“A man’s [person’s] reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for.” It was a Robert Browning quote I admired even before I fully understood what it meant. It is not about purpose, it is about a pathway to purpose, along the lines of a focus on the journey rather than on the destination.

Purpose yields significance, value and grounding. It is our raison d’etre without which we would mindlessly perform a series of tasks. It separates us from other living creatures who live life in the moment driven largely by instinct and DNA. When I brought a goldfish to show and tell in elementary school, my teacher told our class the total life experience of a goldfish—their past, present, and future—was four seconds. It explained how their life in a bowl could be less boring.  

Purpose enriches our lives by providing it meaning and importance. It compels us to find boldness in settings that would favor timidity. It drives us to be better than we thought we could be. It elevates who we are so it can soar toward what we can become.   

Writers and teachers of leadership focus a lot on being purpose-driven. Yet, the leaders primary charge is to nurture the pathway, the pursuit, or the search. It is to facilitate more searching, even if the outcome (or grasp) seems impossible. We are all drawn to those feel-good movies in which a hero strives to overcome immense odds in their quest for some glorious prize or outcome. Our hearts are stirred by their reaching; our spirits are lifted by their journey.  

Pathway to Purpose: Big Ideas for Fueling Irresistible Corporate Cultures by Jamey Lutz has just been released. Jamey is a long-time personal friend. Jamey is also a thoughtful, spirit-driven corporate leader who has worked with amazing corporate cultures like the Ritz-Carlton, Orlando Magic and Atlantic Bank. He has written a powerful roadmap for the journey of cultural transformation. Laden with tips, tools, warnings and techniques, it is the leader’s version of an annotated, illustrated map. If you are a leader, or a wannabe leader, do not miss this wise and practical book.