I am always guilty of taking a principle and trying to apply it to other areas of my life. For me the three P’s in life fit nicely: purpose, plan and patience.


It could be called a goal, but goals tend to revolve too much around money and are frequently set by others. Purpose reaches deeper inside a person. Why are you in business? What do you want to achieve in life? Was it really all about money? While goals are similar to purpose, I would consider goals the benchmarks to define our inner purpose. Goals tend to set you up for failure. When I owned a contracting business, I looked for people with the “right stuff.” I hope you know what is meant by the “right stuff.” These people are willing to learn, care and enjoy a challenge. Once you find a person like that, they should be trusted, treated well and compensated; it does not always have to be monetary. People respond to sincere recognition and appreciation.

Your purpose is a much broader term and is the reason to get up, go to work and strive to be the best. You must have a purpose in life. Where do you see yourself? Matt Lauer of the “Today” show had always seen himself as the host of the “Today” show. He turned down more lucrative offers on the way to his “purpose” and his agent thought he was crazy. However, he felt he was meant to be there, he knew it would be a good fit for him and the show; it was “his purpose” in life. Find your purpose and help your key employees find theirs.


Planning is another reason why I like the term “purpose” better than goals. Goals immediately bring thoughts of sacrifice. Your purpose is inside you and you can’t change that. A good thought out plan with your purpose in mind will make you happy and get you ahead. There may be changes in your plan, and that’s OK. A change in plan for a purpose is acceptable; a change in plan for a goal is often perceived as failure.

I enjoy helping people. It is in my nature and blends well with my purpose. Sometimes situations change and you have to change your plan to fit your purpose. I had to find a new plan that supported my purpose. My purpose was to be respected, needed and appreciated for the work I did. I also felt my purpose was to write, particularly about the wall and ceiling industry. I was initially disappointed at my change in plan, but things tend to work out if you stay committed to your purpose. As it turns out, I was offered the position of editorial director for Walls & Ceilings magazine and my new architectural office supports me on this venture. It is amazing how things can fall into place. My plan changed, but my purpose is intact.I have found my purpose renewed again and enjoy going to work. With a proper purpose, a plan almost falls into place. If extra schooling is needed, either classes or networking, you will relish the chance to go. Finding an employee’s purpose is difficult and requires a sincere employer without self-serving intentions. A cynical employer would think, “the purpose of my employees is to get more money out of me for less work.” If you just thought this, sit down with your spouse and have a heart-to-heart talk about how you answered this in your mind. It might also explain why all the other companies seem to get the good employees. Cynical thinking attracts cynical people.


This is probably the toughest item of all. Up until now it all sounded pretty easy. It is not. We can all get side tracked and can be shortsighted. Hopefully, you are not in this for the short haul or the quick buck. Think and visualize where you want to be in the future. Surround yourself with good people, sharp team players and do not be afraid if they are better than you at some things. It will make you better in the long run. Don’t keep or work for people who are self-serving. But the key point is to be patient. Matt Lauer thought he would never get there and almost gave up. I went to school to be an architect, and that was my dream as young man. Today, 35 years later, I work for one of Seattle’s more respected architectural firms and I am the editorial director of the nation’s premier walls and ceilings construction magazine. Patience pays off when you have a purpose and initiate a plan! W&C