Clear Purpose to Hit Pay Dirt

The Core Purpose Drill Down Tool to Align Your Business & Marketing Strategies to Your Why

In my post on why purpose is the thread that aligns your strategies, plans, and actions, I talked about how purpose serves as the backbone of your business and is MAKE or BREAK for productivity and growth. Here, I give you a simple yet powerful tool to clarify your compelling core purpose so you can:

  • Feel inspired to get out of bed each day and do your best work.
  • Maximize the ROI of your investments in marketing, certifications, and relationship-building.
  • Align your business and marketing strategies and systems to your “Why.”

Yearning for the next level of purpose, productivity, or profitability is a natural phase of business transitions– starting your own firm, dealing with growth, succession, or industry and economic disruptions, to name just a few.

Oftentimes, the next level may not disclose itself until you are ready for it. Signs that you are at the threshold may include a feeling of unease, or knowing that you need to do something different to get to where you want to go, but not yet knowing what or how.

How to Drill Down to Your Core Purpose

The Core Purpose Drill Down technique is simple and quick. It involves asking a three-part question in each of two or more subsequent rounds.

Start the first round this way:

If you achieve ______________________, what will you be able to do? (*In the blank, insert your purpose or most desired result.)

Then, follow up by answering: …And, how will you feel?

Then, answer …And, what will you be able to get?

Start the second round this way:

For any or all of your first round answers, think about the follow-up question:

If you are able to do (or feel, or get) ______________________, what will you be able to do (or feel or get)? (*In the blank, insert an answer from the previous round.)

Continue until you’ve written your answers to all three part of the question: i.e., (1) How would you feel? (2) What would you be able to do? (3) What would you get, or be able to get?

The Drill Down In Action

Identifying your purpose is a prerequisite…for attracting your ideal clients and increasing your profitability because it helps you stay focused and is necessary to align your strategies and actions to get the results you want.

When I asked my client Richard, “What is your purpose for yourself in your business right now?” He answered that it is to increase revenues by offering new retainer or concierge services and to get more referrals. Those are tactics and results, but not a clear and compelling purpose. As he talked about his purpose, Richard expressed confusion and a lack of direction. He felt like he was on a treadmill trying to tick off “should-do’s” without much time for “love-to’s.” He lacked a true purpose statement to inspire, engage, and align his business and marketing strategies with his “why.”


Using the Core Purpose Drill Down helped Richard shift from feeling stuck to having a renewed sense of direction and focus.

We started with the first Drill Down question:

“Richard, if you got or achieved those things—more revenues and referrals—how would you feel? And what would you be able to do?”

He said that he’d feel more professional and happier. He’d be able to focus on work he enjoys most and feels best equipped to do. And, he’d finally have the focus and time to deal with tasks he’d been dragging his heels on, like updating his website. Then, he expressed his biggest fear that if he wasn’t clearer about the value he offers, his clients would leave and he would not be able to attract new ones.

(1) Richard believed that not communicating his true value was holding him back.

(2) In the absence of a clear and compelling purpose, his business decisions were motivated by fear.

Then, we drilled down one more time. I asked:

“Richard, if you communicated your value better, how would you feel? And, what would you be able to do or get?

His answer came immediately in the full-bodied tone of his true and compelling purpose: “I’d be able to go to my office each day and feel like I was going to see my best friends, because the clients I’d have would feel like my friends. Communicating with them would be easy because I could be myself and do my best for them. I’d be able to help them create more peace of mind and meaning from their money, and so I’d also be creating more peace and meaning for myself.”

Hearing himself be able to articulate his clear and compelling purpose, Richard was able to align his strategies and achieve break through results. It also made him a lot less vulnerable to stress from the constant barrage of pain-targeted marketing and sales pitches, so he stopped wasting money on marketing initiatives that he didn’t need.

Tips For Using This Simple Tool with Clients

As a talented practitioner, you know that part of the art of what you do is in the questions you ask and the ways you guide your clients to express what they most ant and need. Here are a few more tips to help you start using the Core Purpose Drill Down:

  • You don’t have to ask the questions in lockstep. Sometimes, you’ll find it more helpful to ask about what a person will be able to do or get before asking about how they will feel, or vice versa.
  • The approach requires deep listening. When you do that, you can improvise, based on the answers you get along the way.
  • The number of rounds is up to you.
  • Use reflective listening to acknowledge and restate your client’s responses at each level of the drill down.

You’ll know when you hit pay dirt, as I did with Richard, when his voice deepened and his jaw relaxed as he spoke about what was most true and compelling for him. It’s that same tone when your client really “gets” something you’ve said or explained. Except in this case, you are helping them connect on a deep level with their own hopes, wishes, and aspirations through actively listening.


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