What is so important about the clarity of purpose? 

It’s all about meeting a person’s need for personal growth and development as well as the opportunity to contribute to something bigger than yourselfBottom line, it’s a direct route to happiness and joy. 

Michael S. Seaver is an award-winning executive coach, author, keynote speaker, and podcast host with expertise in executive leadership, personal branding, change management, organizational effectiveness, and employee engagement. He is the author of 200+blogs, contributor to Forbes, and is a graduate of the Thunderbird School of Global Management MBA. 

In this episode, Michael shares how to live at your best on a day-to-day basis by focusing on your top five personal core values. This is how you become the authentic leader the world needs you to be.  

What you will learn from this episode: 

  • Learn how to uncover your life’s purpose to grow and develop yourself and add value to other people’s lives 
  • Find out how your clarity of purpose gives other people the opportunity to authentically express themselves in meaningful ways 
  • Discover about the essential ways of becoming an authentic and emotionally intelligent leader who knows how to align and empowers people to achieve a common goal 

“By being authentic, we’re showing what our purpose is to others. I think we give people that opportunity to express themselves in a more authentic, deeply meaningful way.”  

Michael Seaver 

Topics Covered:

01:57 – Defining your life’s purpose 

03:12 – Uncovering that purpose within us 

03:41 – What are the top two core human needs? 

04:25 – An internal work that leads to external benefits 

05:45 – Walking into our authentic power is not an overnight success 

07:04 – The trap they fall into when leaders don’t have clarity of life’s purpose 

10:02 – What triggers the shift to showing up authentic 

10:57 – Actionable tips to help you uncover clarity of purpose 

12:15 – How to resolve values conflicts 

13:22 – For your FREE tools to help you find clarity of purpose, download a four-page PDF called ‘Choose Your Boss, not your Job’ and an eBook called ‘Authenticity is the Way’. Click here: https://michaelsseaver.com/free-tools/ 

14:34 – As a teenager or in your early to mid-20s, what recurring challenge were you confronted by?  

16:17 – The need to build emotional resilience to overcome the challenge 

17:36 – Be the person you needed when you were younger 

Key Takeaways:

“Our society isn’t structured in such a way to really pull out that authentic version of who a person is. And so, I wanted to try to find a way to kind of address that challenge and say, ‘How do I help a person define their life’s purpose by looking through the lens of challenges and what they can do to overcome them?’”  

“I believe we’re all born with a purpose. Now, it’s just a matter of how can we tap back into it and uncover something that might have been covered up for quite some time.” 

“If you keep growing and developing yourself, that’s going to be deeply meaningful for you. But if you only do that, and you don’t have the opportunity to add value to people around you, you feel like you’re going to be missing part of the equation.” 

“I think there’s kind of that intuitive knowing that people are going to gravitate to others who make them feel safe, who make them feel like it’s okay to take a calculated risk or who make them feel, it’s okay to show up as themselves and really express themselves of their opinion in some sort of way.” 

“Leaders who don’t know their life’s purpose, they don’t know how to say no. And so, they become really poor at time management that they over-commit to things that aren’t necessarily right for them.”  

“If they want to become great, emotionally intelligent leaders, recognizing the patterns and knowing what to stop and what to start, I think, pretty darn important.”  

“Younger generations want leaders who align them with the organization’s mission and empower them to achieve the organization’s mission. But folks from some of the more experienced generations, they kind of default to commanding control, because that’s what they were taught when they were young. And so, what we’re seeing across is this idea of unnecessary employee turnover.” 

“If a leader isn’t leading by example, and sharing his or her mission or core values or parts of their journey, again, those individuals that are around them are just not necessarily going to feel as connected to them.” 

“In the 21st-century work world, the command and control kind of leadership style is passe. It’s about aligning and empowering people these days.”  

Resources:

  • For your FREE tools to help you find clarity of purpose, download a four-page PDF called ‘Choose Your Boss, not your Job’ and an eBook called ‘Authenticity is the Way’. Click here: https://michaelsseaver.com/free-tools/ 

Connect with Michael Seaver:

 

Full Episode Transcript:

Michael Seaver   

By being authentic, we’re showing what our purpose is to others. I think we give people that opportunity to express themselves in a more authentic, deeply meaningful way. 

Bruce Ross   

Hello, and a very warm welcome to another edition of Unshakeable Leadership. My name is Bruce Ross and it’s my privilege to have the highly regarded and award-winning Michael Seaver with us here today. Michael, a very warm welcome to you. So, whereabouts in the world are you? 

Michael Seaver   

Thank you, Bruce. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Bruce Ross   

Nice, nice. And how are things in Arizona? I understand Arizona is very warm this time of year. 

Michael Seaver   

I remember watching the news last night and it said that this is the first time in recorded history that we’ve had, I think it was 30 some odd days in a row of temperatures in excess of 110 degrees. So, it has been warm for an extended period of time.  

Bruce Ross   

Wow! Very different to where we are. It’s 20 here. So, I’d look a little bit of background on Michael for our listeners, so you understand his capabilities. He is an award-winning executive coach, author, keynote speaker and podcast host with expertise in executive leadership, personal branding, change management, organizational effectiveness, and employee engagement. He is the author of over 200 blogs, contributor to Forbes, and is a graduate of the Thunderbird School of Global Management MBA. So, Michael, welcome. And this is an intriguing, this is a fascinating topic, the area of purpose and leadership. 

Michael Seaver   

Yes. 

Bruce Ross   

What’s the deal? Why is purpose so important? 

Michael Seaver   

So, when I think about the challenges that I keep seeing leaders in the things that they’re facing today, and I get to talk with folks very much probably like you, Bruce, people literally all over the world. And it seems like with stay-at-home orders, and so much change, and so many things that are just happening unexpectedly, that we’re kind of getting back to the basics of what it means to be human. And so, what I realized is that through all of this attempting to manage change, and attempting to uplift others and attempting to still accomplish specific goals, one of the things that became really prevalent for me was that people wanted leaders who were very authentic, but they hold a good story. And so, I really started to think through the biggest challenge that a leader would have. And our society isn’t structured in such a way to really pull out that authentic version of who a person is. And so, I wanted to try to find a way to kind of address that challenge and say, ‘How do I help a person define their life’s purpose by looking through the lens of challenges and what they can do to overcome them?’ 

Bruce Ross   

Because that area of purpose, it’s not an obvious one. And do we all have a purpose? Do we have to find a purpose? Do we have to create a purpose? 

Michael Seaver   

I think it’s really about uncovering the purpose. So, I believe that we’re all born with one. And I believe that, you know, traditional hierarchical school systems, they don’t necessarily have classes and courses and instruction, you know, extracurricular or not that talks to or helps to pull that out of us. And so, I believe we’re all born with it. Now, it’s just a matter of how can we tap back into it and uncover something that might have been covered up for quite some time? 

Bruce Ross   

Why is purpose so important? 

Michael Seaver   

I think it’s really important because it comes down to happiness, it comes down to joy. And I think about Tony Robbins and he has, I think a six kind of core human needs. And the top two needs, number one was for personal growth and development. And number two was for contribution to something bigger than ourselves. And when I wanted to try to find a way to help people tap into those two things in a really deeply authentic way. I came up with a process to help them define their own purpose, so that they could grow and develop and learn towards something meaningful for them. But also, then figure out how did they add as much value to people around them in their community? 

Bruce Ross   

Right, okay, so it’s an individual thing, but it’s an externally-focused aspiration? 

Michael Seaver   

I think so, I think it’s a little bit of both. If you keep growing and developing yourself, that’s going to be deeply meaningful for you. But if you only do that, and you don’t have the opportunity to add value to people around you, you feel like you’re going to be missing part of the equation. So, a little bit of internal, a little bit of external, I think that leads to a very fulfilled life, if you will. 

Bruce Ross   

So how does having a purpose or being clear on your purpose make you a more authentic leader? 

Michael Seaver   

So, I think what it really comes down to is, it’s easier for people to be led by you. I think that there’s a meter by which people can sense and say, this person’s being really authentic and meaningful with me, or they’re not. And I think there’s kind of that intuitive knowing that people are going to gravitate to others who make them feel safe, who make them feel like it’s okay to take a calculated risk or who make them feel, it’s okay to show up as themselves and really express themselves of their opinion in some sort of way. And when we don’t feel that safety, we oftentimes don’t express ourselves wholly. So, by being authentic or showing what our purpose is to others, I think we give people that opportunity to express themselves in a more authentic, deeply meaningful way. And 

Bruce Ross   

This is a really intriguing topic, because let’s say I know my purpose, how much do I share that with my followers? 

Michael Seaver   

Sure, that it really takes time. I think I’ve known for probably a decade what it was that I was supposed to be doing on the planet. And I had to overcome a lot of personal challenges and fears and worries and attempting to find my own identity and my own confidence and clarity. And so, I think as we go through this process of awakening, and feeling more comfortable in our own skin, the right people that are attracted to us feel safer to be able to share their message at a bigger scale. So, I don’t think that it happens overnight. I think that it takes a few years for us to really walk into our own authentic power. And then the right methods by which we share ourselves with the world kind of become really known or common to us.  

Bruce Ross   

Why, on the face of leadership is about execution, it’s about getting results. And purpose is one of those semi-conscious areas. There’s probably attacking in the absence of not knowing one’s purpose, there’s probably a sense of absence or not quite sure, not quite certain, there’ll be people trying to fill it, to understand it. One of the biggest mistakes am making is the attempt to either fill a void, or creatively try and actually make steps towards constructing it first. Now, where are they falling down? 

Michael Seaver   

Yeah, great question. And there are so many different ways that we could take this and I was thinking about this, because it’s something that I see such variety in the people that I serve. And in a really basic context, leaders who don’t know their life’s purpose, they don’t know how to say no. And so, they become really poor at time management that they over commit to things that aren’t necessarily right for them, or they take counterproductive action on things that aren’t actually going to make their or their organization’s goals happen. So, number one, is they don’t do a great job of saying no. Number two, and this is something that I found, regardless of religion, regardless of belief, pattern or structure. This is really important. Number two is that leaders aren’t making time for being quiet or stillness or meditation or prayer or spending time in nature, whatever that is, that is meaningful for you and your belief pattern. Leaders have to make that time. Because if they don’t have that time, they don’t recognize the patterns of information that’s happening around them. And if they want to become great, emotionally intelligent leaders, recognizing the patterns and knowing what to stop and what to start, I think, pretty darn important. Another thing that I see, number three is this idea of listening actively. And you probably see this a lot yourself, Bruce. But for me, I see it so much, where a leader really does have a lot of the important answers. But they always listen to a direct report or somebody around them with the intent to respond, not with the intent to understand. And so, they miss opportunities to help people on their team or their peers develop in a really meaningful way. So, I want them hopefully, to be able to listen a little bit more, I’ll give you two more. Number four, this idea of as generations have evolved and changed, the younger generations want leaders who align them with the organization’s mission and empower them to achieve the organization’s mission. But folks from some of the more experienced generations, they kind of default to commanding control, because that’s what they were taught when they were young. And so, what we’re seeing across, you know, many countries around the world is this idea of unnecessary employee turnover. There’re lower levels of innovation, there’s higher levels of disengagement. And I think that’s a problem. So, another mistake that I see, this to be the last one is this idea of the leaders not sharing themselves authentically. And you and I addressed this just a little bit so far. But if a leader isn’t leading by example, and sharing his or her mission or core values or parts of their journey, again, those individuals that are around them are just not necessarily going to feel as connected to them. And I want that meaningful connection to occur so that a rising tide can lift all boats, right, we can all grow and develop together to make sure that our lives, missions and purposes are being lived together. 

Bruce Ross   

Got it. Got it. So, the experience I’ve had with people in this area, either that something happens in their lives and it cracks them open for them to search for the purpose doesn’t have to be that dramatic? 

Michael Seaver   

Sure. Yeah, it can be one of those things that it’s just a subtle nudge. For some reason I keep seeing people, or whatever the event may be somewhere around age 28, 29, 30, there’s some sort of a shift that happens in someone’s late 20s. And the triggering event can be anything from a change in job to a change in spouse, or some sort of romantic relationship that someone’s having to the death or the loss of a loved one. And so, it can be that dramatic, but it can also be reading a book, or it could be listening to a podcast, or it can be just going out for a walk and thinking through a couple of things. And all of a sudden, we look at the world differently. So how a person goes through the shift, or what triggers it is less important to me, than the fact that they’re actually being triggered to do it. 

Bruce Ross   

Right. So where can a person start? What are some actionable tips, you could recommend someone who is actively seeking to move towards that clarity?  

Michael Seaver   

This is something that’s going to be different for every single person, right? We’ve got, what, 7.8 billion people on the planet, and every person I think, has that unique purpose or that unique mission. And one of the ways that I’ve been able to help organizations or even leaders, is to ask them to identify their top five personal core values. Those things that are kind of their never-changing purpose, those things that they just want to make sure that they live by, and they can learn them from lessons they’ve learned in their teenage years, or wherever they may learn that things that their parents may have taught them, I use a card deck. So, I have some friends who developed a 55-piece card deck that each of the cards has a specific core value on it. And we whittle that list of 55, back down to five or six, and then kind of the game becomes how do we increase the percentage of our day that we’re allowed to live those core values? So, anybody in the world can do this activity within 15 minutes to identify our top five values? And then think about how do we increase the percentage of our day, living that specific value? And then as time passes and progresses in the coming months, the more that we’re living those things, I think the happier we’re going to be? Absolutely. 

Bruce Ross 

Absolutely! Is there a priority? You say you come up with a top five? Is there a priority to them? Because sometimes it can be values conflicts. 

Michael Seaver   

Absolutely, yeah! What I do is I asked them to force rank the five from one to five, so we can get to, but then I force rank them from one to five. And so, then I asked them to take a sheet of paper and put vertically down the left-hand side of the page their five values, and then on the right-hand side, just brainstorm a number of activities that they can spend doing those things. Right. So I guess the priority would be, if they feel that there’s any of those core values that they’re not able to live a large percentage of the day, we would focus on those first for the first couple of weeks is to say if you feel there’s a big contrast or a big gap right now, for this specific core value, let’s spend two weeks investing just a little bit more time each day into living this core value more. And then I think there’s evolution as time passes, where we take different jobs, or we move to a different place or something else changes in society where there’s a different values conflict, and then we have to spend just a little bit more time working on that one, because the gap exists. Right? Got it. 

Bruce Ross 

Right. Got it. Do you have a free resource or resources that people who are interested in this area can access? 

Michael Seaver  

Yeah, thank you. So, if someone were to want to go to my website, it’s michaelsseaver.com. And I know, Bruce, will share that. So, there’s two S and Michael S for my middle name is Scott. So, if somebody wants to go to my website, and they click on the resources menu item, and then in the drop down, they click on the free tools tab, right there, then you can go to a website that there’s a drop down, where it’s called, Choose Your Boss, Not your Job. And it’s a four-page PDF that I created, that anybody can download for free. And it really helps a person kind of come back to the basics on the things that are most important to them, and how they might connect to their organization or the organization they’re working for, or even the leader and how he or she values something. So, if that’s interesting for a person, that’s fantastic. The other thing that I would want the person to be mindful of is the book that’s also in the free download page called ‘Authenticity is the Way’. And so that’s a bit of a longer read, but can also help a person find that clarity. 

Bruce Ross   

Brilliant, very generous. That’s excellent. Thank you. On behalf of the listeners, my final question for you is what’s the question I should have asked you. And then obviously, what is your answer to that question? 

Michael Seaver   

Yeah, thank you. I’ve loved our dialogue, so far, Bruce, because we talked about the things that I get to see quite a bit where, again, society just really hasn’t addressed these things. And I want to have society address them more. So, the question I would want someone to ask themselves is to say as a teenager or in your early to mid-20s, what recurring challenge were you confronted by?  

Bruce Ross   

Just repeat that, because that’s a powerful one. And I don’t want to minimalize it. So just repeat it for us again.  

Michael Seaver   

Yeah. So, think about yourself, kind of reflect back on your life and say, as a teenager, and in your early to mid-20s what recurring challenge were you confronted by? Okay. So, when we think about that, right, there’s any number of situations and scenarios that can come up person to person. But what I want people to think about is right around age 28, 29 30, something likely shifted in your life, and you overcame that challenge. Now, the kicker is that whatever the process was, or the mindset or the thing that you went through to overcome the challenge, your life’s mission or your purpose in the next, you know, say 10, 20 years is helping other people overcome that exact same challenge for themselves. If we don’t understand our own challenge, and then we don’t think through what it was we did to overcome it, we won’t know how I can best help people. But I think it’s a pretty simple equation. And if people were to follow it, I think we’d all be in a pretty darn good place. 

Bruce Ross   

This is where the deep self-reflection comes in. Interesting. Right? And especially at a time when you think that’s supposed to be a good time of your life, though late 20s. But that’s when you’re actually hard up against the purpose challenge. 

Michael Seaver   

Yeah, it was said and see this is the thing, I think of Joseph Campbell, and ‘A Hero with a Thousand Faces’ and his kind of concept of hero’s journey, like, every single or even the Buddhist tenets around the four kinds of pieces of suffering, right? All humans are going to experience some sort of challenge in their life. And that’s well-documented, regardless of where you’re at on the planet. The point being is that are we going to build an emotional resilience to overcome the challenge, because as a leader, you’re going to have to overcome the challenge, because you probably have a pretty big team of people who are looking to you to help them overcome their own challenge. And so, in the 21st century work world, the command and control kind of leadership style is passé. But aligning and empowering people requires that we all become almost a staff psychologist in a way, in that we don’t have to, you know, we can always call the employee assistance program through our health care provider, and we should utilize them. But there’s also value in being emotionally intelligent enough to help a person through a potential personal issue that is brought into the workplace.  

Bruce Ross   

Wow! Yep, absolutely. As we round this podcast out, is there anything you’d like to leave our listeners with, as a final flavoring, a final consideration? 

Michael Seaver   

Thank you. I don’t remember where I saw it. And I’m not going to be able to give the individual organization credit for it. But it has stuck with me really in the seat of my soul for quite some time. And it’s the phrase, ‘be the person you needed when you were younger.’ And every single time that I see that, or hear that I always get a little tingle in my body or feel just a little bit emotional. Because when you think about that, and how it might apply to you, your life’s purpose, and your values and your mission become pretty clear. So be the person you needed when you were younger. 

Bruce Ross   

Yes. Be the person you needed when you were younger. Wow, these are all stimulating areas that cause me to want to sit and dwell and journal. I mean, this is great. This is excellent, rather than rush towards the next action. So, this has been a fascinating journey towards – everyone has a purpose. It’s a revealing process of what their purpose is, and they can help others with that as well. 

Michael Seaver   

Absolutely. 

Bruce Ross   

Brilliant. And there’s some really powerful questions along the way. I would like to thank you very much, Michael. This has been fascinating. We’ve dove deeper if it fits a word, we’ve gone deep, fast, and which is I guess what I’d expect and a conversation around purpose. And I’ll absolutely make sure that your contact details are in the show notes because this is such an important area. So, on behalf of our listeners, Michael, I’d like to thank you very much. You’re welcome. 

Michael Seaver  

Thank you, Bruce, for your time today. I appreciate you. 

Bruce Ross   

You’re most welcome.

Bruce Ross 

Thanks very much for checking out Flowpreneur Unshakeable Leadership podcast. If you like what we’re doing here, please head on over to iTunes, subscribe, rate us, and leave a review. We’d very much appreciate that. Now, if you’re actually wanting to expand your leadership capability and deepen your impact in the world, that is, be a better you both at work and home, then, I invite you to attend a live online Flowpreneur demo, where I’ll be sharing pure content, and there’ll be nothing to buy. You can find all the details for this at peakperformancedemo.com. Repeating, peakperformancedemo, all one word.com. Until next time, be bold! 

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