Some months back and on LinkedIn, I shared this on finding your best Service… your intersection of talent and need. I humbly recommend the read and reflect. I followed that up with 4 questions on finding purpose…. and Two Shoes and a Purpose. For me, throughout my years and career, I have found Purposefulness to be Joyfulness. It brings meaning.
This past week, I shared on Why Character? Over this past weekend, and amidst some trials and triumphs alike all in 48 hours (they both come with life), I had a moment of greater clarity. While clarity happens in brief shining moments, I find it useful to record that clarity not unlike writing down a dream before it somehow vanishes into the recesses of our minds.
Since I can remember, I have been fascinated with high Character and its power to forge palpable Unity. That fascination charged my imagination and my interests. As a child, I would not have articulated it thusly. I would have probably said, “it’s just cool”. In retrospect, I see the signs. Richard Bolles called it looking to your “members” I believe. That which resonates in your body as Joyfulness (not simple happiness)… that which makes you lose sense of time… this is the home of purpose and Service.
The best place for us to look for clues to our own sense of Service is to our stories, as individuals and organizations. What juices us deeply? What has been a concurrent and consistent theme to when we have felt “on” around and about?
When I consider my heroes over the years, I see the clues.
When I consider my career over the years, I see clues.
When I consider who my choicest of friends have been, I see those clues too.
Purpose resonates in our cells when it is activated. We feel more than “good”. We feel filled; fulfilled. It is what Maslow spoke to in referencing self actualization. Purpose matters because it is our best Service. It is our best contribution. It may be large or small or somehow and somewhere in between… but we know it when we activate it.
Look at your life to date. Consider your childhood imagination and interests, unfettered by adult expectations. Look for themes. Consider the courses and classes and teachers you most loved and admired. Consider your best and true friends through life.
Consider your favorite hobbies (whether current or not), TV shows, books, movies, characters and more. Inventory it all to see what your Soul is whispering to you.
Find the themes. If you are a team or organization, compare notes. Find your common ground on what truly matters. We do not invent our purpose, nor even “find” it. We listen to it, and if we are wise… we act upon it.
I have found such to be true thus far and, after this weekend, intend to listen ever more closely. It will guide my decisions for study and work and play and life. How about you?
Peace, passion and prosperity…
“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. ― Abraham Lincoln