I was torn on the topic for my reflections this week. Initially I wanted to talk about being bold and being confident, a couple of my core strengths which have really been impacted by the things that have happened to me personally over the last couple of years. But then I realised I couldn’t do that without bringing back the topic of purpose as this last week has really made me validate for myself: What is my purpose?
I’ve always been a person with a strong sense of purpose, a drive that was motivated by something much deeper than ambition or achievement. It was driven by a passion for what I do, which comes from who I am as a person (at this point I should say I was at risk of bringing yet a third topic into this post, that about Personal Values, but will save that for a future post).
Harvard Business Review wrote an article many years ago on the concept of Deeply Imbedded Life Interests (DELI’s) and how, typically, everything we do in life and the steps we take are normally driven by some underlying passion, but often we’re not aware or connected to that. Many people never truly understand the motivation that drives them and continue to focus on the more tangible/visible activities or outcomes (job title, scope etc). This is all great when things are going well, but when they don’t, you can become lost, a situation I’ve felt myself in a few times over my career. But when you connect back to your underlying motivation/purpose, it’s like dropping an anchor in the water to ensure you don’t drift off too far while you get things back into alignment.
This week for me was that moment when an opportunity came up to do some advisory work. I talked previously about the issue of self doubt, questioning whether I’m good enough. Will there be opportunities in the current climate and have I made the right choice at the right time? A big element of the advisory work is to tap into my experience from 8-10 years ago and the type of role I did back then, while leveraging my coaching expertise. I questioned whether it was really something I wanted to do, if it would be taking me back in my career too much, or conflict with my plans for coaching, but of course it wasn’t. It’s an organisation that needs support in helping lay out a brighter future, aligning people to that vision, laying out the roadmap and then supporting them through the change process. So while there’s a strong ‘technical’ element to the role, it ties as much to my passion as pure coaching does. Which doesn’t take me away from my purpose, just helped me bring more clarity to what my purpose is.
Exert your talents, and distinguish yourself, and don’t think of retiring from the world, until the world will be sorry that you retire. – Samuel Johnson
I was then reminded of this point after a coaching session with a client on Tuesday night. He is an amazing individual, successful, intelligent, a lovely person, underpinned by strong personal values. However, what was impeding him was that he was allowing the ‘noise’ of day to day life to overwhelm him, causing him to lose that clarity, combined with a slight internal conflict with one of his core values. What he needed was the space to think, a place in which to reflect on the situation and being held to account for making the changes needed (not that there was much of this last point needed as he is very strong in holding himself accountable). Tuesday was our 4th session and just hearing the level of clarity in his thinking, the calmness in his voice and the boldness in the steps he’s taking is amazing. Now seeing that he is strongly driven because he is connected to his purpose is such a wonderful thing to be part of. I’m thankful to him for allowing me to be part of his journey.
‘I love coaching’ was the first thing I said to myself when I hung up the phone after that coaching session. That feeling you get when you hear the impact that the sessions have had on someone, all because I’m pursuing the thing that I love doing. Supporting and enabling people: That is my purpose. Puts a smile on my face and warmth in my heart, which is why I’ve taken this step in my life.