The Surprising Connection Between Purpose and Success

The Surprising Connection Between Purpose and Success

March 12, 2023

Being purpose-driven seems like the new trend. But how many of us even know what it means to have a purpose?

To psychologists, purpose is an abiding intention to achieve a long-term goal that is both personally meaningful and makes a positive mark on the world.

To me, having a purpose is a perfect complement with entrepreneurship.

Imagine being able to achieve something that is meaningful, makes a positive mark on the world AND makes you a living?

Doing something meaningful for a living is the way to live your life.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you seek to make a difference and create a better world in some way?
  • Do you feel like you’re meant for more?
  • Did you have a personal experience that motivated you to help others?
  • Do you want to build a business for good?

If you answered yes to any one of these questions, a purpose might be what you need.

The Downfall

Spending 8-16 hours everyday for 5 days a week chained to a desk doesn’t sound great.

Building somebody else’s dream…

No control or autonomy over your work…

Results do not relate to compensation…

No matter where we are in life right now, we should try our best to build a side business, do some freelance work, start a side hustle, or build the business we’ve been dreaming of.

Yes, it is risky.

But it is necessary to reach the lifestyle, freedom, and impact that you desire.

If our risk appetite is small, taking baby steps is a great way to get going and keep going.

1 hour a day is 15 full days a year.

2 hours a day is 1 full month a year.

Don’t underestimate these small changes. They make the biggest difference.

The caveat is this: we have to show up consistently.

Consistency is the secret formula to success.

The next head-scratching question is, “What should I do?” or “what business should I start?”

These questions arise because we don’t know enough about ourselves - our skills, interests, beliefs, and most importantly, our purpose.

We wind up looking for things that are easy to start or makes the most money.

Resulting in lack of alignment, motivation, focus, and differentiation.

And when things get tough or don’t go according to plan, we give up.

Instead, let’s ask ourselves, “What do I believe in?” or “what brings me the most satisfaction?”

By basing our decisions on an internal compass, it becomes a journey of self-fulfillment.

We then stop measuring our success in dollars and cents.

The True Benefit of Purpose

Finding our purpose or our “Why” is NOT A SECRET SAUCE for making money.

Instead, a purpose contributes to the mindset as a north star.

Take for example, ikigai.

A visual representation of ikigai (The little yellow square in the middle of the diagram represents our ikigai.)

Your Reason For Being

'Iki' in Japanese means 'life,' and 'gai' describes value or worth.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that illustrates “a reason for being”.

It brings you joy and inspires you to get out of bed every day.

Imagine doing something you love, you’re good at, the world needs, and can be monetized?

That’s the jackpot of life.

Disclaimer: Yes, we can still make money without establishing our purpose.

You’ve had jobs that paid you money.

You’ve had side hustles that made you money.

You might even have a business that is making you a ton of money right now.

However, you might suffer from a feeling of uselessness, emptiness, or uncertainty.

Constantly chasing the money…

Having shiny object syndrome…

Burning out and suffering from mental health issues…

Feeling like life is meaningless...

Giving up…

If your goal is to make a million dollars, it’s time to ask yourself what’s going to happen after that.

The Case of Vanessa Lau

Vanessa Lau, founder of multi-million dollar coaching and consultancy business

She might look familiar to you.

Vanessa is a YouTuber whose multi-million dollar business is to help others build businesses using social media.

On 22 February, I received an email from her titled, “I'm going on a sabbatical.”

In her email, this is what it said:

“I have made the decision to go on an indefinite sabbatical.

I discontinued my mastermind and off-boarded all my high ticket clients.

I’m retiring my signature program, for good.

I sold my $160,000 Porsche 911 and swapped it for a Jeep Wrangler.”

The most interesting part is that Vanessa was getting speaking engagements on the same stage as Alex Hormozi.

She makes $500k a month and has over 687k YouTube subscribers.

Shouldn’t she be basking in her success?

Vanessa credits her decision to a few things:

  • her mental well being,
  • to get off the hamster wheel that she created, and
  • self-discovery.

As someone who makes half a million dollars every month, I am extremely happy that Vanessa recognized her need to stop.

I hope that as you are reading this newsletter, you understand that money is nothing without a purpose.

How many celebrities and entrepreneurs need to suffer from mental health issues or commit suicide before we understand that money is not the reason to live?

The Harsh Truth

Starting a business is not difficult.

Neither is making money.

What we need is the understanding of supply and demand, as well as marketing and branding.

That’s it.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the biggest problem is consistency.

If you have grit and a mission, you will have a business.

If you have passion and a story, you will have a brand.

If you have a sense of fulfilment and make a positive impact, you will have a meaningful life.

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A Purpose Is Not…

  • A mission or vision statement
  • A variable impacted by market or stakeholder demands
  • A trend
  • Shakeable by monetary pressure
  • A marketing tactic e.g. greenwashing

A purpose should come from you, not from external factors.

In my experience, the most common purpose or “Why” is family.

I once stopped my workshop sessions with a client because she told me that her purpose was her mother and daughter.

Let me explain…

I’m not doubting how important her mother and daughter are to her.

What I doubt is whether she is certain that they are her purpose.

When someone talks about their purpose, the tone of their voice changes.

It’s something very personal and close to the heart.

The clients in my strategy sessions would get emotional when sharing their personal experiences and stories.

So far, every one of them have shed tears.

That’s the power of discovering your purpose.

A Purpose-Driven Business

As mentioned earlier, a purpose is not a strategy to make money.

It is a mindset shift and north star.

However, it can help the business innovate, stand out, and build strong brand loyalty, contributing to higher marketing ROIs and better business opportunities.

I created a data report on how consumers and stakeholders are looking for purpose-driven brands and businesses.

You can download a copy for free here.

In the meantime, here’s an example:

J is a make-up enthusiast and her purpose is to counter the devastation wreaked by climate change.

She can start by creating content around the make-up industry’s impact on climate change.

To innovate, she could share how just 4 pieces of make-up is enough for daily versatile looks. She is encouraging people to not purchase a ton of make-up that they won’t need.

As her audience grows, she could build her own make-up business called 4P, selling make-up kits in sets of 4 cosmetic products, and are biodegradable.

J’s content will attract make-up enthusiasts, make-up newbies, and climate change activists.

Her purpose would help her stand out from other make-up content creators.

She could also partner up with other brands that have the same purpose as her, such as fashion brands.

Her purpose is her north star.

If you’d like to check out underrated real-life brands that run an extremely successful purpose-driven business, check out This Saves Lives, LSTN, Warby Parker, and Burt’s Bees.

How To Find Your Purpose

Probably the toughest question that I’ve received.

Finding our purpose is a personal and introspective journey.

It takes time and effort.


I would encourage everyone to say yes to new experiences and experiment.

My experience volunteering in Cambodia for 2 years made me realize the importance of education.

Yes, we all know that education is important.

But many of us take it for granted every single day.

Only by being physically in Cambodia and going through their day-to-day lives, could I truly understand the importance of education.

My experience as a guest speaker for a no-code community led to client work which helped me understand what I really wanted to do.

Only by saying yes could I have been exposed to opportunities and exploration.

Don’t spend your free time staying in bed watching Netflix and scrolling TikTok.

Stop chasing the money.

Instead, put yourself out there.

Whether it’s a sense of fulfilment and joy…

Or sadness and remorse.

You will eventually have experiences that help you discover your purpose.


My favorite daily pastime is listening to other people’s stories.

They create mental pictures that transport us to places we’ve never been, and walk in shoes we’ve never filled.

Read autobiographies and memoirs. (My “bible” is Meditations by Marcus Aurelius)

Watch documentaries and films inspired by true stories. (I recommend Self Made and The Last Dance)

Listen to podcasts and interviews. (My favorite is The Diary of A CEO and The Koe Cast)

Throughout these stories, take mental notes of any strong emotions and feelings that you might have.

And with self-reflection, you start to understand yourself better.

Why did I get so emotional about this scene?

Why did that chapter resonate with me so much?

Why was that person’s story so boring?

Explore, get inspired, and self-reflect everyday.

Be Still

In this day and age, it’s impossible for our minds to be still.

When we wake up, we check out smartphones.

While we go for a run or to the gym, we have our earphones plugged in.

During our meals, we’re looking at a screen.

We take our phones with us when we go to the washroom.

I’ve even seen people who scroll through social media while watching Netflix!

Consumption never stops.

Over-simulation is a problem.

How would anyone be able to stay open-minded, patient, and reflective if we never stop to just think?

Normally, I would say that meditation is the answer.

But if it’s too “woo-woo” for you, just try putting your devices aside more often.

There is no need for the internet while we’re in the washroom, on the bus, or having our meals.

Take a breath and think.

Change of Purpose

A purpose can change with growth.

As we grow older, we go through new experiences and gain new perspectives.

A boy would grow into a man.

Some turn into fathers while others take on new faiths.

Whether it’s significant life events, painful losses, or traumatic events, it’s most important that we remain open.

Keep going.


It is true that self-reflection and introspection can help us discover our purpose.

However, it is important to note that this is a never-ending journey.

If you’d like, there are coaches, mentors, therapists, and counsellors that can help you reflect on your journey to uncover your purpose.

There are also workshops, courses, and books.

If you'd like, you can join my Like-Attract-Likes programme which includes discovering your purpose.

Otherwise, some tools that you can try on your own include:

  • journaling at least once a day
  • meditation
  • mind mapping (brain dump)
  • vision boarding
  • think about what your perfect day looks like
  • think about your 10-year, 3-year, then 1-year self
  • constantly ask yourself “Why”

You will know when you have found or are close to finding your purpose.

Closing Thoughts

Finding your purpose can be transformative and fulfilling.

However, it may not be for everyone.

Some of us may feel a strong desire to find our purpose and make a meaningful impact on the world.

Others may be content with simply living their lives without a specific purpose.

Just like how some of us think self-autonomy is important while others prefer a stable job.

There is nothing wrong with either expect when it’s not true.

So, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do you want to find your purpose?
  • What do you hope to achieve by doing so?
  • Are you seeking greater meaning and fulfillment in your life?
  • Do you feel pressure from external expectations to have a defined purpose?

That’s all for now.

Whenever you're ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:
  1. If you want help taking your business from #commodity to a #NicheOfOne, find out more about the Like-Attract-Likes programme or DFY services. Join the business owners who have started unleashing their purpose as their brand's superpower.
  2. If you want coaching or consultation, drop me an email to enquire about The Purpose Powerhouse programme. Hourly rates and packages are available to serve your every need.
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