Leadership, Our Blog

The Hedgehog and the Power of Purpose

By Tasha M. Troy

“The need for purpose is one the defining characteristics of human beings. Human beings crave purpose, and suffer serious psychological difficulties when we don’t have it. Purpose is a fundamental component of a fulfilling life.” – Dr. Steve Taylor

I was very fortunate to be raised in a family that encouraged me to pursue my vocation, what I now view as my purpose for life.  My mother and both of her parents were educators, and my sister and I were always encouraged to learn and grow.

In his book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, John Maxwell describes three types of people (paraphrased):

  • those who don’t know their purpose
  • those who know their purpose but are not pursuing it
  • those who know their purpose and are living it

I have been fortunate to fall into the third category; I have always had a strong sense of purpose, even from my early days.  It has fueled most, if not all, of my accomplishments.


A People without Purpose

One of the things that makes me the saddest is when I encounter people who haven’t developed an understanding of their purpose or who aren’t pursuing their purpose. This can happen in a training setting, when the participants don’t have a clear vision of why they need the training, or in more casual conversations with colleagues and friends.

Dr. Steve Taylor describes purpose-driven people:

“When you’re ‘in purpose’ – that is, engaged with and working towards your purpose – life becomes easier, less complicated and stressful. You become more mono-focused, like an arrow flying towards its target, and your mind feels somehow taut and strong, with less space for negativity to seep in.”

Because I’ve been able to experience this personally, I have a passion for helping others achieve this same clarity.  So much of the indecision that plagues individuals – and organizations – can be removed through this clarity.  It lends power and momentum to your actions.


Finding Your Purpose

If you don’t feel like you have found your purpose, there is good news! You are meant to find your purpose! It can be found!

In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about the Hedgehog Concept, the idea of reducing the complexity of your options to a simple focus on the intersection of three “circles”:

  • What you can be the best at
  • What drives your economic engine
  • What you are deeply passionate about

While originally applied to organizations, I believe this concept can be applied on a smaller scale, even to individuals.

  • What your primary talents and strengths are
  • What people will pay you to do
  • What you are deeply passionate about

Find the intersection of these three circles, and you have found your personal Hedgehog Concept, your purpose.


Take It Deeper

If you feel that you haven’t yet found your purpose, or if you are at a crossroads and uncertain of your path forward, I highly encourage you to explore your own Hedgehog concept. You owe it to yourself and the people within your sphere of influence to discover and embrace the purpose for your life!

If you would like to go deeper on this topic, I hold free exploratory coaching sessions on Fridays.  You can register online at Troy Communications or email me to schedule an appointment at TMTroy@TroyCommunications.Net



Collins, J. Good to Great. (2001). pp. 94-101.

Maxwell, J. (2012). The Fifteen Invaluable Laws of Growth. p. 18

Taylor, S. (2013). The Power of Purpose. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/out-the-darkness/201307/the-power-purpose