or meaning) can impact trust in our lives.

Purpose and Self-Trust

Let’s consider purpose through the lens of Self-Trust.

The evidence-based research is clear that people who have a sense of purpose or meaning in their lives report a higher sense of well-being and life satisfaction than those who lack in purpose or meaning in their lives.

When we have purpose or meaning in our lives, we have an internal guidance system upon which we can base our decisions and actions and upon which we will assess our sense of self-trust.

The higher the purpose or meaning in our lives, the higher sense of Self-Trust.

Purpose and Trusting Others

What can we discover about purpose through the lens of Trust Others?

Our propensity to place our trust in others takes a combination of courage and collaboration.

The aspirational action-based statement for purpose suggests we engage our stakeholders to build shared purpose. Here we see that a shared purpose allows us to set the platform to have the courage to trust in others and to work collaboratively with others, because we are all making our decisions and basing our actions on a shared purpose.

Purpose and Earning Others’ Trust

Finally, let’s consider purpose through the lens of Earning Others’ Trust.

To earn others’ trust, they base their decision on your trustworthiness by assessing your character and your competence and the consistency of how you display your character and competence over time and under different situations.

As they observe and assess your competence, character and consistency, they are getting a feel for your intentions, reason or purpose behind doing what you do.

So, you see, without a clarity of purpose, a clarity of the reasons upon which you base your decisions to do what you do, your self-trust, your propensity to place your trust in others, and your own trustworthiness are all at risk.

And, if trust is at risk as you consider it through these three lenses, almost everything is at risk.

So, for this next month and beyond, think deeply about your purpose or the reason behind what you’re intentionally choosing to do in your professional and personal life – and remember, you might have different purposes for different roles and contexts within your life.

Next month’s topic is on Integrity. For now though, that’s it for this month’s topic on Purpose and until next time, my very best to you.

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