The Purpose Test

‘Deeds not words.’ That was the motto of the Women’s Social and Political Union, founded in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst.

Today we would not seriously suggest that women should not have the vote. Most of us in the UK have lived under a female Prime Minister. Yet such an outcome only began the journey into reality when women were finally given full voting rights in 1928.

It is said that ‘the purpose of life is a life of purpose.’ Mrs Pankhurst definitely lived a life of purpose and it was due to her vision and determination that change from which there was no going back, was made achievable.

Real purpose only comes through discipline, strength and an uncompromising ability to make hard choices. It can be a lonely road, with no signposts along the way to indicate that you are even still heading in the right direction. You may only find out when you get there if it is the correct place to be.

Encouragement comes simply from within, that inner strength that what you are attempting to undertake is right. Such beliefs seemingly compel you to overcome obstacles which endeavour to stop you in your tracks.

Leaders must develop purpose.

Without that sense of purpose you will probably accomplish very little. Why? As without it, those following you or working with you may not believe strongly enough to see the vision through. Learn from Emmeline Pankhurst the true value of travelling the road less travelled by and to live with purpose.

Purpose for her was hard fought.
Many of the women who stood with her were battered in demonstrations, and when on hunger strike in prison, were force fed in brutal manner. She herself went to prison 12 times in 1912. We may not have to fight quite so dramatically but are you ready and willing to fight at all?

Fighting for something you belive in takes courage, boldness and leadership. A battle can be won very quickly but it does not mean that the war is won, it may just lead to more battles.

As a leader, you, like Mrs Pankhurst need to get battle ready, understanding what might be expected of you. Attacking is great but dangerous. She had to develop a plan, have some strategies, as well as maintaining a strong defence to the opposition she met. Every soldier signs up knowing that one day they may have to go to the front line – what about you?

Purpose for her was future orientated.
Emmeline saw a preferred future, that to her was only right and just. Incredibly, it was a future which she fought for even though she didn’t have a guarantee that it would come to pass. Think about it. Today, the arguments against such strongly held beliefs would be seen as ludicrous and people still fight for a belief in the right for democracy, but then it was real and mindsets were entrenched. Men ruled and women submitted.

As a leader you MUST see the future clearly and passionately. Only then will you have a greater possibility of achieving it. Purpose drives you towards the future you see when others would have given up. Vision and purpose are inextricably linked, empowered by a passion for bringing it to fulfilment.

Perhaps the challenge for us as leaders is paying attention to all 3 areas. Can you pass one of these tests without the other? Don’t know what you think but here are my thoughts…

Purpose without vision means the passion is wasted on something without an end result

Vision without purpose does not create passion which produces failure

Passion without any sense of purpose or vision is dangerous and unrestrained. This can only create problems.

I really want to know if you agree or not!


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