9 questions to discover your personal purpose is the first edition of a monthly newsletter by Lisa Carlin.  The newsletter is called the Unicorn Zone, and it is about hyper-growth, culture and workplace technology.

Getting to the Unicorn Zone. I write about hyper-growth, culture and workplace technology.

This first edition is about personal purpose, as that is where it all starts. There are 9 questions for you to discover your personal purpose. And I explain my own purpose, my “why”, as an example.

If you’re a Founder/CEO of a startup/scaleup, your purpose and story can sharpen your focus. It will also bring more of yourself into the purpose, culture and ethos of your business.

If you’re working within a business, being clear on your own purpose will help you answer the question that people have been increasingly asking since the pandemic: am I working in the right place? Am I contributing in the right way? Is this how I want to spend my time, and if not, what could be better for me?

If you don’t believe purpose is important, see Simon Sinek’s “Power of Why” TED Talk (almost 60m views).

So, to understand your own purpose, sit down in a quiet spot and write down answers to these questions below, which will help you reach more clarity on your own “why”.

It may help you to read my story and purpose, and give you some ideas. There are no rules, as long as it is authentic to you. If you have trouble answering some questions, ask someone who knows you well to give you some suggestions. Even if they are wrong, it will help you discover what is right.

Besides triggering some ideas, I also offer my story below, so you can understand what my newsletter will be about going forward.

My story

My background growing up in the ugly apartheid era in South Africa has deeply influenced what I do. When I was a teenager, I have a clear memory of meeting a younger black girl. Her mother worked for our family and lived with us, which meant she was being raised by her grandparents in a village.

She said to me as a statement of fact, without malice or blame: “Lisa, you’re white, you’re born with a bank account”. The realization of how wrong the whole system was hit me in that moment. That by accident of birth, I was able to access opportunities that were not available to her. She had no voice in her own life.

I felt guilty and powerless. I had no voice in the system.

After that I joined a social cross-cultural group aimed to develop relationships and social awareness. It was later banned by the regime. Again no voice.

I continue today to strive to make a difference, both to workplaces and education, giving people a voice. Personal growth and education are the way out of poverty to financial independence.

I taught myself to code in BASIC when I was 16 and have been hooked on technology ever since. Workplace technology is particularly fascinating to me as it can make huge improvements to people’s lives at work. Technology gives people a voice.

My work focus

I work mainly with disruptive digital workplace technology – where the focus is on people and productivity improvements at scale. I take a human-centred approach to everything: thinking about customers, employees, business partners, investors and the community.

I’m grounded in making commercial business decisions, as I you can’t make any improvements without productivity and economic growth.

3 key themes

This leads me to 3 themes in my work:

  • hyper-growth of your business: developing business models with enduring advantage such as network effects, structuring for global growth, PMF, GTM and CX
  • culture: fostering a work culture where people can perform at their best, and considering how to get things done in your culture at scale
  • Workplace technology – building B2B SaaS businesses and digital transformation in enterprises

My purpose statement:

My purpose is GROWTH: business growth, growth of self and others, growth of community.

I encourage you to share your personal purpose in the comments, and share this newsletter with your friends and colleagues.



I’m pleased to be presenting at the Spark Festival of Tech and innovation starting in October. There are more than 120 interesting events you can attend at little or no cost.

If you’re interested in generating hyper-growth for your #b2bsaas business, please join my interactive Zoom seminar “Unicornize your Business Model“.

19 October 12pm Sydney time AEDT. Click here to register.

#SparkFestAU2022 #SparkFestAU #unicorns #tech #growth


If you’re curious about the OD Hive, please click here and register for the waitlist. I will invite you to a trial session as soon as there is a spot available for you in your time zone. See my newly launched page, the OD Hive.

We provide a forum for warm, inspiring conversations that generate useful ideas, and a deepening of skills, relationships and mutual appreciation. We give members the confidence that they are on top of the latest in their field, can cut through the noise out there, and can apply the insights in practice. Members are organizational development (OD) practitioners and transformation specialists who are interested in change, digital transformation and business innovation.

I promise if you register here, you’ll get to meet some fabulous people.

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See my newly launched page, the OD Hive


About Lisa Carlin

As a scaleup mentor, Lisa works with ambitious digital leaders to turbo-charge their business, cultural and digital transformation. Those working with Lisa have an independent sounding board and expert advice so they have absolute confidence they WILL ACHIEVE THEIR GOAL. Lisa is Co-Founder and Director of FutureBuilders Group of organisational development specialists, Chair of the University of Cape Town Australia Trust, and on the Advisory Board of Rebelliuz, the Tiktok for jobs. Lisa runs an Organizational Development Community exploring leading edge ideas in digital transformation, culture change and business innovation. Her early career was with Accenture (South Africa) and McKinsey (USA).

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