At age 21, I went to work for Chick-fil-A, Inc. For the past 33 years, I have spent my entire adult life learning from outstanding mentors and leaders, including Chick-fil-A founder, Truett Cathy. As a business leader, the most significant principle that I learned is that people decisions are the most important decisions a leader makes. Who we invite on the journey with us and how we grow and develop their talent determines the level of success we enjoy. I have witnessed this principle demonstrated within Chick-fil-A and also among thousands of Chick-fil-A franchisees that employ 200,000 team members. Truett Cathy built his business on a strong foundation of purpose delivered by carefully selected people in which he deeply invested. For more than three decades, I have had the opportunity to play a role in growing a culture and executing the strategy that supports his original vision of selecting great people, supporting their growth and celebrating their success.
In A Consequential Life, Part 1, I wrote the story of how I found myself asking, “How can I live my most consequential life in this season?” The question I posed was not only about my vocation, but also how can I best serve my family, friends and community in this season. The answer surprised even me.
The most consequential life I can lead in this season is to share what I have learned and help others to lead a life of purpose that influences and impacts the marketplace, communities and families. In July, I will retire from Chick-fil-A and I will launch my own business, Dee Ann Turner, LLC and continue the calling I discovered so many years ago when I learned that my calling is to help others find their own calling. I will be writing books and speaking to and consulting organizations and coaching individuals about culture and talent.
Deciding between one positive choice and a negative is choice is easy. This was clearly one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I could continue to lead Sustainability for Chick-fil-A, a function I launched 3 years ago or follow the call on my heart. Receiving an offer to write two books for a major publisher encouraged me that this might be the time to retire and follow my life-long dream. I am incredibly grateful to Chick-fil-A for the most amazing opportunity to learn to serve and to lead and to now pursue a new calling.
As I have made this decision, I recognized the key decisions of living a consequential life is: Why am I here? What will I do? How will I do it? It’s a series of questions that we repeat all of our lives, especially during seasons of change. When we find the answers, then we are assured that we are on the journey to live a consequential life. These three fundamental, but crucial questions are the map.
The foundation for living a consequential life is knowing our Why? Our why is our purpose; our very reason for being. There is a lovely quote credited to Mark Twain that says “The two most important days of our lives are the day we are born and the day we know why.” For my new season of life, my purpose is: To honor God by using written and spoken word to encourage and inspire others to live their purpose. What is your purpose? What have you been created to do?
Once we have determined our purpose, our next step is to create our mission. Mission answers the question of, “What, specifically, am I to do?” In my new business, my mission is to: Communicate, Consult and Coach to strengthen others in their calling to serve their organizations, communities and families. To support a mission, we set goals that will ensure we reach the goals. For me, that means that I set goals around the specific number of books I will write in a given time frame, how many messages I will deliver to audiences annually and how many clients I will be available to quarterly. What about you – what is your mission?
The final question for living a consequential life is, “How will I pursue my purpose and mission?” What behaviors will I exhibit in my service to others that best reflect my purpose. These behaviors are known as core values. For me, I have chosen Extend Grace and Speak Truth to define the core values of my business. This describes how I will treat those that I serve and those that serve with me. This means that I will choose to think the best of people, help them grow through mistakes and speak truth only into their lives.
A consequential life is a life lived intentionally. What intentional decisions will you make to live a consequential life?