“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather… recognise man is questioned by life; we can only answer to life by answering for our own life”
One of the greatest questions asked by humans is “What is the meaning of life, what is the meaning of my life?” For individuals, we seek clarity on why we are here, often dogged by a sense that we were put on the planet for purpose, but that we just don’t know what that purpose is.
In families, teams, organisations or communities, meaning is about finding the magic sauce, creating a shared sense of the future, clarity around something we are all contributing to, and a clear sense of how we can work together without undermining our autonomy.
It all starts with aspiration. Dreaming of an ‘ideal’ life and then painting a vision of success in 6 months, 1 year or 5 years from now. Dream ‘big’ as if nobody is watching, listening or judging your thoughts. Who would you be and what would you be doing if there were no obstacles or nay sayers?
Capture your thoughts and write them down by asking yourself some simple questions:
While by no means definitive, questions like these help you sort what really counts and value in your life. Your answers act as light beacons in the night. Don’t discount them.
Better to dream a thousand dreams, than none at all, said the mother of modern family therapy, the famous Virginia Satir.
The first step to finding purpose is asking the hard questions. The second, answering them honestly. One of the biggest questions we can ask ourselves is “could I be my own roadblock?”. Often the answer is a simple yes.
Once we know this and find the courage to dive deeper, how do we dismantle our internal roadblocks and find a greater sense of purpose? By equipping ourselves with the right tools and skills to find and lead from a place of purpose.
Using tools such as the Five Why’s – a simple purpose elicitation exercise is a great place to start. At Dattner Group we often explore the truth about purpose – a model developed from the work of Roger van Oech – which helps people find a purpose in life that helps them have fun again, rather than feeling anxious about not getting their purpose ‘right’.
Regardless of what your personal purpose is, developing purpose whether in an organisation, with your family, a team or in your community, is all about inspiring others to be part of an idea that can be shaped by the many, not the few. While traditionally the domain of leadership, developing purpose can emerge at all levels and often has significant outcomes for the collective.
Articulating purpose for yourself and others is an activity worth spending time on. It reaps results and rewards, both personally and professionally.
As Dolly Parton so aptly said:
“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are an excellent leader.”
Director – Consultant & Coach
To find out how we can help you, please contact us at Dattner Group.