Leading With Purpose

by Kudzayi Mubaiwa

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” 
 Ralph Waldo Emerson

We’re all aware of the rumors circulating around Millennials. We’re lazy, entitled, and we need constant validation for our efforts. More importantly, we’re “known” for our low levels of engagement in the workplace. Well, that’s one way to put it.

A more fitting description of Millennials

Unlike many previous generations, Millennials are unique because they would rather make a difference than receive promotions at work. Millennials want to work for organizations that give provide them with a purpose and make them feel like they are really contributing something to the world.

So maybe the problem isn’t that we are disengaged, lazy, or entitled. Instead, it could be that the “needed” sense of purpose and guidance is missing in too many business structures.

According to a PWC study, approximately 50% of the global workforce will be comprised of Millennials by 2020. And guess what? We are not going anywhere.  By the way, if you haven’t caught on yet… I’m a Millennial; and proud of the fact. And if the above study holds true, then why aren’t more of us making an impact in our businesses? Or at the very least, why aren’t we on our way there?

Some could argue that it’s our view of leadership and the workplace. “They told me I didn’t have enough experience,” is a response that we have all heard, or said, from time to time (guilty as charged). Or we make excuses for our own shortcomings, arguing, “It was too structured” or “there were too many rules for my taste.”

But isn’t that the same with any organization? These, my friends, are all excuses. We need to find a way to make our unique generational assets blend with existing leadership until we are in a position to change it ourselves.

What we need is a disruption of the status quo. I’m not talking about destroying corporate structures from the ground up; I’m talking about truly challenging ourselves to find new, creative ways to make those corporate structures work for us. If we want to be leaders, we need to find our mission… our purpose, and let that guide us through.

Purpose will motivate us to keep moving forward, while embracing those risks and enduring failure. But we need to realize that no one is going to provide us with a purpose, we need to work harder to find that for ourselves. It is the only way that we are going to grow, and it’s the only way that we are ever going to be taken seriously.

To the Boomers and ‘Gen X-ers’ out there, this is not say “move out of the way.” Instead, why not give us a little room to grow?

So who are we?

We’re Millennials! We are 84 million tech-savvy individuals just itching to make a difference. All we need is the right guidance and someone to believe in our efforts. But more importantly than that, we need to develop the strength and conviction to trust and believe in our own capabilities if we’re going to make the real impact we all want.

To the other Millennials out there, this is my call to you. Not as a community leader, or someone ‘in-charge’ – but as a fellow Millennial who has found his purpose. Let’s get off the sidelines and take some risks. We’re tomorrow’s leaders and it’s time we started preparing for tomorrow by working with what we have today.


Kudzayi is the President and Lead Consultant at Independent Marketing Group, who specialize in branding and SEO.  Kudzayi also serves on the Relā(NxGen) Steering Committee.


To find out more about Relā(NxGen) or to get involved, visit us HERE.  And if you haven’t already, be sure to join our email list so you never miss out on content and upcoming events.

3 Responses to “Leading With Purpose

  • well written article… had an argument with our "fathers" about how our generation and how they see us as wanting the high life and get rich quick schemes… my response: firstly you’ve been talking to the wrong ones, secondly take a look at yourselves, we only imitate what you taught us, thirdly, my kind are seeking purpose, to make that difference, not for myself but for a legacy, for my grandchildren to have a blue print of what life is about, purpose and meaning, and like you rightfully stated, we are not saying move over but give us room, mentor us, accept that your way is not the only way and lets build something amazing together!!!

  • Shannon Lee
    6 years ago

    Felix, well put and we agree! Thanks for your comments!

  • Well said. I especially like: "What we need is a disruption of the status quo. We need to find our mission… our purpose, and let that guide us through."

    I am not a Millennial. My four sons are. I’m the old guy. However, I choose to hire only millennials. Here is why…

    Experience is good, but experience also produces opinions and prejudices. Always. Success requires focus, and focus causes blind spots.

    I began my company at age 22. I succeeded by breaking the status quo, and re-inventing the industry. It worked. However, I soon become the new status quo. I had the knowledge and expertise, but was no longer on the cutting edge of ideas.

    Your generation sees things in ways that I never will. I need that perspective. In my business, I push the millennials for ideas and new approaches. Many of the ideas will fail (as did mine, when I started). I don’t care. It is the only path to achievement.

    It is a partnership. The millennials bring a level of energy, creativity, and limitless perspective that exceeds my abilities. I bring the experience and knowledge to negotiate through land-mines they may overlook.

    It have been the key to our success.

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