You absolutely need clear purpose to be successful with almost any aspect of your life.

I write a great deal about purpose in this forum. Why? Because it’s so important for success in business. And of course, it applies to other aspects of our lives.

My wife, Wei, is Chinese, and as an adult woman, was a successful driver in China. When we married seven years ago, we lived in Chicago, and she had no need to obtain a U.S. driver license. So, we let it go until we moved to the farm earlier this year. In June, she started practicing diligently. In July, she passed the written test. A few weeks ago, she had the driving test. She failed!

Wei said to me that when the test facilitator started to give her directions, it felt like her brain was empty. She didn’t know what to do. She froze. A few days later we went out driving again to give her more practice. As we worked through some of the challenges, it became very clear to me what was happening.

When you or I jump in our car, we have a destination in mind. Maybe we’re going to the grocery store, or the office, or the beach. We know where we are going. There is a purpose to our travel. During our driving practice, Wei always went where she was told. She had no real end-goal in mind for the trip, other than to just drive. When I gave her detailed instruction about HOW to go WHERE we were going, she did well! When I only give her instructions, step-by-step, she usually has trouble.

It’s the same with business. Whether you are driving change, building your culture, energizing innovation, or just working day-by-day, you need clear purpose to lead your team. They may not need you to tell them HOW, but you absolutely need to share the WHERE and probably the WHY.

Incidentally, tomorrow is our anniversary. She may have failed one insignificant driving test, but she succeeds every day as a life partner. She’s the best!

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