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Your Compass To Joyful Leadership – Become A Better Leader Through Self-Leadership And Self-Love

Written by: Marc Scheff, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Marc Scheff

In the last two years, you have probably seen a huge upsurge of calls for empathic and heart-lead leadership. To do this work, whether you’re a founder, a creative, or managing your own projects, you do start with yourself. And when you do, your potential skyrockets with the potential of those in your orbit.

Young happy businesswoman having a meeting with her colleagues in the office

In this article, you’ll discover a picture of that deeper WHY for yourself while increasing your efficacy and impact.


I always like to include an exercise or tool in my articles. The one here helped dig me out of a crisis of faith in myself, my leadership, and my purpose. This one got me on track for (as of this writing) my most successful and fulfilling chapter yet.


Even if you’re not looking for a massive transformational change, the information and self-knowledge you discover here can provide that 1% better shift that pays off big in the long run.


Why should you care about purpose?


First, studies mentioned in the article below and others ¹ have shown that a sense of purpose has both health and financial benefits in certain contexts.


Second, great leaders develop leaders. This requires a confident balance of self-understanding and openness, and an ability to have tough conversations from a place of clarity and support.


And finally, when you lead with purpose your impact is magnified because you’re energizing and attracting people who are aligned with you.


If you’ve read Aesop’s Fables you know that a bundle of sticks is harder to break than a single one, and the same applies to people. Purpose helps you create your bundle.


This is what that looks like

  • A deep sense of trust in the direction you are facing.

  • Trust in those around you to work in that direction.

  • Confidence to be flexible and, like water, move through obstacles.

  • A sense of ease and calm knowing that you’re solving for synergy.

  • Self-leadership and an ego-free sense of self-love.


This is strong leadership, in life and in your career, and it starts with purpose.


Impact vs purpose


Why not just set a goal and do everything in your power to achieve it? Why not “crush it,” obstacles be damned?


Well, a bull might get through a china shop too, but the cost is high, and it’s not sustainable.


This is the difference between impact and purpose, and purpose is research-backed to improve workplace performance and culture, and at home.


This Harvard Business Review study ² and even the Times ³ is on it.

The concept

Impact is the effect you wish to have in the world. Purpose is the growth you create in yourself, which can also lead to that same impact.


For example, someone who is impact-driven may fight hard for a certain kind of change while not living those values at home. Think of a climate activist driving a gas-powered Humvee, or that bull trying to find the perfect teacup.


Someone who is purpose-driven begins their work with themselves, models for and inspires others, and the same impact gets easier to create. You may even know someone like this. You feel drawn to them and inspired by what they do, wonder how, and maybe even feel drawn to help them do it.


A word of caution: be gentle with yourself around this idea. Life is complicated and we can’t always make the choices we want to. Sometimes we are the bull. That doesn’t mean you’re out of alignment, it just means the most aligned option in the moment wasn’t your ideal.


Purpose isn’t popularity

If purpose is the impact on others, does that mean I need a million followers on YouTube to matter?


Absolutely not. This is a huge, huge myth.


Some of the most “on purpose” people I know are working in their families, communities, and circles of friends.


What they ARE doing is making decisions in alignment with their values, and that’s the goal of self-leadership.


If you’ve ever tried to form a new and good habit or kick an old and bad one, you might know the feeling. It’s the feeling of hitting your exercise goal for a few days or weeks, or working on empathy and having sincere conversations with friends and coworkers.


These are common examples, but the work of purpose can go much, much deeper.


Discover purpose by noticing it


This isn’t magic or made up. If you get clear on a direction, you’ll start to see opportunities to move there that you didn’t before. Like if you buy a wacky-colored car, suddenly you notice more wacky-colored cars.


And with purpose, the first step is to notice where you are already feeling that alignment.


The same goes for the work of self-leadership and self-love. If you can identify where you are at your best in these areas, you can begin to design a life that creates that environment more.


What you choose to notice is a powerful success tool


Tony Robbins in an interview asked someone to look around the room and find all the red things. Ok, he said, now tell me how many blue things did you see? That person couldn’t say. He wasn’t looking for blue, he was looking for red. So he didn’t even notice the blue things. Tony did this again with different colors and got the same result.


We find what we choose to look for.


Joy is your compass

So in the exercise below, we are looking for joy.

Joy is that deep sense of happiness and alignment. When I work with clients on discovering their purpose, we often use joy as the compass to those moments. Moments of joy are often moments when you are feeling most aligned with some deeper purpose and meaning in your life.


I designed this exercise at a time when I had the desire and luxury of taking some time to determine my next chapter. That said, you can do this exercise even if you don’t have time, and watch as clarity opens up.


When I did this exercise for myself, I did it in part because my wife suggested that my previous work and career weren’t really making me all that happy. I created this exercise to help you check your assumptions and find new pathways to a more purposeful existence.


The exercise: The joy compass


You’re going to use a sheet of paper or in a notebook, create three columns.


1. Column one


a. In column one, list all the things you do now as well as the things you have done in the past that you remember with a sense of joy.


Whatever comes to mind is fine, big or small. Don’t judge, just keep writing.


For me it was things like leadership roles, roles on various teams, teaching, mentoring, and things like parenting, being a partner, friendships, etc.


b. Circle the things on that list that you feel joyful thinking about. This joy is deeper than just a “yeah, it felt good.” You’re looking for that “hell yeah” feeling.


2. Column two


a. Take all the circled items and write them again in a second column.


b. As you write each one, write a list under each of the various tasks or actions involved with that role.


For example, with teaching, I might write lesson planning, course promotion, emailing students, presenting in class, answering questions, tech help etc.

c. Circle only the actions that feel joyful. For example, you may love leading creative meetings, but you might especially love when everyone in the room is contributing. It might just feel better, or get a better result, or both.


3. Column three

a. Take the actions you circled and JUST the actions, and write them in a third column.


Don’t include the job title or context of the work.


It’s important that you write down the actions without context. Removing context is what allows the power of this exercise to unfold.


4. Compass point

a. This third column should now look like a hodgepodge of activities you deeply enjoy.


They may not seem connected, and your job now is to connect them. Treat this like a job description.

If this were a job posting, what kind of work does one do if it were solely made up of the items in your third and most joyful column.


Write down a list, what MIGHT this work be?


What about purpose outside of work


Be flexible! You might discover a new calling, or a way to hone in your current career to more purposeful actions, and whatever is left on the list may show up in other areas of your life.

Conclusion and questions


This is an incredibly powerful exercise and led me to a massive career shift, to creating a life I love more and more, and even to writing here at Brainz Magazine.


Question for you:

What areas of your life feel most aligned with purpose? What areas would you like to bring more alignment?

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and visit my website for more info!

Marc Scheff Brainz Magazine

Marc Scheff, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Marc Scheff works with people to design lives beyond what they think is possible. As a child he saw first hand what shifts in perspective and mindset can create even against difficult odds. He now dedicates his time to working with high-level creators and entrepreneurs to create well beyond the success they've had and into the success they've dreamed about. His purpose is to unleash creativity, and he has had the distinct pleasure of doing with work with a healthcare exec, a museum curator, an advisor to the president, and hundreds more.





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