On purpose

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When people ask me what I do for a living there are a variety of responses I can give them:

  • Consultant – this is the worst one.
  • Coach
  • Facilitator
  • Trainer

I work with businesses to make them perform more effectively through their people.

These all describe what I do.

Sometimes when I am working, I am connected to the purpose of what I do:

“Creating the conditions to make people’s lives happier, and helping people love each other more”.

I find that when I am doing anything in my role connected to this purpose, I am instantly happier and more peaceful; and easier to work with. Dan Pink, author of best-selling book, Drive: The Surprising Truth Behind What Motivates Us, describes an inspiring purpose as the yearning to be in service to something greater than ourselves, he cites this as one of the most important factors in human motivation. In fact, I find that I can do pretty much any task in my life, and if it’s in the service of something greater than myself, I instantly have meaning and purpose in my life.

Connect - BlueSky - Bluesky Performance Improvement

A friend of mine and ex-colleague, Bill Hutchinson used to say that it’s not the task we have to carry out that creates our experience, but the spirit in which we undertake the task. For example, when someone asks you to make a cup of tea, you have a choice. You can do it in a begrudging manner, or do it with pleasure because you want that person to be happy and have a really good cup of tea. The fact remains whichever way you choose, you will still be making the cup of tea. It’s the same as when you give money to a charity cause. The act itself will not create you to be happy or unhappy, but the spirit in which you do it will. If you do it with a mind on what benefits you will personally create for the people who receive the donation will receive, you will have one experience. If you do it because your peers will think you are mean, you will have another experience. Another way of saying this is it’s not what you do, but the context in which we operate. It’s the same work that we do, but the context and reason why we do it is different.

Why do we come to work? To make money so that we can enjoy our life outside of work, and hope at the same time that our work will be personally satisfying and fulfilling, and when it isn’t, well hey? No job is perfect.

What about if we came to work because of the reason the work existed? Because we were so compelled and inspired by the purpose of the work we were involved in, it transcended our own need for own needs to be met, and yet at the same time spurred us on to even greater personal achievements.

I find that when the context of my work is centered around me, life can be miserable.  When my job becomes about not getting what I want, not doing the kind of work I want to be doing, things not being done the way I want them to be, people not behaving the way I want them to behave or the way they should, the work not being done the way I think it should be done, things not going the way I want them to be, my boss not treating me the way that I want to be treated, work life can create all kinds of unhappiness. And when I am present to the purpose behind the work that I do, I find that work can be an incredibly satisfying and fulfilling place to be.

And what is a leader if it isn’t someone who has been able to inspire people to be present to a purpose that is greater than themselves?

So what if the places we worked in were more present to a purpose that was more important then ourselves and we were more connected with that on a day-to-day basis? Would that make a difference to our experience of the world and the individual work that we produced?

I’d love to know your thoughts….

James@Bluesky

James Hodgkinson - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

www.blue-sky.co.uk

Blue Sky Performance Improvement

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2 Responses to “On purpose”

  1. Kevin Green Says:

    Great piece James. It also highlights the constant fact that we all have a ‘choice’ about the meaning & context we give our work & lives too.

  2. Vivienne Bolton Says:

    The qualities of our intentions…. a really enjoyable read, thank you James!

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