Equation of a Purposed Performer – Part 1 of 3

For the next couple of blogs I want us to discuss what it means to be a ‘Purposed Performer’. This is the bedrock of The Tappe Group training.  (Don’t worry, we’ll cross-link everything for those really interested.)

In simplest terms, a “Purposed Performer” works according to this equation:

Recognized Potential + Personal Conviction – Unnecessary Interferences

It’s common now for people, teams, and organizations to talk about the importance of purpose. Purpose is crucial, but you need to understand the entire equation around it to take your purpose and put it into action

In this blog we want to focus on the first part of the equation: Recognized Potential.

We all have potential –

This is the most important thing to remember first. Everyone was designed for a great purpose. Now, that thought alone is not always accepted and could be explored deeper. However, in my experience, most people feel that to be true. Deep down you have a desire for purpose, a longing for significance, a hope for impact. So whether you attribute that to a higher power, a coping mechanism of evolutionary biology, or a social construct within our own consciousness, the reality is that it’s there.

But the problem is this: while we are all born with great potential, numerous roadblocks, both internally and externally, can get in the way of us actually realizing/recognizing it.

Such as?

First, a focus on the immediate: This is unfortunately very common. Consider some notable examples:

  • Microwaves (“science ovens” in the parlance of American Hustle)
  • Netflix shifting from red envelopes to streaming
  • Almost everything Amazon does
  • Quarterly focus in business fiscal reporting


We live in a very here and now now now time; The Wall Street Journal has even deemed it  “The On Demand Economy.”

This leads to a massive focus on the immediate, but recognized potential is a much more long-term concept. To understand your potential, you need to (a.) see it play out over time and      (b.) respond to the challenges and setbacks that will inevitably arise. You don’t understand your potential or yourself in a quarter of time or in the time it takes to load up a new episode of Ozark. For you to be able to recognize your potential, you need a much more long-term focus and that’s not what society values at scale right now.

Second, the creation of winners and losers: One of the best podcasts I’ve heard in the last year is this discussion between Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins (both pretty big names) about the idea of “achievement” vs. “fulfillment.” Most, white-collar-driven societies are “achievement” cultures. It’s similar to what we described above — the immediate matters — but it’s also about accruing more and more in terms of salary, cars, possessions, respect, power, etc. Those are markers of achievement. They are not necessarily markers of fulfillment. The example used in that podcast episode is Robin Williams. Admittedly this is a touchy subject because he committed suicide, so I don’t want to go deeply into mental health here (an entirely separate issue). Robin Williams achieved a great deal. He had wealth, family, fame, awards, but based on the end you can argue he wasn’t fulfilled. They are very different concepts.

Society at the broadest level has a way of slotting people into certain categories, often around this idea of achievement. But a Purposed Performer sees potential in a way that says: it’s uniquely yours, and how it will be realized is unique to your journey as well. It’s not easy to box up or slot a specific way.  Let’s say your greatest potential is as a loving father. Unfortunately this is not often rewarded in an achievement culture. Almost everyone would agree that the fatherhood side is more important on almost every level, but many men sacrifice that potential for the reward and accolades that they get in the professional realm. If you let the boxes of society determine your potential, as opposed to your unique journey and giftings, you will end up feeling depressed and isolated.

Third, a journey not a destination: We tend to be big on destinations in the first world — hit this number, achieve this marker, pay down this debt, buy a house this big, etc. But potential is the epitome of a journey. You might not even know where exactly your potential is leading until much later in life. Samuel L. Jackson didn’t land Pulp Fiction until he was 46, as one example. (There are countless others.) Potential is a journey,  and it requires purposed dedication.

Finally, go deeper not higher: Because of this focus on external markers and results, sometimes we tend to believe we need to be going higher — but recognizing potential actually means you need to go deeper. Maslow called this “self-actualization,” or growth of the individual towards fulfillment of deepest needs and purpose. This is not easy it do. It requires a large degree of self-awareness and cultivation. However, the result will not only benefit you in seeing your own recognized potential,  but more self-aware individuals and teams tend to have much greater financial success too! So double benefit!

The next piece of the puzzle

Next blog, we’re going to discuss personal conviction. If you understand your recognized potential now, you will be ready to answer and address the values that make up your personal conviction. This will be step two in the equation to becoming a purposed performer.