The Super Bowl, Clarity of Purpose and Career Success

They played the Super Bowl yesterday.  The Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 31 – 25.  This killed me because I grew up in Pittsburgh and am a huge Steelers fan.  Oh well, maybe next year.

There is a lot of career advice to be found in a championship sporting event like the Super Bowl: focus, determination, hard work, commitment, attention to detail.  World class athletes demonstrate all of these career success characteristics.

In this post, I want to focus on an important, but often overlooked, piece of career advice that can be found in the stories surrounding yesterday’s game – the importance of clarifying your purpose and direction for your life and career success.  Tweet 3 in my latest career advice book Success Tweets says, “Think of your purpose as your personal mission; why you are on this earth.”  Tweet 4 says, “The mightier your purpose, the more likely you are to succeed.”

Mike McCarthy is the Head Coach Green Bay of the Green Bay Packers.  In one of the little ironies you find in sports, he is a Pittsburgh native.  He grew up as a big Steelers fan.  Early on, Mike realized that his purpose in life – his personal mission — was to be a football coach.  And for him, this was a mighty purpose.

Mike McCarthy’s purpose of becoming a football coach was so powerful that he took an unpaid job at the University of Pittsburgh as an assistant coach.  He worked all night as a toll taker on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to pay the bills.  He quickly became a paid assistant coach at Pitt and then moved on to a series of assistant coaching positions in professional football before becoming the Green Bay Head Coach.  Yesterday he coached his team to a victory in the Super Bowl.  Mike McCarthy’s mighty purpose has taken him to the pinnacle of his profession.

As a career success coach, I’m here to help other people succeed in creating the life and career success they want and deserve.  I think this is a pretty mighty purpose for my life.  I may help someone who someday may become President, or a Supreme Court Justice, or find a cure for cancer, or just be a loving and caring parent.  This purpose anchors me.  It keeps me going when I get frustrated, or when I feel like quitting, or when I start to feel that it’s OK to be “good enough,” not great.

I define the word “purpose” as follows…

  • Your reason for existing. 
  • Your mission in life.
  • Your passion.
  • Why you are on this earth.

This isn’t always easy to discover. 

If you’re young and still trying to figure out your purpose, don’t worry.  It takes time.  That’s why I always tell people to be open to new ideas and thoughts, as you never know what you might pick up.

If you told me when I was in high school that my purpose mission would be to help others create their life and career success, I would have laughed.  It took several courses in college and a year of service as a VISTA Volunteer for me to figure it out.  That’s when I began my career in the human development field.

Your purpose needs to come from deep inside you.  It is unlikely to change over the long run.  I’ve had lots of different jobs in lots of companies and have been self employed for over 20 years. 

Through all the changes, one thing has remained constant – my desire and passion for helping others create the life and career success they deserve.  In my heart of hearts, I know that I am on this earth to help others navigate the ambiguities of life in order to reach their goals and create their career success.

Here is my purpose…

To help others achieve the life and career success that they want and deserve by applying their common sense.

It hasn’t changed since I was 23 years old.  This purpose reflects who I am and why I get up every morning – even on mornings after my team has lost the Super Bowl.  It’s what’s right for me. 

What’s right for you?  What is your passion?  What is your reason for living?  Why you are on this earth?  What is your purpose?

You have to begin your career success journey by clarifying your purpose in life.  Why are you on this earth?  What are you meant to do?  I believe that the more mighty your purpose, the more you are likely to succeed.  A mighty purpose gives you that strong foundation.
Brad Swift of the Life On Purpose Institute (, makes a great point about clarity of purpose…

“Taking a bold stand for living on purpose starts by knowing your purpose with crystal clarity — knowing it so well that if someone woke you up at 3:00 in the morning and asked you what your life purpose is, you’d be able to tell them.  And if someone who knew you well heard what you said, they’d realize that your life was a true, authentic reflection of that purpose.”

There are two common sense piece of career advice on which I want to focus here.  First, your purpose should be so big, so mighty, so important to you, that it is deeply ingrained in your psyche.  It has to be part of who you are.  Second, you have to live your purpose 24/7/365.  This takes commitment; commitment to determining your life’s purpose, and commitment to living it.

If you were to wake me at 3:00 in the morning, shine a light in my face and ask me for my life’s purpose, I’m sure I would say, “Helping people create their life and career success.”  It’s that much a part of me.  My elevator speech begins, “Hi, I’m Bud Bilanich, the Common Sense Guy; I help people create their life and career success applying their common sense.”

For me, this is a mighty purpose.  I’m helping other people create their life and career success — and fulfillment in their lives.  That’s important work in my book.  I take immense satisfaction out of seeing others learn, grow and succeed.  In another life I might have been a teacher or athletic coach.  In this life, I help people create the life and career success that they want and deserve.

If you woke Mike McCarthy am 3:00 am and asked him his purpose, I bet he would tell you, “being a football coach.”  This purpose is so mighty for him that he began his coaching career as an unpaid coach, learning the ropes while taking tolls on the graveyard shift to make ends meet.

Is your life purpose mighty?  I hope so.

The common sense career success coach point of here is simple.  Successful people ground themselves in a mighty purpose.  Tweet 3 in Success Tweets says, “Think of your purpose as your personal mission; why you are on this earth.” Tweet 4 says, “The mightier your purpose, the more likely you are to succeed.  It will give you a strong foundation when the winds of change shift.”  Take this advice to heart.  Ground yourself with a mighty purpose — and live it every day.  As the old saying goes, “It’s better to aim to high and fall a little short than it is to aim too low and reach your goal.”  Or, as Mario Andretti once said, “If you’re in complete control, you’re probably not going fast enough.”  I’m sure there were plenty of times during his run to becoming a Super Bowl winning coach when Mike McCarthy felt a little out of control.  But in the end, he and his team triumphed.  His mighty purpose saw him through.  Here’s a tip of my hat from one Pittsburgh guy to another Mike.  Enjoy your victory.  You’ve earned it.

That’s my career advice on finding a mighty purpose to help you create the life and career success you want and deserve.  What do you think?  Please take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading my musings on life and career success.


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