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Knowing Me - My Purpose




What’s the point?

‘What is the point in me being here?’ Have you ever experienced that thought? It comes when you see no purpose in being in the place that you are in. Maybe it is because you are finding it boring as it does not engage with things that you value or bring you joy. Maybe it is because despite your best efforts you find that you are not able to affect change or get engagement. The root of all of these is that there is a disconnect with your identity and your purpose.

 

Patrick Lencioni, in his book ‘The Truth About Employee Engagement’ explains that the 3 things that disconnect people from work are Anonymity, Irrelevance and Immeasurement. Therefore, the flip side to the coin that engages people in the workplace is a) known by the boss b) know what they do makes a difference, c) know when they are successful. So, if these three things engage people in the workplace, then they give us a clue as to what engages us in life – we know our purpose that it makes a difference and that it is enacted and is successful.

 

Finding purpose

Finding your purpose is a key element of discovering your identity. It’s important at this point to explain that your purpose is not your job. It is too easy to think that and the trouble with that is if we then lose our job, we lose the sense of purpose and identity. Our purpose will be something that underpins the job that we do and the way that we do it, but it is not the job itself. I often describe it as ‘your job is the vehicle that carries your purpose’.

 

To illustrate this, my purpose is to ‘EMPOWER’. I do it when I am coaching when I listen, I question, I clarify and I explain; all with the purpose of inspiring, equipping and ultimately ‘empowering’ the person I am working with.

I do it when I am training when I create a sense of fun, I teach, I am curious, I question and I explain; all with the purpose of inspiring, equipping and ultimately ‘empowering’ the people I am working with.

In my previous job, as a headteacher, I sought to empower the children to see what they were capable of and empower staff to lead others and inspire children.

 

Finding your purpose

So, how do you find your purpose in life? I believe that it can be quite simple. Let me explain two simple questions that can help.

  • On your very best day, what are you doing?

  • What about that is important?

 

You then keep repeating that second question with each answer

  • What about that is important?

  • What about that is important?

  • What about that is important?

Each time, we are trying to get deeper, to the core word or short phrase that explains what we love to do.


You are looking for something you hope to instil, eg ‘empowerment’ or a verb, an action like ‘coach’ or ‘nurture’. Sometimes it can be a noun, like ‘parent’ or ‘father’. It will guide the way you carry out your job or your conversations.

 

You know you are close to the purpose, when you get closer to your one word and you consider the opposite of that. For example, for me, when I see people being ‘disempowered’ it really grates with me and I find myself getting cross.

 

I am a Maximiser. I love to help others turn things that are ok to something that is great. I see the potential other people. I recognise that do that we need for people to feel empowered to take that on for themselves. No amount of being told by others will do that. They need to tell themselves. Hence why my purpose is to ‘empower’ them.

 

Dexterity of Purpose

When you know your purpose as a word or short phrase, it can be your guide when facing new or unexpected things. It can also be a way of living that energises you, even in challenging moments. Like your values, it enables you to consider in any given moment how you can respond and who you want to be. For me, it means that when someone is being rude or aggressive, my identity and purpose as a maximiser means helping the situation to get better and people to be a better version of themselves. As an empowerer, I help them to see the situation more clearly and find a better way forward and take ownership of it.  When I act in that way, I feel aligned with my identity and however the other person chooses to react, I feel content because I have been true to myself. Each situation, can then move from being a threat to being an opportunity to discover more of what your identity looks like in different contexts as you live your purpose.




Can we help you? 

We hope this blog has been helpful and if you would like some more targeted support to explore discovering your identity and gain better insight then Everyday Leader is here to help you. We particularly want to help you if you have found it hard to discover your purpose. We have a simple 1 hour exercise that can help you to do that and invigorate you. Imagine feeling purpose driven in life. Our clients find their coaching empowering, as we help them gain a full perspective and find a way forward.  If you have a challenge and you would like our support, then do get in contact with us. Give us a call on 01449 710438 or email colin@everydayleader.co.uk if you would like us to help you explore this and empower you.  

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