Purpose is a force as strong as gravity, but instead of pulling things down, it pushes them forward.
—Joey Reiman, on the science of purpose
She was only 17 years old when she was invited to the Apollo Theatre in Harlem to dance before a sellout crowd. Poised and polished from years of performance, this young woman said a prayer and stepped onto the stage. With intimidation from the previous dancers, Ella shocked the crowd and decided to sing.
Ella Fitzgerald brings the house down, wins $25, and changes the world of song forever.1 This is the story of purpose. When Fitzgerald recognized her true talent in life, she was living her purpose. It wasn’t what she had originally signed up to do. But it was what she knew she had to do.
Fifty years ago, John Fitzgerald Kennedy challenged our nation to put a man on the moon. In doing so, he recalled America’s ethos of forging the next frontier. For those settlers, the direction was west. For President Kennedy, it was north—to the stars.
The president visited NASA. During his tour, he met a janitor. The president asked, “Sir, what do you do here?” The janitor replied, “Mr. President, I’m helping to put a man on the moon.” He might have been sweeping the floor, but he was part of something as big as the moon.
These are true stories of purpose. Whether you are the president of the United States or a janitor, purpose lifts and liberates everyone. Imagine your company filled with Ella Fitzgeralds or run by John Fitzgerald ...