Living my purpose, as me – my true purpose, I engage both the dreamers and the sceptics.
Every month like clockwork I have my regular coach supervision session. It’s an hour of me essentially talking at Steve about everything and anything concerning my Practice of helping CEOs get to grips with who they are and more besides. I love my sessions with Steve. Steve is probably the only person on the planet that knows every thought in my head before I do.
I am a dreamer and sceptic all rolled into one
Just before the session, I thought to myself, can I not just get on with what I must do today! I was sceptical of the value for me right now. I noticed I was a lot more reluctant to talk than usual.
This foot-dragging to talk about clients was funny. Steve and I laughed about it. Steve asked, “What have you been up to lately?” I said, “Have I told you about my book?” “No,” was his reply. “Although I sensed you were writing something. Talk to me about the book.” I was apprehensive because I didn’t know why I was doing it. Why should I talk about the book?
Steve said, “Just tell me a story in it, something that I don’t know about you already.” I told him about my horrific 2 years I spent in the South African army, in the early 1990s. It was a brilliant coaching supervision session. I gave myself permission to share my story. The story changed something in him, I was living my purpose.
Discovering your story helps you live as you
Narrative identitiy theory suggests individuals form their life-meaning and purpose by integrating their life experiences into an evolving story. Narrative identity theory has deep roots in positive psychology. Finding, speaking and living your true purpose is burried in your life story.
Recently, a client of mine who I have helped find, speak and live their purpose said, “I no longer shy away from things that are too hard. I’m much clearer on where I really can contribute and where not. My decision-making is on the money. I have full clarity on the kind of roles I aspire to and can make explicit choices along the way.”
Alistair and I have been working together for some six months
Finding his purpose and living and leading through it is important for Alistair. In our one-to-one sessions, Alistair and I were discussing his childhood passions. Mining his life story for common threads and themes. He told me about growing up near the English Welsh boarder and delighting in discovery missions with his best friend.
Every day they would be outdoors exploring, climbing through hedgerows and digging through mud and peat searching for life. One summer day, he and his friend set out determined to find frogs. They had a school project to complete and spent the whole day going from pond to pond, turning over every stone. Just before Alistair knew he had to go home, they discovered a single frog and were triumphant.
Alistair left his job in the City and is now the Founder and CEO of an international ecosystem research firm. He uncovered his purpose statement – Always find the frogs! – and it is perfect for him, his business, and his life’s purpose. The qualification statement he uses is: Never leaving any stone unturned.
My plan for living my purpose must start with a statement of purpose
You purpose is not a business or career goal. Like your story, your purpose takes a complete view of your professional and personal life rather than ignore the fact that you have a family or outside interests and commitments. Your statement of purpose needs to be motivational and meaningful. It needs to speak to you personally, not just to any person in your job or role.
Your purpose gives your direction, and anchors you. It is burried in your story. It’s the essence of you.
My purpose and its plan helps me to stay true to my short- and long-term goals, inspiring courage, commitment, and focus. When I have been frustrated or flagging, I look at the plan to remind me of what I want to accomplish and how I will succeed.
We all live and work from a slightly different set of assumptions about the world
I know my individual perspective allows me to create great value and have significant impact. You too can live by your unique purpose.
I believe the truth of leadership, of life is to know yourself, trust yourself, and be yourself; only then will you be truly trustworthy. To be truly effective, you must do the same. Clarify your purpose and put it to work.
The key to engaging both the dreamers and the sceptics is to live as you. The 7-STEPS process I have for you, has room for you to express your individuality but also offers step-by-step practical guidance.
Your purpose must motivate you. It must call you to action. As you review your stories, you will see a unifying thread. Pull it, and you’ll uncover your purpose, engage the dreamers and the sceptics and live as you.