A Higher Purpose

February 11th, 2009 by Sharon Larsen

Entrepreneurs often get excited to start a business because they know how profitable it can be.  Rich encourages having a higher purpose than creating wealth, though, when approaching a new business venture.



At this stage in my life I frequently find myself asking “Is what I am doing making a difference?” In 2003, as I left the corporate world, I recall I had a strong drive to do something that mattered. I wanted to conduct business in a humane and ethical manner. I am still the same. The approaches I use to get the win are as important as getting the win.


Why make millions of dollars in “flim-flam” scams or fly-by-night businesses? The victory is hollow, and the loss of your self-esteem and integrity is way too high a price to pay.


So what does all of this have to do with generating ideas? At one point in my career, I had a partner who was one of the most philanthropic individuals I have been associated with. Coincidentally—or not—he is also one of the best idea people I have ever met. One of his fundamental beliefs that I have also adopted and grown to love is the concept of “putting positive ions into the universe”: as you make positive contributions to the world around you, ideas and opportunities will naturally return.


He was one of the founders of Unitis. Unitis’s mission is to fight global poverty by increasing access to microfinance. He believes that as he puts good into the world, the good will return to him exponentially. I have seen this work for him on a personal and professional level. It never ceases to amaze me how just the right concept, just the right solution, or just the right idea will gravitate to him, completely unsolicited. I attribute this to his living the principle of a higher purpose. I’ll be the first to admit I have absolutely no idea how this principle works. But I know it does. I attribute many of my fortunate coincidences in business to this principle and to my aforementioned Higher Power.


I have also found that when things get really, really tough, having a purpose greater than money can provide intense fortitude. Shallow goals provide shallow support. Goals with depth, on the other hand, will give you a long-lasting well of strength and determination to draw from when times get tough.


Over the past several years, I have become fixated on helping young women in third world countries (specifically, Nepal) break the bonds of abuse and oppression. This is a goal so much greater than me, and I have struggled at times to even know where to start. As part of my efforts, I have set up an educational model and structure that has proven very powerful with my daughter Nawang, who is from Nepal. Bit by bit I have worked, built, and dreamed about the impact that I might have there. It has required me to be creative and use non-traditional approaches. The project consumes me. It motivates and inspires me. It is indeed my higher purpose. What is yours?


Porter’s Points—A Higher Purpose


·         Decide now that it is important to contribute to the greater good, to a higher purpose than building your bank account.

·         Create your plan and get started. Make it a priority. Do it now.

·         Read a biography of someone you admire and take note of the steps he or she took to find higher purpose.



Tomorrow we’ll finish out Chapter 2: Juice to the Light Bulb!



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