Tool #2: Individual purpose

For what?

By discovering our own "purpose", the idea of our own purpose, we find out what drives us. Purpose pioneer Simon Sinek (2011) put it aptly in his bestseller: "Start with Why" - start with the why, the purpose. And that is indeed a good starting point. Clarity about why (past-oriented) and what you are doing (future-oriented),

What you do has a great momentum, a drive for your life and work.

On the one hand, clarity about your individual purpose gives you motivation:

  • Inspiration for your actions
  • Support for self-realization
  • Opportunity to build sustainable resilience

If you can ideally contribute to your work and your organization in line with your purpose, this will significantly boost your satisfaction.

On the other hand, the awareness of your individual purpose gives you orientation:

  • It helps you to recognize where your time and energy are best invested.
  • It also helps you to say no without regret.
  • It promotes your autonomy.

What matters

In his "Start with Why", Sinek constructed a formula that helps to formulate purpose. Sinek identified two central components of purpose: the "contribution" on the one hand and the "impact" on the other - the effect you achieve with this contribution.

In order to find these elements, you need to look both inwards and outwards: You can achieve the former with a set of questions that

in the step-by-step guide. When looking outwards, it is important to recognize for whom you create what added value and what effect (in the sense of "impact") is created - in other words, who or what ideally benefits from the contribution you make with all your talents, resources and capacities.

Step by step

Step 1

Book an appointment in your calendar for an undisturbed hour. Find a quiet place in an environment that inspires you and get your favorite writing utensils ready. Approach the search with an open mind and let your thoughts run free as you answer the questions. Remember: there is no right or wrong in your answers - it's about you constructing meaning for yourself individually.

Step 2

Preparation (approx. 15 minutes): Go through the questions at your leisure

(see step 3) and familiarize yourself with them. Take time to think deeply about a situation in which you were in the best possible shape - a situation in which you really blossomed and felt in full flow. The more precisely you can think and feel your way into this situation, the more insights you will gain and the more effective the exercise will be for you.

Step 3

Questionnaire (approx. 15 minutes): Go step by step through the

questions and make notes on your answers. Here too, simply let your thoughts run free. Whatever comes to mind first - trust your intuition.

  • Ask yourself the key question: What has made me so happy and successful in this situation?
  • Let's assume you are not averse to body art and would like to get a tattoo: What would be the one verb you would choose as a motif?
  • Imagine you had achieved fame in your life and a statue was built of you. What would it say on the plaque?
  • Complete the following sentence: "I wake up every morning full of inspiration to ... so that ..."

Step 4

Formulate the purpose statement (approx. 15 minutes): The purpose statement

statement should be formulated as simply and clearly as possible. Simon Sinek suggests the purpose formula from the figure above:

  • A verb that describes your personal contribution to success in important situations,
  • coupled with a half-sentence that expresses the difference you make for others.

Let's take Simon Sinek's (2011) own purpose statement as an example: "To inspire people to do the things that inspire them [his contribution] so that together we can change our world [his impact]."


Duration: 1 hour

Format: do it yourself - on paper or in the room; alternatively: in pairs

as an interview

Participants: individual or teams

You can find more information on this and other tools for overcoming business challenges with communicative means in the book "Rethinking communication".

Are you ready?

We are glad you asked! Schedule an appointment with us directly to begin this important first step of the innovation process - the needs analysis. We look forward to working with you to overcome the challenges and drive digital innovation in your business.

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