When everything is feverishly changing around us, how do we know which way will lead toward success? When we define our success on what is going on out there, the path will always be shifting and changing creating a confusing, exhausting, and ultimately futile journey.
However, when we shift our definition of success toward one of living our own purpose and contribution, the path forward is clear, more stable, and more powerful. We aren’t just looking for shifting opportunities to get something we need; we come from a solid place of offering real value to the world and expecting to be fairly compensated for that value.
Whether you are an individual or an organization, answering the fundamental questions of what is your essence of being, what offer are you making that is of real value to others, and toward what mission are you moving toward will ground you in a stable bedrock of purpose that will serve to clearly guide you when all else is chaos. This use of purpose goes far beyond the standard vision or mission statements meticulously word-smithed by countless companies or individuals long forgotten in filing cabinets as part of a strategic planning exercise. To discover your purpose means reaching down into your soul to find the answers that rock your very being and deeply move your customers or clients. It’s not so much about what you do as what you stand and strive for. It’s more alive and more compelling to ourselves, our colleagues, and our customers. It is a huge differentiator in a competitive market.
Do you think you already have a purpose and that you can discover it? Or do you lean toward the notion that you choose your own purpose? Respond and let me know.
I was talking with a successful small business person today and he was scared; really scared. He was wound up so tense, I wondered if his muscles might fuse his bones in place. Welling with tears, he shared with me that for the first time in his life he wondered whether he would become homeless. His spouse had a job in home remodeling and she was struggling to find remodeling jobs after being so successful for many years. He was a teacher, recently out of work. Now they had only half the money coming in that they needed to pay the bills. The fear in his eyes was heart wrenching.
Like so many hard working, successful people, he is now facing hard choices. Most of us are shrinking back to live on as little as possible waiting for the good times to return. However, I sense that something more fundamental has changed that calls this strategy into question. Like a great meteor hitting the Earth in the days of the dinosaurs, huge forces are at work changing our economic landscape. I suspect the change these forces are bringing to our world will make our future look very different from our past. Not necessarily bleak or bad, just different than it was before. Whether you perceive it as good or bad will depend upon your ability to adapt.
Unlike the now extinct dinosaurs, we have the ability to learn and change during times like these. We have the ability to understand what is going on and choose a different path and a different way to live in the world. Taking a step back and understanding the larger picture of what is going on and choosing to invent a different future is our biological advantage. However, it does require us to make a choice to change.
Will you be a pawn, wearing yourself out doing more of what worked in the past with less, feeling like a victim?
I just bought a book titled The Upside of Down – Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization by Thomas Homer-Dixon. In it he makes the case that there is a very positive and creative opportunity inside every down cycle we have experienced in our history and, if we look for it, times like the present can be one of the best opportunities for innovation.
I personally am choosing to adopt this view. I am listening less to news and focusing more on what I see as possible and what I want to stand for and bring into this world. This is why Co-ignite has taken such a leap forward in the past few months. I see it as a way that we can all help each other bring and unprecedented spirit of innovation and creativity to our lives.
We all have a lot to learn at many levels in order to reinvent ourselves, our communities, and our businesses into something that will be sustainable in this new era that is now emerging. Co-ignite is a place where we can come together whenever it fits in our busy lives to get the support, the camaraderie, and the practical learning required to adapt to a new future.
What is it that helps you stay positive and innovative while we are all being challenged to learn new ways of living? Share them with me, this community, and your own networks of friends and family. This spark of optimism and innovation is where our new future is being born.
I have been talking with a lot of people recently and boldly sharing my sense that:
- There is a fundamental shift in our world going on.
- A new era is being born – right now in front of our eyes.
- We probably won’t be going back to the way of life we had just a few years ago.
- The rules for personal and business success have changed dramatically.
- Maybe the age-old strategy of creating a resume and looking for a job just like the one you had previously may no longer be the right strategy.
As I have shared these seemingly shocking observations and questions I have been surprised at the almost unanimous nodding heads of agreement. Not a single person has argued with me. No one has told me I was off base. It is as if most of us already know deep inside of ourselves that this is true even if it isn’t generally talked about.
Yet what do we do? Where do we go to learn the skills we are going to need in this new era where we probably will continue not to know what the world will be like a year into the future? Do we go back to school to learn these new skills? Traditional schools, colleges, and universities have been very good at collecting and giving us the subject knowledge and theories that have been found to be useful by offering us informational lectures and testing us whether we remember what we have been told. But, with few exceptions, traditional schools at any level have not really focused on helping to develop a student’s ability to:
- Find the inner compass of their inner purpose.
- Define their contribution toward a collective vision of the future we want to make for ourselves as a community, country, and world.
- Create an adaptable plan that keeps them on their path toward their life’s purpose and goals.
- Identify what they need to learn to become the person they most want to be.
- Execute their plan in collaboration with others
- Adapt to the change we know is coming. (This is the only thing we do know about our future!)
Tags » challenge