Over the past few weeks, I have blogged on our Why, Will and Way… and some 16 character focused and driven posts for leadership and more. That said, character leadership and education is my and our focal point. After 40+ years in leadership training and development, 25+ years in business education, 19 years with The Virtues Project, 17 years in the field of temperament and personality, 17 years with CAPS, 14 years with Dale Carnegie Training and more… my focus is around serving:
- Leaducators… … in the classroom, understanding the impact and opportunity they have to affect the world in all arenas of human endeavor… through their teaching and their capacity to lead, inspire, educate and unite; to be that teacher who makes such a difference.
- Communitrepreneurs… running both social and private enterprises with the intent of serving and building genuine and sustainable prosperity … and better communities … by their work and service; and supporting the global goals… locally, globally or glocally.
- Emergents… young and young in spirit… and all ages and generations … who are rising up to help lead constructive change in the private, public and community sectors locally and around the globe… for an ever better and emerging world… for us all.
These are the people I have come to know I most desire to serve. That said, my and our work is all about exploring high functioning character as the path to high functioning unity in education, business and community…. to build a better world at school, work, business and community. As I have noted before… “I unapologetically believe that our human spirit, our “human tech”, our Humanity is the source solution through and out, and beyond… and, that Character is our highest expression of Humanity.” My own singular focus is about exploring and advancing character as the foundation to our meaning, message and more… to build that better world at campus, company and community.
That said, I have consciously explored purpose over 40 years. It started and has continued with the work of Richard Bolles. I recommend his annually updated signature book What Color is Your Parachute? … as well as his lesser known The 3 Boxes of Life and How to Get Out of Them. I think both useful for exploring individual and collective purpose alike. My own evolving career has been guided by such Wisdom, and it grounds my own work in helping others explore character and purpose.
My own exploration has been also advanced by an understanding of Ikigai. Personally, I have focused it down to 4 key questions.
- What do I Love? I often recommend identifying a minimum of 100 loves of character, abilities, skills and knowledge? This would include favorites such as heroes, bands, music, TV shows, movies, books, stories, characters, seasons, times of day, hobbies, foods and more. It would also include identifying what it is you love about each. These provide clues to themes amidst and amongst.
- Of that which I Love, what am I good at? Here you look at your list of 100 loves and determine those in which you have proficiency. This question is about where you hold Excellence.
- Of that narrowed list of Love and Excellence, what is most needed in the world or your corner of it? What of that which you love and are good at is needed by others that mean something to you? This question is about Service.
- Finally, of that further narrowed list of that which you Love, possess Excellence and can be of Service… what would people be willing to pay for delivery on?
In the evolution of my own work, I have noted that which I love and do not. I have observed (in my members as Dick Bolles would say… when our body tells us we love them and lose time in them). I have noted my loves. I have even noted that which I loathe and flipped the concept to see my love. I have identified work, studies, heroes, bands, music, TV shows, movies, books, stories, characters, seasons, times of day, hobbies, foods and more. I have created my own list of 200. And, I have considered what I hold Excellence on. I have found themes in doing so. And I have noticed needs that might fit my Excellence and Love. I have used the global goals to help with identifying such needs going forward… and other sources on the path forward. At this space and time for me, I am identifying one form of WEALTH in which I believe and for which I seek… When Excellence and Love trigger Helpfulness. The real “magic” arrives when we determine that which we Love and find Excellence and Helpfulness… and can make a living doing so. Those that meet the first three but not the fourth can be hobbies. Those that meet all four… hmmm, mission maybe? I have learned over the years that mission at it’s simplest answers two key questions.
What do I/we do best and for whom?
For me, the themes have been consistent over time. In all my loves since childhood, I have found over arching themes around character and unity. My heroes have reflected that, my childhood interests and imagination, my work and play over the years… all point to a hard wired fascination around character and unity. Throughout that time, in working in leadership, management, HR, marketing and even finance… in working in IT, hospitality, education and more… in work around economic, employment, rural and business development … in the private, public and community sectors… I have noted Love and Excellence along the way. Such willingness to observe and note and reflect has brought me to my work today and going forward.
We often over think mission and even write it off as superfluous. At its core, it is simply our just cause and our why as Simon Sinek might describe. It is about Purposefulness. and meaning manifested. It is indeed a huge part of what we do. It is definitely core to my own work around character. That all said, what’s mission in your life for you or your team at school, work, business and/or community?
Try that question on. Check out the books and links noted. Consider the virtue that is Purposefulness.
Purposefulness is a source of Joyfulness.
Purposefulness provides focus and meaning; and clarity of both.
Purposefulness gets us to Hell Yeah quicker.
Purposefulness adds real value, for us and for others.
One of my favorite sacred texts from the Baha’i Faith says, “Rise unto that for which thou was created.” Put your name in for thou and see how that reads. Yeah, what’s mission in your life?
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