I recently did a Google search on the word “Purpose” for the book I’m writing. Apparently 6.1 million searches have been done on this word in just the last month. This would be equal to the number of searches done on the word “Leadership”. Apparently a lot of people are searching for purpose (no pun intended!).
I am inviting those who are in search of purpose to write about their own purpose journey to inspire each of us to awaken to our own sense of purpose. When we connect to our purpose we are more engaged, more courageous, more resilient, more resourceful, and more creative than we thought possible. I know from personal experience. Purpose ignites our leadership potential. Here’s my story.
Who Am I?
I am Henna Inam, a mother, a former corporate executive, a daughter, a friend, the CEO of a company called Transformational Leadership. None of these identities is more “me” than my sense of purpose. It is to ignite within all of us the realization of our full potential. It is to help us discover the spark within that helps us be our bigger selves – to transform ourselves and the organizations we work in, to align the work we do with who we are.
The Aha Moment(s)
The search for purpose sometimes begins with a nagging thought “Is this all there is?” I had that thought ironically at the peak of my career, 30,000 feet above sea level. I was on a plane returning back from Switzerland where I was one of ten people awarded our annual business building award – among 90,000 employees. I was at the height of my corporate career up to that point. I was successful but not fulfilled.
Later that evening I happened to see a TV documentary about a young Nepali woman who had been sold into the sex trade as a child who had somehow managed to escape. Not only had she escaped her pimps, she had escaped her identity as a victim to step into a much bigger identity – defined by a sense of purpose that was palpable on the screen. She had created a half-way house to help others escape and create livelihoods for themselves. This sense of purpose gave her courage, strength and power – the kind of power that had eluded me thus far. I wanted to be like her when I grew up!
Stepping Into Ourselves
The search for purpose led me to go inward, which is where it is usually found. I spent time at an ashram and learned how to meditate and practice mindfulness. I wanted to become aware of the moments where I felt most alive and the moments where I was deadened. I discovered that what brought me alive was seeing people grow, reaching my potential and helping others reach theirs. I was in flow when I was speaking, writing, connecting with others, helping them to believe in themselves because I believed in them.
Stepping Up to the Purpose
I eventually mustered up the courage to leave my corporate job to start my company. It’s been a bit over two years. The good news is that I’m still in business and my business is growing every day. The bad news is that it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. There are tough days where I have to overcome my own self-doubts, when I have to confront failure, when I have to push myself out of my comfort zone.
Stepping Out to Make A Difference
Every day brings a new challenge. A life of purpose is not a walk in the park. It is more of a roller-coaster ride. It requires some faith that you’re strapped in and you’ll be fine. It requires some practice to let go from holding on to the handles really tight. There are many moments of thrill and also moments of terror. But then, it is also a life that makes you feel vital and alive, and that I believe, is a big part of our collective purpose on this planet Earth – to figure out what makes us come alive so we can reach our greatest potential and make our greatest contributions to each other.
If this resonated with you please comment, subscribe and share with others. Comment and share your own purpose story.