A broken heart is a powerful lever. From our broken heart we stand more fiercely, leaving behind the small play of mediocrity.

So much has been written about living on purpose. Finding purpose. But what if your purpose is not so clear, or constantly moving?

Go then with the heartache. Go where your heart breaks again and again. Where you find your own fierce voice that will not be silenced.

It often takes that.

It takes a mother losing a child to a disease, to becoming the advocate for the diseases cure.

It takes the victim of a bully to teach people to no longer be victims.

It takes the person who has lost limbs to become a spokes person for all those who do not have all their limbs and faculties.

Heartache builds businesses that people want to be engaged with. Enterprises that have a transcendent purpose. Like Patagonia. Who Gives Crap. Pencils of Promise.

Yet how do we build the usual business?

Step one, leave your heart ache at home. Please show up to work from the neck up only. Make sure that we never care that much…..that much to go the extra mile, hour, effort…and then some.

But where do we get the best of the best of people?

When they have a transcendent purpose, deeply inspired by heart break. And the autonomy to be able to do something about it. (See Drive, by Dan Pink)

Sure, a broken heart is messy. There will be tears. But there will also be passion, commitment, and X times effort. There will be colour, and speed, and aliveness. Engagement assessments…well they will no longer be needed. (Seriously, why would you ever want to do a staff engagement survey? Kind of like poking the almost living dead to see what signs of life remain. You know when people are engaged. You can see the twinkle in their eyes and the buoyancy of their step.)

Of course, to build a business that cares to the marrow means you need to care to the marrow. You need to allow you heart to break.

All the great leaders of our last 150 years, they lived each day soaked in their heart break. Not afraid of it. Never trying to hide it. But using it as the very lever that had them move mountains.

It’s OK for our hearts to be broken. It is what gives us life.

Photo credit: Paul B via Compfight



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