The search for one’s true purpose in life is one of the most daunting questions we humans face – but it doesn’t have to be. Jennifer chats with Kevin Monroe, a self-described servant leader who brings his lifelong study of purpose into his work as a leadership coach and consultant, advising both individuals and companies in their search for purpose greater than themselves.
- How would you describe Kevin Monroe in one word? According to him, that word is “pilgrim.” Kevin tells Jennifer a little bit about how his outlook has changed throughout his life and how getting fired from his position in the church was exactly what he needed to start the next stage of his journey.
- After 10 years in telecommunications sales and marketing, and after finding out some hard truths about his long-coveted dream job, Kevin left to join a high-tech startup with some friends. Their timing wasn’t so great; as the dot-com bubble burst in 2001, the company dissolved and Kevin was brought back to that nagging question of purpose staring him in the face.
- Corporate America is a beast in its own right. Uninterested in returning to the predictable machinations of another corporate position, Kevin took a hard look at what success meant for him and where true fulfillment lay on his path, ultimately moving on to the non-profit sector.
- The tale of a short-lived career in the non-profit sector is unfortunately a dime a dozen. Kevin’s experience was no exception. After losing his job, the next step was a no-brainer: time to start a business. Jennifer asks Kevin about founding X Factor Consulting, LLC and the early days of being out on his own.
- Unearthing your purpose isn’t just about reaching a destination at the end of a path but navigating a winding road, its direction only visible a few steps ahead. After Kevin landed some clients and got things working smoothly, the question of purpose returned. Jennifer asks Kevin about how he used to think about his purpose and how it has changed over time.
- In Kevin’s view, purpose is not singular but is multidimensional and multifaceted; he talks about the importance of his family when it comes to purpose and the primacy of relationships.
- The times have changed. The corporations of yesteryear are catching up to the socially minded ethos of the non-profit sector. Kevin talks about how today’s conversations around balancing profit-making and social good are in line with the thread of servant leadership that he seems to have been following all along. Jennifer asks Kevin about what servant leadership is to him.
- For many doers and thinkers, the hyper-focus upon the individual leader is counterintuitive. Kevin talks about other-centered leadership, relaying a story about visiting the corporate headquarters of Chick-fil-A and the servant leadership approach of Southwest Airlines.
- How does one become a servant leader? Jennifer asks Kevin if people are born as servant leaders and if one can learn to shift their way of thinking. According to Kevin, “Little things matter most. And we never know what little thing is going to matter most to whom when.” Sometimes a warm greeting and a handshake can do amazing things.
- Both Kevin and Jennifer are walking proof that you can change the way you think about leadership step by step, throughout your life. Listen to them tell some stories about leadership experiences in their careers. Kevin also provides insight into the power of servant leadership and why it’s so much simpler and intuitive than it often sounds.
- Between his podcast – called the Higher Purpose podcast – and his consulting and facilitation work, Kevin’s focus on purpose is driven by the importance of self-driven discovery. There is no universal training program for servant leadership because everyone’s story is different. What Kevin tries to do is create the ideal conditions for companies and organizations to connect with their own story on a deeper level in order to discover, be inspired by and effectively lead with their newfound purpose.
- While Kevin mostly works with larger companies, he talks about some tools and resources for helping individuals. You can find some of these resources in the links below!
- So what’s next for Kevin Monroe? Kevin gives us some details about a new interview segment on the Higher Purpose podcast called Profiles of Purpose and drops a few juicy takeaways in the form of some excellent quotes, credited and original:
- “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliott
- “Purpose thrives in community, but starves in isolation.” – Kevin Monroe
Links and Resources:
Books (affiliate links):
Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose
Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit
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Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”