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We are charting new territory as we restore our freedoms and evolve into the next stage of our lives and careers.

What can help? Some of us are languishing, not feeling much joy, we are anxious and afraid.

Knowing or re-knowing our purpose can make a very big difference to our focus, energy and confidence. However, this can be easier said than done.

For many years I have known my passion; the thing I could not resist doing. It is to help people ignite and liberate their own potential.

I help people move from “I can’t” to “I can”, or to “I can take this next step on my journey”.

Here’s the question – do you think this the same as my purpose?

I no longer think it is. My passion is what I do, even some of the how, but it’s not the why. It lacks focus or context, and does not measure the impact of my contribution over time.

I’m glad to say that over the last few months a number of things have come together for me.

My journey with leadership, the potential of women and interest in the transport sector have come together to offer a leadership programme, LEAD, for members of Women in Transport.

It feels much more like my purpose. Our first programme started last week.

So if I have moved from passion to purpose, what’s different, and how can I tell?

Let’s take this one step at a time.

I could say LEAD is to help develop the careers and advancement of women in the transport sector.

A good goal, but not enough for me. Advancement of women is the “what” of the LEAD programme.

I could say LEAD is to help achieve gender representation at senior levels in the transport sector.

Laudable, but again, not enough. Gender representation is one component of “how” we can bring about change in the transport sector, but for me, it’s not all of the story.

I could say from LEAD we will improve gender representation at senior levels and from this we will improve transport for all.

This is the arrival point for me. It is my heart’s desire, my purpose, to contribute to improving transport for all, and to do this through improving gender representation by developing women leaders.

This is my “Why” – the purpose of the LEAD programme for me.

What’s underneath this?

I believe gender representation at senior levels will help improve the design and operation of transport solutions for all, as women are often more closely involved with the needs of the elderly, disabled and children, and want safe, reliable transport for all of these stakeholders, including women themselves when travelling on their own.

And when I can say “I believe”, or “This is my aspiration”,  I have my purpose.

It links to a greater goal, improving things for and including others.  It aims for higher level outcomes – in this case, better design, safety and operation –  and goes beyond how things are today. 

And when we are working with purpose:

  • our motivation to succeed,
  • our energy in engaging with others,
  • our persistence, tenacity and willingness to go the extra mile

makes each and every one of us unstoppable.

I have really enjoyed getting more clear, and I’m wondering, is this something you would like too?

Do you want to renew or refresh or refocus your purpose to re-energise you as we collectively emerge from Coronavirus?

If you need a thinking partner to help you get clear about your purpose, and the positive impact it can make for others, get in touch. Let’s explore over a virtual coffee what you can do!

And if you are interested in the next programme of LEAD, it’s a September start and the details are here:

Gill How loves to work with managers, executives and professionals to help them to evolve, stretch and grow their leadership capability. She is a Master Executive Coach and innovative Leadership Developer who works both internationally and in the UK.

“Insightful. Thought-provoking. Empowering. As an executive coach Gill is patient, engaging, empathetic and shares her experience and knowledge with natural ease. She nudged and stretched me to reflect on and try new ways of thinking and communicating. We explored adaptive techniques to leverage my strengths but also ways to befriend my weaknesses and consider instead, how they might be new horizons. We had some great discussions on our sessions, all of which still inspire and reassure me as I continue to build my style of leadership and personal brand, honed within the BCS Women Transforming Digital Leadership programme. Highly recommended and thank you so much for everything Gill.”

Helena Bishop, BAE Systems

PS. If you would like to know more about the importance of purpose, take a look at Simon Sinek’s TED talk here:

He suggests a format for your Why as follows:



(your contribution)


So that:                                                                                                                                                                                      

(the impact)

Photo credit- Martin How. New Depot at Old Oak Common Lane 2017.

Gill How

Helping leaders grow, step up and deliver outstanding results

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