This is a story about finding my purpose.
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- You can discover your purpose
- If you don’t know yet, make decisions that keep your options open
- Take some time out – travel, study, read books – find out what you value
- When you find your purpose, share it with others
About Cronan McNamara
Cronan is the founder and CEO of Creme Global. Creme Global is a data science technology company delivering data management, scientific models and predictive analytics. Cronan enjoys technology and innovation and is driven to deliver world-class products and services, from Ireland, that make an impact globally. Cronan is also an Adjunct Professor at UCD and in his spare time, he enjoys playing competitive tennis and spending time with his family.
Contacting Cronan McNamara
By Cronan McNamara
Discovering your Purpose
You get one go at life, so my thinking is that you may as well try to achieve something great and work on something you enjoy as you do it.
What your ‘something great’ or the ‘something you enjoy’ is up to you. And while you’re thinking about what yours is going to be, I’ll tell you about how I stumbled across mine.
You could describe it as discovering your purpose. It is not something that happens all at once, and perhaps you can only really join the dots looking backwards (as Steve Jobs once famously said), but I would argue that you probably know it deep down, somewhere in your intuition, from a fairly young age.
It is not something we think about a huge amount every day. But, of course, there are some crucial life junctures like – should I go to college? Should I take a year out or start a full-time job? Should I start my own company? What should I study? What industry would be good to work in?
These can be daunting questions and the options may seem overwhelming. As a young person, you are unlikely to be sure of the answers. So, if you are unsure, I would suggest you make decisions that keep your options as open as possible. The lean/agile philosophy – just plan your next step based on what you know now.
To help get some perspective, take some time out, do something different like travel, read books, take up a new study course or a new hobby or sport. Use the downtime and new experiences to daydream about the vision for your life. This may help you to uncover the things that are important to you and that you are really interested in.
During school, I had an aptitude for maths and science, so I chose to study science at UCD and picked Physics, Maths, Mathematical Physics and Chemistry in first year. In second year, I dropped Chemistry and then in third year, I had to make a choice (from those remaining three subjects) of which field I wanted to specialise in for my degree.
I was struggling to make a choice and I bumped into one of my friends, he said to me … “yeah, you’ve limited yourself, if only you had studied some biology in 2nd year, you would have more options”. Instead of this statement depressing me, I immediately feel better, as I realised I didn’t want to study biology, I love physics!
It immediately reframed my situation and I felt confident that I knew what I wanted to do. I chose Physics as the subject to specialise in for 3rd and 4th year and haven’t looked back. I had followed my gut in the past in choosing my path in an agile way and even when I doubted myself, I realised that the decisions I made in the past were sound and were working out OK.
I always loved to build things and during college, I found building computing models to simulate real-world situations to be very interesting. I also loved the challenge of competing in various sports, especially tennis, which is still something I do to this day.
So, from a creativity, challenge and competition point of view – the idea of starting my own business appealed to me. And naturally, the business that I wanted to create related to science, maths and computing. This was the ideal outlet for me. I found it to be a calling worthy of my efforts. You could say I found my purpose.
Sharing your purpose
I wanted the company to succeed and to be built to last. This meant two things: 1) the company must be highly aligned with my interests, so that I would be interested in it for the long term and 2) I would need a team to help me.
To build a team of like-minded individuals, it is important to articulate a purpose (vision and mission) so that others: customers, team members, stakeholders, etc. can understand and buy into it.
So, I articulate the purpose of Creme Global as clearly and as often as possible – in both my words and what I spend my time focusing on at work. A mentor of mine says ‘you have to be relentless and boring about this stuff’ so that it fully percolates through to the culture of your organisation.
Being the founder and CEO of the company, I was able to build a company whose purpose is highly aligned with my own. It provides me with fulfilling work and allows me to set a clear vision, mission and strategy for me, but more importantly for the team I work with.
To describe the purpose of our company, we articulated the vision, mission and values of the company. These are all built on the foundation of the company’s purpose.
That’s how I discovered my purpose and how my purpose became our purpose.