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It’s been a while since we wrote an article at Meta. If I’m honest, I’ve been seeking inspiration, waiting to find something new to write about that could inspire and delight, as there is such a prevalence of doom and gloom out there at the moment! 

Part of the purpose of these articles has always been to be a little ray of positivity, to inspire and remind us all of the important things of life and work, so that’s why today I’m going to be talking about PURPOSE and why it matters. 

I have been incredibly fortunate over my time at Meta to have worked with some amazing organisations. I have been particularly blessed recently to have worked with organisations whose purpose shines through in everything they do, from Crisis the homelessness charity, to Barnardo’s, to a senior leadership team within Leicestershire NHS and, most recently, NACCOM – a charity which supports charities that help to find safe accommodation for refugees. 

With Barnardo’s, the NHS and NACCOM, we are currently working with their leadership teams on long-term, in-depth leadership and team development programmes, where we explore what it means to be an excellent team and help to upskill the leaders with tools that will enable them to perform at their best and, therefore, fulfil their purpose to an even greater degree. What has struck me in working with such organisations is the dedication, the passion and the spirit of the teams I am working with. There is wonderful diversity, true inclusion, and an amazing determination to deliver their (very different) offerings in often very challenging, under-funded and under-resourced circumstances. They have inspired me, and I have to say that I have completely fallen in love with them all! 

During our leadership and team development programmes, we always explore what PURPOSE really means and how important it is to be able to explore and ultimately articulate your purpose. 

As you know, at Meta we love the etymology of words and so here goes:

PURPOSE means: ‘the reason why something is done, is created or exists’ and it comes from Latin word: ‘propositus’ which means ‘to put or set forth’. (This is the same root word from which we get the word ‘propose’, as in to ‘propose’ to someone, to get engaged.’)

Purpose is that which gives us meaning: the ‘raison d’être’ of what we do and why we do it. 

Purpose isn’t the ‘stuff’ of what we do, it’s why we do what we do and, if we don’t have purpose at work, then we just have plans to be actioned and endless lists of tasks that have no greater meaning, other than being something that needs to be done. 

Let’s face it, that’s not very inspiring. It’s not very motivational. 

We can all find purpose, no matter what work we do, and when we do find that purpose, that reason for doing what we do, it helps inspire and motivate us to give of our best and, frankly, it helps us to enjoy what we do that much more! 

I can hear the ‘doubting Thomas’ reading this, saying: 

 “Yeah Jo, all very nice. If you’re working in the public sector or in the third sector, where you can actually see that what you are doing makes a difference to an individual, a community, or a marginalised group. Then it’s easy to find purpose. But what if you’re working for a big corporate? What if the organisation seems to only be about making money and saving costs?”

OK Thomas, appreciate the article feedback, I’m on this.. Listen, we have done this exercise with lots of corporate organisations and leadership teams too! Turns out one can find purpose in almost any field of work. 

Take the gas sales managers we worked with some 15 years ago. These guys (and yes, they were all guys) were hardened salesmen out there flogging gas wherever they could. Their world was full of sales targets and getting the most for the organisation – they struggled to see how they could find purpose in what they did, other than making money, for themselves and the organisation, which can never be a sole purpose for why we do what we do. You see, this is the interesting thing about purpose: there always has to be more than just making money – for example ‘providing for my family, ensuring that we have a quality of life’ (as well as making the money). Money alone isn’t real purpose. 

What was fascinating though, was when we began to explore the topic of purpose. Gas, as it turns out, is often used in rural communities where perhaps other energies are not available, so the gas was actually a lifeline to the community. And in fact, one of the sales managers said the gas he supplied heated a rural swimming pool, so could he say that he ‘helped children learn to swim’ in that pool? Well, one could argue that without the pool being heated there certainly wouldn’t have been as many children learning to swim’. His eyes lit up – he had found his purpose. 

We all have different purposes, different reasons for doing what we do. They don’t have to be so altruistic, but once we’ve found purpose it can really re-engage and motivate us. 

Recently, during the pandemic, I was talking with a director at a leading high street bank. This director was trying to understand why his frontline entry-level telephonists were de-motivated about coming into work during the pandemic. I did explain that perhaps part of the reason was (a) they weren’t being paid the same amount as him, but more importantly (in my opinion) (b) they weren’t being shown how purposeful their work was! 

Now, most of those staff were millennials or generation Z. And one of the really fascinating things, especially with the young talent in generation Z, is that they want to do work that makes a difference, work for a company that has values, and they want to ultimately have a real purpose to their work. They’re not interested (well, not as interested as my generation, generation X) in renumeration, perks, or career progression. They want to feel valued, appreciated for what they do, and feel that the work they do is purposeful. That’s what motivates them and inspires them to give of their best. So, if your staff has a young demographic, one of the best ways to engage and motivate them, and ultimately to be rewarded with their loyalty, is to clearly articulate and explore their work’s purpose with them. 

Going back to that senior director of a high street bank, his telephonists were actually helping those people who were calling with their financial difficulties during the pandemic, and the simple shift from ‘working for a bank to make money’ to ‘helping people to relieve the stress and worry of their financial situation’ was a great motivational reframe for the good work they were doing. 

You see, when we find our purpose, we find our meaning. We ignite the passion and drive that we all hold inside of us. We all want to do a good job, we all want to give of our best, and purpose is the key that helps us unlock that potential within us all.  

As leaders, especially senior leaders in organisations, purpose has another err… purpose! When we are clear on our purpose, we can always refer back to it when we are unclear of what business direction to take, or when we are not sure whether we are ‘on track’ or veering ‘off track’. 

If you have a big strategic decision to make or are in the throes, as many of you will be soon, of planning and budgeting for the year ahead, then it’s important to be clear on why you are doing something. Does it match with your purpose or not? If you’re not clear on your purpose or your purpose is muddied by the need to make profit and reduce costs, then it’s easy to lose your way. 

Look at the big social media companies or search engine companies (you know the ones I mean). One could argue that they started off with clear intentions, clear purpose, but along the way business decisions and the lure of bigger and bigger profits led them to a different, less-purposeful place. 

Purpose should always be our compass. It sets our direction and gives meaning to our work and journey. Without a compass, we’re likely to get a bit lost along the way – and that’s why we start with PURPOSE. 

Here’s a little exercise we do during our leadership and team development programmes, I thought I’d share it with you all – it will help you to get more clarity on your purpose. 


EX.1 – What are you here for? What is your purpose? 

Why do you, your team or your organisation (use whichever is most appropriate to your position of influence) do what you do? What are you here for? What.. is your purpose? 

Think about why you do what you do – think from multiple perspectives: 

  1. for yourself, your family
  2. the team/directorate you work in
  3. the organisation as a whole
  4. for the customers you have or partners you work for/with
  5. the communities you work in (and serve, if you do)

Remember, it’s what you’re here for, it should re-ignite your passion. And please note your purpose is NOT a ‘mission statement’ so business jargon is banned in this exercise – this is one for internal rather than external eyes! 

At Meta, be it helping a team to re-find their purpose, or help a leader re-find the passion for what they do, help an organisation develop a strategy in keeping with their purpose, or indeed just helping an individual to re-connect with their life purpose, I am so lucky in that every day and every week I can reflect and see the purpose in all that I do.

If you’d like help finding a little more purpose in your work or your home-life, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch, it’s part of MY PURPOSE to help you find yours! 

Have a wonderful month reconnecting with your purpose.

In peace and love,

Jo xx

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As I write, the government has announced that the plan B restrictions are to be phased out, we are facing what seems to be the beginning of the end, and we are being encouraged to learn how to live with Covid. 

It’s been a challenging couple of years, to put it mildly, and I’m sure like me you’ll be glad to put Covid behind you and get on with your life. But the thing is, that for many of us, it will feel as though we’ve lost those years, and as though we’ve been in some kind of Covid stasis, unable to move (quite literally in lockdowns) and stuck in a life in limbo. However, now, most of us are starting to come out of our enforced hibernation and back out into the world. Reconnecting with friends and family we’ve not seen for a while, starting to dream and plan and book our holidays with some certainty that they will happen. We’re going back to the pub, going out for meals, doing things that Covid and its restrictions had put a stop to. 

There is no doubt that these last two years have felt out of our control, because they have been. With all the government diktats, the imposing and lifting of restrictions, it’s felt almost as though we were a character in the book of the story of our lives; with the government and Covid as the co-authors and we just being the characters whose lives were being written for us upon the page. However, as we now come out of the Covid tunnel and a new year is upon us, apparently a year of possibility, of potential, now is the PERFECT time to be thinking about writing your next chapter.

What do I mean by that? 

Well, I mean that it’s time to end this Covid chapter. Time to wrestle back control of your life, and the authorship of your story. It’s time to turn the page and start creating the life you want to have. 

You see I am a firm believer that we are the creators of our lives, the authors if you will. If we don’t write our stories who will? And as a new year begins, psychologically it’s a good time to think about how you really want YOUR next chapter to be. 

It’s a useful metaphor to think of your life as a book. You’re not just the author but you’re also the editor, the publisher and the principle character within it!  How your life will be, is up to you. Of course, there are other principal characters in your story, your family, your friends who will have an influence on the storylines, but ultimately, it’s your life and your story. 

Now I think it’s safe to say that, for most of us, we’ll be glad to see the back of the Covid chapter. It was scary, unnerving, challenging and unpredictable. But you know what? The dark chapters of our lives tend to be the ones we learn most from (good things and not so good things). I like to think of these dark times and difficult challenges as really badly wrapped presents. They look like crap from the outside, but within them often there are gems of learning. Ultimately often our biggest leaps in our own understanding of ourselves come through adversity – those badly wrapped presents! 

Now I’ve introduced the concept, and I hope you understand it, I’m sure you’re wondering, well, that’s all very well Jo but how do you write your next chapter? 

That’s precisely what I’m coming to, let me give you a step by step guide on how to write your next chapter. 


For me (I have done this exercise many times in my own life), I find it easiest to write my next chapter on a day when I am feeling GOOD. When we’re feeling good and in the right state, this exercise is so much easier to do, and you’ll also come up with much more interesting storylines! 

Start by finding yourself the right environment to be creative, somewhere comfortable, somewhere you will not be disturbed for the time it takes to do this (allow a couple of hours). I start by opening a document on my computer or laptop, but you may prefer to do this in the traditional way with paper and pen, there’s no right or wrong here – just the way that works for you. 

When thinking of your ‘next chapter’ I suggest that you see the next chapter as the next 3-5 years, that frees up your mind to think more broadly, you can dare to dream and you are more likely to believe that more is possible within that time frame. 

Think in terms of a book and an author writing a book. There will be principal characters (partners, children, family, friends), principal storylines (work, relationships, love, home, passions, things that make up your life), and an over-arching storyline (your life story!). Make a note of the important things in your life, put those as headings on your document or piece of paper, and this will form the starting point for your next chapter. 

Then it’s a case of thinking about your last chapter, the chapter you’re ending. Ask yourself: 

  1. What was good in that chapter? What are storylines you’d like to continue as is into your next chapter? 
  2. Which storylines could continue forwards but need a bit of tweaking or adjusting? For example, perhaps you’d like to spend more quality time with your children, have more holidays or laugh more?
  3. What do you want to leave behind in the last chapter? This exercise is a great way to leave behind things that you don’t want to carry forward with you – perhaps worrying about things, not seeing family, uncertainty, or perhaps it’s some of the bad habits you may have had in your last chapter? 
  4. What do you want to bring in that is new? Is there anything you’ve wanted to do or have in your life that you’ve not been able to so far? Perhaps it’s a new hobby or to find a new passion? Maybe it’s to change career? To find a new friend or relationship? 
  5. Is there anything from a previous chapter in your life that you’d like to revisit or bring into your next chapter? Sometimes, as we get older, we lose track of things and let things slip that actually, when we stop and think about it, were important or useful or just fun to have in our lives. This is an opportunity to bring things from the past back into your life. Perhaps it was those date nights with your hubby, or going out for a fun wild night out with friends, or going to concerts?
  6. And finally (and importantly!), your next chapter should also include how you want to FEEL in the next chapter. For example, I’m always putting ‘more fun’, ‘more laughter’ in my next chapters and it’s right to put things like ‘feeling freer’, ‘having more time for me’, ‘more time for cuddles with the kids’.

As you record your answers to these questions you’re going to have a lot of content and it needs to be pulled together under headings so that it makes sense and isn’t just a bullet pointed list of things (that’ll be too much for your mind to take in). 

It’s also important to note that this shouldn’t look like a ‘bucket list’. That isn’t what this is. Yes of course it should be aspirational and inspiring, there should be big things, dreams, and your wishes for your life, absolutely; but also the simple things, the everyday things, the things you want to improve and make a bit better – that which makes your life what it is. 

When you have something that is looking like your next chapter, then comes the ‘creation’ part of this. 

  1. Read it to yourself – Each night, before you go to bed, read your next chapter. This shouldn’t be a difficult or onerous task, this should be exciting and inspiring, and it’s a wonderful way to go off to sleep. Do this for two months, and this then gets into your sub-conscious, it programmes your brain so that it looks for opportunities as they arise to put into action all that you’ve put in your next chapter. 
  2. Share it with another – Dare to share it with your partner, your best friend. By doing so you are daring to express how you’d like your life to be and, no, it isn’t a self-indulgent of narcissistic thing to do. Having been privileged enough to have heard other people’s next chapters, I can tell you there’s nothing more beautiful than hearing someone else’s next chapter, it’s very inspiring.
  3. Start making it happen – Choose three things from your next chapter that you’re actively going to start exploring or taking first steps towards making happen. The first step is often the hardest, and by starting to make it happen you make it much more likely for more to come to fruition as a result. 

Now I HOPE that this has all made sense, and the steps are easy to follow. I really would encourage you to give this exercise a go. I have found it truly transformatory for me over the years, perhaps one of the most powerful exercises I have ever done. 

It also reminds us at the deepest level of something that is incredibly important:


That is such an empowering statement, and as you start to collate the evidence that it is true, and truly believe it, it is a life-changing statement. 

Please use this Meta blog as an excuse, a prompt if you will, to dare to write your next chapter, and see what happens for you. 

I promise you, you’ll be so glad you did and before you know it you’ll be living out that ‘next chapter’ you have created, for real! 

Wishing you all a wonderful next chapter, 

In peace and love

Jo xx

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I overheard a conversation on the bus the other day, where someone was talking about how she had been to see her child’s teacher, to ask her to help with some minor bullying that had been going on. She had clearly handled it well, with both politeness and firmness – a lovely example of being grown-up – and she had achieved the outcome she wanted. Her finals sentence was: ‘If only I could be like that with my boss!’ and that left me wondering why not as well?

Somehow we have generally learnt to behave more like children than grown-ups at work: there are goody-goodies, shirkers, those who hide at the back of the class, little cliques, the popular ones – it sometimes looks and sounds more like a school playground than a workplace! I know, I am exaggerating, but you know what I mean.. And we give away our control to ‘them’ – some ill-defined stereotypical people in authority, the ‘bosses’ – and then moan about our lack of autonomy.

I think this happens because of the history of the workplace: once upon a time it was generally true that bosses ram the place by command and control, and treated workers as if they were unreliable, unruly children with no intelligence or maturity. But I believe the story has changed, and there is more recognition of the importance of working together to produce results, and of the need for people to feel empowered to achieve that.

However we all then have to choose to be empowered for it to work – no-one can give us empowerment, we have to choose to behave in that way – and we are habituated to being victims of circumstance.

So how do we become more empowered? We have to take responsibility for our own actions and attitudes. If we know that we have done the best we can, we stand by that: if we know we have made a mistake, we own up, apologise, make it right. We recognise if we’re not in the mood for something we have to do, and do something to change that mood. We admit if we need help, and ask for it. And we treat others as we wish to be treated, even if they don’t reciprocate.

And if you are one of those ‘bosses’, then you need to encourage your team members to adopt the behaviours I’ve listed. Notice and acknowledge when they are behaving in a grown-up way. Encourage them to show initiative, to be proud of what they achieve, and to feel Ok about admitting to something that isn’t so good, even if it doesn’t always work out. And don’t fall into the ‘boss’ trap: remember to adopt empowered and empowering attitudes and behaviours yourself.

Most people are grown-ups and are good at making their personal lives work for them. Let’s apply the same attitudes and capabilities in the workplace, and have organisations where people feel in control and valued for being the grown-ups they are.

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Over the last couple of months I have really become aware of just how many wonderful friends I have. They come from all the different stages and environments of my life, ranging from people I’ve known since school days, to people I have met through work, to the people who run our local general store.

And they have made my somewhat turbulent life easier in all sorts of ways: by giving me a delicious sandwich for a picnic lunch as I was rushing off; sharing a laugh and a bottle of wine; listening to me when I was upset; doing a task they knew I would put off – the list goes on and on.

This has made me realise yet again just how precious friendship is, and what a difference it makes to our life. It is vital to reaffirm friendships, and continue to build them.

At Meta we firmly believe in making friends with our customers and suppliers. It is much more fun than having a distant, purely professional relationship, and brings joy into parts of work that people often have problems with. When we phone or make direct contact with people, we look forward to the conversation, and we believe that they usually enjoy the chat too.

Wouldn’t life be different if most of those you dealt with in your everyday life were friends of yours??


  1. Express your appreciation of the friendship of those around you
  2. Treat a customer or supplier as you would a friend – just chat to them like a real human being and be interested in them and their world.
  3. Be a good friend to someone by just doing a little something which makes a positive difference in their lives.


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