Why your purpose trumps your profile

If you have a big enough purpose, you will find a way through or around any challenge.  Nothing will stop you. I have been doing a resilience training program for two days, and one element of resilience is about your vision. And finding the purpose of your life, or your role, or any other part of your life. And it can be tough finding your purpose. 

Unless you are someone like Dick Hoyt. Father and son team, Dick and Rick Hoyt, are famous in triathlon circles for their determination and tenacity. In short, Rick is Dick’s son, and Rick was born with cerebral palsy. A physically debilitating disease that could have meant that Rick would have had a terrible life. If his dad wasn’t Dick Hoyt. 

Rick’s parents were told to institutionalise their son, from birth. That Rick would never amount to anything. That Rick would be more trouble than the family could handle. Thank God for Rick, the Hoyt family had other ideas. 

The Hoyt family treated Rick like their other kids, and finally Rick was able to communicate through a computer. Eventually, Rick graduated from university, and led a somewhat normal life. And he did triathlons (including Ironman events) with Dick. 

Here is what I learn from Team Hoyt! 

1. Purpose trumps process 

In Rick’s early years, Dick pushed his wheelchair on a short fun run. After that event, Rick said it was the first time in his life that he felt alive. So, Dick signed the pair up for longer events. And longer events. And the longest events. 

Eventually, they were doing a 3.8k swim, a 180k ride, and a 42.2k run, as part of an Ironman triathlon. With Dick pushing or pulling Rick around the entire course. Now, the pair started doing Ironman in the 1980s, when there was no real process, or equipment for athletes with cerebral palsy.  

Dick had to compromise. He pulled Rick through the swim in a rubber boat. He stuck a seat on the front of his bike, and he got a customer chair made that he could run with. The triathlon process never included disabled athletes. Until Team Hoyt showed up.  

In 2023, it is not uncommon to see disabled athletes doing the sport. Which is great, and the sport should be inclusive – which it is – but back then, Dick had to convince the organisers to let him and Rick compete. There was no accepted process for it back then. 

But Dick Hoyt had a big purpose. For them to finish the Ironman world championships in Kona. Which they did. 

2. Purpose trumps performance 

When you face difficulties, like Team Hoyt did, it does not matter where you come. It doesn’t even really matter if you don’t finish (which they didn’t sometimes), it just matters that you show up and have a crack.  

That you give it your all. That you put your performance expectations aside, that you care more about your purpose than your performance. For Dick and Rick Hoyt, it was about completing, not competing.  

But Dick Hoyt had a big purpose. If they ever felt like they were competing, it was only against themselves – they were the only athletes racing with cerebral palsy.  

3. Purpose trumps profile 

This is the big one. 

We are all different. We all have a different profile. Think DISC, or LSI, or TMS, or Myers Briggs, or any other personality profiling tool. Every human is just that little bit unique, and it is our uniqueness that sets up apart. That gives us strengths in life and gives us opportunities to improve.  

And there is a little bit of nature and nurture in all of our profiles. We are born with a proclivity towards some activities, and we work hard, in line with our environment, to develop others. At the end of the day, it does not matter what cards you are dealt, it only matters how much you want to achieve your goals and ambitions. Aka, how strongly you are driven by purpose. 

Think of Dick and Rick Hoyt. Dick not born an athlete. Rick born with cerebral palsy. Dick never thought about an Ironman, until Rick found joy in movement. Rick could play no part in the race, really, other than enjoy the heck out of it, and be grateful that he had a father that cared enough, and who was driven enough to make both of their dreams come true! 

But Dick had a big purpose. Forget their natural lack of ability and physical disability. Their personality and physical profiles mattered little, when doing something that big, together, father and son, was enough to drive both of them.  

In summary. Purpose trumps process, it trumps performance, and it trumps profile! 

How big is your purpose? 

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About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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