Know Your Purpose, Your Organization’s Mission—and Help the Homeless!

Photo by Rachel Greiman
Photo taken by Rachel Greiman on a cold Denver, Colorado December day.

I have never been on a board, though I have surely been bored. In fact, I bore quite easily, so the thought of being bored on a board, well, that simply bores me. 🙂

But, I’ve been invited to join a board here in Denver, with my five-year term beginning in January 2014. And I don’t think it’ll be boring at all.

Do you know the Denver Rescue Mission? The Millers have been “friends of the Mission” since 1998. It’s a venerable (love that word!) organization founded in 1892, and it’s truly a mission on a mission with a mission. In fact, they have something every outstanding organization has:

 Clarity of Purpose

In other words, they know why they exist.

Here is Brad Meuli, CEO of the Denver Rescue Mission, in his own words, excerpted from Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional:

Our 150 person staff gets up every morning wanting to come to work! How else would it be possible to serve 800 homeless people on any given day and 700,000 meals annually? How else would it be possible to love and encourage those who have alienated everyone in their life because of substance abuse, and then see their lives changed to that of productive, self-sufficient citizens free from addiction? This is why we exist.

Imagine, where you work, each team member knowing exactly why the organization exists—and knowing exactly why they exist!

If you can see that in your mind’s eye, you can imagine an organizational culture with very little blame, finger-pointing, excuse-making, water-cooler whining, confusion, resistance to change, victim and entitlement thinking, and procrastination, inertia, and lethargy!

In an organization like this, outstanding people don’t have time for Not my job! Not my department! Not my problem! thinking and behavior. They’re too busy

Getting. The. Job. Done.

And what drives individuals like that is being able to answer two crucial questions:

Why do I exist?

Why does my organization exist?

Having the ability to answer those questions gives any person zeal, zest, focus, drive, and energy! Said more succinctly:

Purpose Powers Passion

Um, dare I say …Amen!

So let’s each discover our personal purpose and take personal accountability for understanding/defining our organization’s mission, so we can possess the clarity and passion needed to power through any day. Not only will it be a meaningful journey, believe you me, there will be nothing boring about it!

Questions for discussion:  

Why do I exist? Why does my organization exist? How does answering these key questions add value to my organization and to my life? Comment below, we’d love to hear from you! 

Get the Outstanding! book for your team, friends, family, or yourself here at Amazon or at our QBQ! store.

Give to the Denver Rescue Mission right here, right now:

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53 Responses

  1. John – this is exactly why I worked a Saturday breakfast outreach for years (cooking and serving). I looked forward to getting up at the crack of dawn just to participate. Now that family situations prevent such volunteering, I work “internally” to be sure a local food pantry is full and worry at the HUGE increase in need over the past year.

  2. Thanks for an inspiring article! A Denver native myself, I know the immense work of the Rescue Mission. Clarity of purpose is so important, no matter what sort of organization you belong to. Without a clear purpose (and constant reminders) one eventually will be thrown off course by the wrong things.

  3. John, I couldn’t let this one pass me by! Don’t do Facebook, but can do blog. Thanks for being you. Inspiration never gets old. Merry Christmas and God Bless.

  4. This post reminded me of a video i saw the other week. It really shows how great it is to be a part of making a difference in people’s lives. As well as delivering an outstanding experience to customers and staff!

    Hope you enjoy your time serving on the board, it seems to be a wonderful cause!

  5. Marcia – just watched the clip…beautiful. John I couldn’t agree more with Vanessa, I look forward to your blog/e-mails – always so inspiring and thought provoking. Merry Christmas. Keep up the good work.

  6. Why do I exist? To show God’s love to everyone I interact with, loving unconditionally (still working on that one!) and helping people thrive in whatever ways I can.
    Why does my organization exist? To benefit our shareholders, employees (and their families), customers, vendors, and communities – profitability through exercising the Golden Rule. (We just happen to be a steel / steel processing company!)
    Knowing that my values match the values of my organization means that I can live out my mission at work every day. I happen to be a training and performance specialist, so I have the opportunity to add value to my organization and it’s people while fulfilling my personal life mission.
    Thank you for giving us the opportunity too help out this worthwhile work! God bless!

  7. I appreciate your new endeavor as much as I appreciate the “food for thought” that you supply. Thank you for your inspiration!

  8. Amen, for sure! I enjoy working at my community college, I’m also a student here. My job is to support excellence in teaching and learning and I love it 98% of the time. Thanks for the reminder of one of my biggest blessings!
    We had the pleasure of participating in Kristen’s presentation a few months ago on campus. She did good dad!

  9. I just read QBQ over the weekend. I work at Springs Rescue Mission just down the road. Thank you for supporting the work of Rescue!

  10. John,
    Thanks for this reminder. Starting 12 years ago, I’ve been able to combine my passion for work and life. Despite being a statistician, I’ve been called a “healer” after my talks. I show how the power of simple math, combined with a passion for excellence and respect for people can transform an organization and its culture…and save it thousands of dollars in the process. And, as you know, QBQ! is a big part of that message. Thank YOU for the difference you have made in my life and my clients’ lives…and the people you serve through this ministry.

  11. Love the article and so true. I do why I exist and why my organization exist which I believe are the same, “To make a difference in the quality of life”. Your blog is very inspirational! Every year, what I do for my family for the holidays is that instead of buying presents, I donate a good sum to the Food Bank in their local community in their name. My family is spread out across the southern states, I find that they appreciate it more and they have reciprocated the gesture every year and this makes me happy!

  12. I feel very blessed to have a home and family who are able to help me and my family at this time! I am dedicated to one day being able to afford to give generously to others who are not as blessed as I am. Thank you for helping me to help others in this way! I pray one day there will be a time when everyone will have all they need and will feel the joy of living and giving instead of the fear of want and lack!

  13. Purpose = Passion is true in every aspect of life, not just at work. Thanks for your inspiring words and for your dedication to helping us make ourselves and the world better each day.

  14. Our entire family believes in volunteering: feeding the homeless, preparing for different Army unit events, yardwork at schools, fundraising for different charities, donating money, clothing, and other items, teaching at religious educations programs, visiting senior citizen centers, Angel trees (children & senior citizens), and so much more.

    Here’s one of my favorite quotes.

    “Anyone who sees in his own occupation merely a means of earning money degrades it; but he that sees in it a service to mankind ennobles both his labor and himself.”
    ~A. Lawrence Lowell

  15. Hi, I love contributing to a good cause by doing. My work – when I was working – was with very committed people who showed committed to doing their jobs everyday AND who made their family priority at the end of the day. We were a unit that was respected and valued. Although I miss working, I have found another such community – my parish church, with staff and volunteers willing to help the people who reside in our parish, including our neighbors that don’t happen to go to our church. It’s really a great feeling to share that this group. I am disabled, so I can only help a little, and it is still an effort that is valued and appreciated.

  16. I wish more people knew why they work for any organization but have found too many organization have no way to communicate it is a simple fashion. I always believed in a one sentence statement of purpose for life and business. Not a paragraph or two but one sentence! Something people can understand and believe in. If they don’t believe in the purpose they should seek other employment.

    Too many people work for a paycheck or to say TGIF!

  17. John,
    It took me a while to get myself in the right frame of mind and heart to best serve at Life Choices. We do have a purpose…to love and encourage the women and …yes…men who walk into Life Choices with overwhelming needs. Recently, my client brought me a batch of gluten free cookies. How touched I was. She has the capacity to give to others now. That’s BIG!!!!
    I will pray for this challenge.
    Love, Susie

  18. You inspire. Thank you for the work you do to help us all learn how to make a difference in others lives and our own every day by being accountable. Blessings to you and for your heart to give. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    Oh and thank you to those that posted video links! The one about the blind man I show in training classes I faciliate. I showed it most recently last week and people told me they had passed it along. Who knows if it came from me sharing it or someone else but I love that it is being seen. Words we use do make a tremendous impact. Also, thanks for the WestJet video too! How cool!

  19. John – God bless you and QBQ for all that you do! I’ve got your books and will start reading them over my Christmas / New Year break time. Are you sending any popcorn overnight this season? 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  20. Thank you John for setting this up. What a great way to give back. As Dean of a technical school, my staff and faculty are always encouraging our students, whom do not have a lot themselves, to volunteer anywhere they can. Some go to hospitals, other read to children just to name a few. Merry Christmas!!

  21. I love that phrase – “Purpose powers passion” – knowing why I exists enables me to actually do it, and know that I did it!

    Like you say, Better questions lead to better answers

  22. This post was such a great reminder that we can’t know where we are going until we determine where we are. Love reading the blog!

  23. Thank you very much for this inspiring peice. Getting caught up in every day stressors and thinking well if that is the way that person wants to treat me, right back at them then, you know? This put me back in a place of being empathetic as to what other people are going through. The only thing I can do is contol myself and my actions. Thank you QBQ for doing such a great thing, having great integrity and inspiring me to be a better person.

  24. This blog hits it right on the head! Every morning I start the day, before I even get out of bed by asking, “How can I serve today?” The answer lies with my organization, a major Financial Services company. We know exactly what our purpose is. We exist to protect families and their futures. My role is to lead a team who answers questions and takes information to move the applications along so that more and more families have security. That is how I serve at work ever day. Outside of work we all serve in the smallest way. We hold a door here, we offer a smile there. We let someone into traffic on the way home or to work. These little things add up, and could mean everything to the recipient of your kindness in that moment. Our purpose on this Earth is to serve.

  25. When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves. – William Arthur Ward

    Spreading the Good News…You’re onto some good kingdom building John; god’s got you on the right path. Nicely done. Covering you in prayer my brother.

  26. Brother, I work for a very large enterprise. It is, in fact, so easy to get caught up in one of a zillion different meanings and/or topics. My personal key, re-kindled by your writings, is to: a) focus, and b) beware those negative thoughts that try and creep into our minds and sabotage our efforts. The Lord said to be careful what we hear, as well as how we hear it.

  27. Dear John, I work for a very large enterprise and find it quite easy to be sucked into all sorts of topics and discussions. My personal priority is to a) focus on my purpose, and b) beware of those negative thoughts that come to rob us in one fashion or another.

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