Purpose, Popsicles, & Planning

October 31, 2023

a bucket of frozen popsicles sitting in ice

Dear Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Dreamers, and Creators of Great Things: I write these Love Letters each month with the hope of bringing you a little encouragement, some marketing help, and a few minutes of joy. Whether we are already friends or have yet to meet, I hope you’ll enjoy my stories from the road and some awesomely random takeaways, tools, tips, and updates.

With purpose. On purpose.

I heard an interesting story about Walt Disney last week. As the story goes, when building Disney World, Walt instructed his crew to start building the castle first, so everyone who worked on the park could see it every day. He wanted it to serve as a reminder of the vision and purpose of the entire project. Whether or not it’s true – it’s a good story. And a reminder for all of us to start our business with the most important piece: our purpose.

Not long ago, I saw a quote from Jade Simmons that said, “Your purpose is not the thing you do. It is the thing that happens in others when you do what you do.” (Wowsa. Mic drop.)

No disrespect to Simon Sinek, but I think we spend waaaayyy too much time focused on our why and not nearly enough time focused on our purpose. Our why is all about ourselves. What gets me out of bed? What drives me? What is my focus? But our purpose is all about the people we serve or help. What happens to them when you do what you do?

A 2023 Deloitte study found that there are 30% higher levels of innovation and 40% higher employee engagement and retention rates in organizations that have a sense of purpose. Organizations or teams that clearly know their audience, what they need, and how to best help them are more creative, engaged, and have more fun at work. And who doesn’t want to have more fun at work?

I went through a rebranding exercise earlier this summer and part of the process was to identify my own personal mission statement. This exercise helped me go from focusing on my why to being specific about my purpose. I had to get really specific about who I serve and what I want their outcome to be. It was a super powerful exercise, and I think every single person who runs a business should experience it.

As part of your business planning this year, I hope you all take the time to answer these three questions:

1. Who do I serve? Who is my audience? – Get specific. Don’t just say “people.” Get super clear on who you serve (and who you don’t.) The more specific, the better.
2. What does my audience need most? What is the biggest challenge they have that I can help them solve? What is that challenge doing to them, and what would a solution do for them?
3. How do I help them? What happens to them as a result of working with me or my team? What do my services allow them to become or accomplish?

I promise you, this is one of the most important things you can do for your business. The more clear your purpose, the easier it is to set goals, plan ahead, and say no to the things that don’t align. You’ll find yourself examining some of the things on your to-do list in new ways, asking, “Does this really serve my customer, or does it only serve me?”

What is your Disney castle, friends? What is the one thing you want to always be visible to everyone who works with you? Take the time to build that, and everything else will fall into place.

image with the words In the Rearview, lessons learned and stories from the road

Popsicle Hotline

In Los Angeles, about a block from the Walk of Fame, there is an old 1950s apartment building that has been repurposed into a hotel. The Magic Castle Hotel is not much to look at. Concrete, wrought iron, a few palm trees, and a pool – it’s your basic, run-of-the-mill hotel.

But there is one thing about this hotel that has made it legendary, consistently ranking among one of the top hotels on TripAdvisor. It delivers a memorable, defining moment.

On the wall beside the pool, there is a red telephone. Guests can pick up the receiver at any time, 24 hours a day, to hear, “Hello, Popsicle Hotline.” They can request a popsicle in their favorite flavor, and a few minutes later, an employee wearing white gloves delivers it on a silver platter, at no charge.

This costs the hotel very little. Pennies, really. But it creates such a memorable experience for guests that it translates into raving reviews.

One simple question: what is your popsicle hotline? What is one thing you can offer your customers that translates into a memorable, defining moment? This is the question that is front and center as I start my planning for 2024, and I challenge you to make it yours as well. I’d love to hear your ideas!

image of a record player with words saying rockstars, awesome ideas, people, and tools

This is where I share the good stuff.

… the latest websites, books, & tools that are inspiring me, the people who are making me smile, and the stuff I have been writing on sticky notes.

  • This LinkedIn post. SO GOOD.
  • A 500-second masterclass on storytelling. Brilliant.
  • The tool I have been using to help me focus on completing tasks instead of multitasking. It has been a game-changer.
  • Three things I am definitely cooking this fall: This, and this, and this.
  • Three books I find myself opening a lot lately: This one, and this one, and this one.
  • While I often think that the search for the perfect tool or app can derail us from doing the thing, this list of resources is really good. If you are looking for better systems in your business, this is a great place to start.
  • Lastly, in a world where tech and AI seem to be the driving force lately, I am loving this quote:
    “Adapt what is useful,
    reject what is useless,
    and add what is specifically your own.”
    – Bruce Lee
    (Good advice as we start to look ahead to a new year.)


Thanks for reading, friends! If you want to get these in your inbox every month, be sure to get on the mailing list. And if you are looking for a speaker who will motivate your organization to get up, get moving, and face change head-on, I would love to chat.