Living with Purpose
Like many of you, we have become Rio Olympics binge watchers. Each of us has our favorite events, athletes and human interest stories. While watching Simone Manuel make history in the Women’s 100 Meter Freestyle event last week, I wondered what her journey must have been like. She, her coach and her teammates were so deeply moved by her triumph. What was the wave that carried them all to this place? It got me to thinking about ‘purpose’.
The Oxford Dictionary defines Purpose as, “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists; and as “a person’s sense of resolve or determination.” Watching as Simone Manuel stood with tears coursing down her face, in awe of her own accomplishment and the grace of God, I couldn’t help but ponder what her own unique motivation might have been. And then I contemplated my own ‘whys’.
Last week I was invited for coffee with a new business acquaintance. During our introductions we each shared our professional backgrounds; where were had similarities and common experiences. For me, this meant going back to one of my very first professional jobs and a time that was the catalyst for my commitment to supporting people and organizations. The stories about those moments in my life are the inspiration for much of the work I have done over the years. They have been shared countless times with friends and co-workers as motivation for both personal and team efforts.
As we talked over coffee, the familiar feelings of excitement, passion, and the itch to do something meaningful in the world made me restless. Sharing our stories brought back the emotional charge that ignites my desire to make a difference, and it brought me fully back to the question of purpose.
“Purpose in life is concerned with what we most deeply value, and purposeful living is concerned with whether we are living for what matters most”, says Vic Strecher in his book Life on Purpose: How living for what matters most changes everything (2016). As I contemplated both my coffee-shop conversation and the reflections I had about Simone Manuel’s groundbreaking accomplishment, I though perhaps it was time to distill my own purpose. What is it that matters most to me and why?
After much navel gazing and many iterations, I share my purpose here: To rewrite employment experiences as positive, life affirming and rewarding for people and the organizations they work for. To leave communities better for my having been a part of them. And, to live abundantly with faith in unlimited possibility.
I may find that this purpose shifts or changes over time, but I am confident that it reflects what is most important and inspiring for me now, and for who I aspire to be. It answers why I do what I do.
There is a wonderful Japanese concept, Ikigai, that loosely translates to “the reason I get up each day”. Why are you getting up each day? What is it that matters most to you? Are you consciously connected to your reasons? Are you moving in the direction of what is most valuable to you? Now is the perfect time to reconnect with You. There are fabulous examples and interesting stories of purpose available to inspire your self-reflection. Just tune in to Rio!
Go to sleep with a Dream, Wake with a Purpose!