Power of Purpose - Resilience
I like a good action movie. I’ve watched enough of them now to see an important common thread. Each movie begins with a wrong that needs writing. The hero sets out to either rescue someone or uncover the truth or bring order or justice. Things go wrong but the hero keeps going. Now imagine the scene, normally two thirds of the way through the movie. The archetypal hero is covered in blood and normally on the floor or in a precarious position. They have been shot, stabbed and beaten and yet as the camera pans back, we see them rising, pulling themselves up from the floor, with the last ounce of strength that they have, to continue the fight or quest. We stare in disbelief. How can they be doing that? We wonder where does their inner strength and resilience come from? Quite simply . . the Power of Purpose.
This month’s blogs examine the ‘Power of Purpose’ and how it has the power to DRAW us forward as an individual or as an organisation. What sits at the core of their resilience is that they know their purpose, they know why they are pulling themselves back up again. It gives
This week we explore how the ‘Power of Purpose’ can bring resilience, the ability to keep going, to learn, to grow and ultimately achieve the goal. So how can knowing your purpose bring resilience?
Mindset of a Story Writer
Life is tough and it throws ‘plop’ at us that is unpleasant. It’s not personal, it’s indiscriminate and it is just what happens. When we are leading, there will be moments when our project or initiative for improvement goes wrong. In both cases, it is asking, ‘what story do I want to write?’ You have a choice. Either wallow in the injustice and unfairness of why it shouldn’t happen to you or just deal with it, learn from it and grow from it. When you know the purpose of the story that you are writing, when you know the quest that you are on, then whatever each chapter might throw at you as the hero, you know the ultimate aim of the story and so you will get back up again and write the next chapter. Knowing our purpose generates a focus and a motivation that seeks to overcome every obstacle.
In my childhood, one of the toys of the era were Weebles’. These were small egg-shaped characters whose signature theme tune was, ‘Weebles Wobble but they don’t fall down’. They were weighted and egg shaped so that they always came back up. So, what is it that enables us to get back up again when struggles come? Victor Frankl’s famous book, Man’s Search for Meaning, in which he describes his experiences in concentration camps during the Second World War. Frankl observed that the inmates who were most likely to survive were those who felt they had a goal or purpose. The mind is designed to find meaning and pattern in things. When we understand the part we have to play, how we are a key piece of the jigsaw puzzle then we have no option to get back up again. When we see our work as just the thing we are doing, a ‘what’, then it is not motivating. Take this blog for example. If I see it just as writing, then it would be easy to give up when the writing becomes tricky. However, If I understand this blog in terms of my ‘why’, to ‘inspire and equip people’, then I have no other choice but to work hard to make it work. The purpose of the words is to become transformational, not just to put a piece of writing on the internet.
When we plan something, it is so easy on paper. We do X and Y and this results in the solution Z. In reality, the path to Z is never smooth and as easy as on paper and you know that challenge is a part of it. A truly resilient person knows that the quest of the hero is as much about the journey of discovery as achieving the end goal. A resilient leader knows to redefine purpose. Purpose is about growing through the purpose as much as achieving the end goal. Once you see it this way, the challenge is not the enemy but is in fact a contributor to a higher purpose. Something to help you grow through the purpose rather than defeat your purpose.
Purpose, has an immense power to build resilience. A resilience to keep going, to bounce back, but more importantly, to learn and thrive through it.
So, how do you discover direction and the power of purpose. I recommend tuning in to the Leadership Lounge on 22nd January on most podcast providers. It’s free!
As you start 2021, it will have challenges, and knowing purpose can really help with that. So, if we can be of help, do contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are finding it particularly challenging and would like some coaching to help you. If you would like to move from survive to thrive then please contact me.