As a businessman, fashion designer Brunello Cucinelli manages to be successful by doing the right thing. He gives new meaning to the term fashion-conscious and is living proof that good guys with a life purpose, can do well in life and in business. Fans of his iconic label include Bradley Cooper, Jay-Z, and Prince William.
Whether or not you want to, like Cucinelli, bring your life purpose to your work, I think you will find his work-life approach inspiring.
After his father began working in a cement factory, a 16-year old Cuccinelli watched him change. As he told the New Yorker, “They didn’t beat him, but still they treated him like a slave.” Deeply affected by this experience, Cuccinelli has made treating workers fairly central to his business model. He has famously said, “The objective of my life has been to give work a moral and economic dignity.“
And a recent story about him in Vanity Fair began like this…
Brunello Cucinelli is the kind of boss who, were his factory in the U.S., would mandate that his workers take in a matinee of Hamilton—on the company dime.
How to find and live your own life purpose
Even without early influences and inspiration, we always know what we love and what we care about. To use your values in your work, ask yourself this series of questions:
- What do I believe in and care a lot about,
- How can I use it to help or benefit others, and
- How can I add what I care about to my life and/or work?
If you don’t get clear answers now, keep asking the questions. Because we’re growing and changing all the time, if you’re searching for answers, you’ll find them.
But what if bringing your values to your work/career is not for you or too risky? You can donate your time on the weekends, support someone who is a leader in the cause you care about, or, show up in other ways.
My Cucinelli life purpose inspiration
For some reason (maybe because of my own vulnerable past), I’ve always stood up for others or felt frustrated when I couldn’t. Doing Life Purpose exercises, I learned that fairness is one of my values. But I didn’t know if (and how) I could work that into my work. So I kept a few of Cucinelli’s quotes, especially this one, close to me and would think about it often.
This is my life’s goal–to look after the soul. ~ Brunello Cucinelli
By reflecting on this quote often, I’m reminded to be fair to the freelancers I work with. When I was introduced to Bryan Stevenson’s work, I began to share it with others.
From 2007 to 2015, I worked for a large corporation that has strict policies against employees taking part in protests. During that time, there were so many issues and causes that I cared about but couldn’t publicly show my support for fear that a photo of me or my social media activity might work against me. But in 2010-2011, I found a way to help my fellow New Yorkers bring marriage equality to New York state. With letter writing and behind-the-scenes advocacy, I was able to contribute in a way that didn’t risk me losing my job.
How far do you want to take it
Cucinelli is all-in his purpose. He lives in the small Italian town of Solomeo, not far from Perugia (population, approximately 4,000) married to his hometown sweetheart. He has made revitalizing the village, a labor of love. He’s donated money to paving streets, building a theater, a park, renovating a church and doing other capital improvements. And as you can imagine, he treats his employees (his company is the town’s main employer) with dignity and consideration.
Have you ever asked yourself why you’re doing what you do for work? Does your work feed your soul? Do you feel defined by it? Do you feel fulfilled?
Even more importantly, have you asked yourself whether those things matter to you? I don’t believe everyone needs to have a life purpose, but I know some of us will never be happy without one.
Having a purpose is a wonderful thing and if you’re really looking for yours, I hope you get some inspiration from Cucinelli!
#FindPurpose #FindYourWhy #Think
To learn more about Mr. Cucinelli, visit his company’s website.
Other references: The Prince of Solomero, New Yorker article
Christine is a lifestyle coach living in Los Angeles. Using systems, routines, and some psychological trickery, she can help almost anyone hack their mind and life for greater productivity. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out if she's available for one-on-one work.