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Discussions on Designing with a purpose

~ with Irmi L

Irmi, will you kick this off with some clarity, what is designing with a purpose all about anyway, in the business sense?

Irmi L:

In short designing with a purpose means to understand the value of the end-result. Whether this is only a framework, or a complete prototype, or even up to delivery of the live product, designing with a purpose means that you understand what the product is to achieve, and it is easier to do if this purpose aligns with your own purpose in life, and even easier if this aligns with the mission of the client you partner with.


Candice R:

This ties in with impact. As CE’s we all start off with a mission to make a difference, to solve a problem that will help people, or the world in some way. How deflating to go through all the sweat and tears to achieve something… but with little impact. To REALLY make a difference, this requires us to continuously be mindful and purposeful with the impact we are trying to make.

How did you even come across this topic of designing with a purpose, what’s the backstory Irmi?

Irmi L:

It’s become clear as I progressed in my career. I spent years working alongside phenomenal people, and co-workers who couldn’t see the wood from the trees. One thing became clear: the difference for people who made wild successes of their careers or businesses was that they found their fire, their purpose and didn’t let anything come in the way of pursuing that. It spurred me to search for mine, because I already believed that life only had value if you found and fulfilled your reason for living. COVID proved to be the boiling pot for distilling the clarity I needed and pretty soon I understood that I had a heart for health. That was just the idea. It had to become clearer over the months to come, until I completed health qualifications, started with Root Cause Care, a social brand posting on health online, and formally registered and launched Clarity Studios, a health and wellness digital design studio. This is my fire and even on days that I feel tired it’s not hard to do what needs to be done. That is the effect of purpose.


Candice R:

Clearly COVID made a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of time to dig deep, DNA-Business was born in that time too so I can relate to your story at that time too. What stands out for me in what you have said is how deep entrepreneurship can (and maybe should!) be. How personal business can be. How intertwined our businesses are with who we are personally. I could never understand how for some people they have their business persona and their personal persona. For me, being an entrepreneur affords us the ability to align our personal values into the business we are creating.


Is finding a purpose to guide what we do as CE’s something that CE’s should be considering?

Irmi L:

I’ve met many very successful people who feel they haven’t found what they’re looking for yet. Doing the job is almost automatic to them. It requires very little energy.


If however, you too have this itch that won’t leave you alone, that sounds like “there must be more” or “I’m missing something” then it may be that you’re being called to find your purpose. It’s time to listen to what your insides already know: designing fueled by purpose is like a V8 engine with the NOS turned wide open.


Candice R:

It's easy to ignore and a little scary to acknowledge but at the same time it can be life changing to be real with that inner voice. I have found speaking with many CE’s that the knowingness is heard, but the real difficulty is in taking the jump to leave the predictable and safe world and enter into living your purpose and it is filled with so much unknown. Going back to what you mentioned earlier, successful people who are still looking for something, makes me think that perhaps we need to redefine our notion of success, and perhaps success lies in finding a fulfilling purpose.


What are the benefits of aligning my business more purposefully?

Irmi L:

The benefits are clear:

- Solutions are directed by your purpose, and you will be able to instinctively find innovative ways to answer to a need that may be hidden to someone else.

- Your business decisions will also be guided by this purpose, making it easier to define the direction and strategy for the future.

- Your intent and commitment to the projects you accept will be felt in your solutions, which means your clients will benefit from the work you deliver.

- This quality is your brand, and will ultimately run ahead of you as people seek you out to work with you based on what they heard.

- Eventually (or immediately) you won’t be willing to compromise on your purpose and accept projects outside of the scope of your defined vision and mission.


This is the benefits to your business. Bigger than that is the benefit to you:

- You will feel stronger and younger.

- You will have renewed energy to tackle the projects that align with this new-found fire.

- You will begin to infect people around you to find their purpose.

- Your little light will be put on a hill and it won’t be possible to hide it.


Candice R:

And in saying that, we also know that there is no such rewards without any risk. It starts with being bold and daring to ask the hard questions as to what your purpose is, or are you living up to that, or IS your business STILL fulfilling its purpose or has it derailed. Being honest with oneself. Given the benefits you mentioned, its well worth it when you do.


Final pearls of wisdom to share on this topic?

Irmi L:

Finding your purpose isn’t something you can rush. And it isn’t kept for a select few. Everybody is born to fill a gap, do a thing that nobody else was born to do. Only you can do the thing. And you should be careful to understand that this means that you will be doing it your way. Not the normal way. Not the usual way. So, if you have always been weird in a sense, chances are that is your key. Start there. Be ready to be the whole you, not the socially accepted version you created through years of being alive. This is very much like unbecoming everything we were taught to be… so we can be who we truly are. And in that lies so much fulness and peace and happiness. I wish this for everybody.


Candice R:

And when we are clear on this purpose, continuously holding ourselves to task. We all go off track, we need to work on holding ourselves accountable. As CE’s we need to come together and continue to have these conversations, challenge ourselves and one another on whether we are still being purposeful in business. Thank you Irmi for starting this conversation!


~ From the podcast, "DESIGNING WITH PURPOSE WITH IRMI L", take a listen over here


Work with IRMI L

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