Every calling is great when greatly pursued
Living on purpose. It's a growing, evolving process. It takes
focus, clarity and regular reflection. Here's one story about a
client's evolution and effort to stay on purpose.
Paul is doing some incredible things. His business bottom line
is up and stronger than ever. There are new opportunities on the
horizon allowing him to live his dream and in many ways he's on
the leading edge in his industry.
I met Paul four years ago. He was referred to me when I was
making marketing calls to businesses in my area. Paul was very
interested in personal and professional development. Our first
call lead to some interesting conversations and Paul
subsequently participated in many classes I taught. Two years
ago, Paul joined my purpose discovery workshop, resulting in his
"I eagerly seek to acquire and share knowledge to be of benefit
Paul told me he had always wanted to be a public speaker and to
him, his purpose statement was a clear reflection of this
desire. By understanding this is what he naturally loved doing
and sought to contribute, Paul began to shift his life and
pursue his dream. We started a weekly coaching program. He also
signed up for Toastmasters to hone his speaking skills and he
hasn't looked back.
Paul's company is a small independent wholesale supplier of
cleaning and sanitation products. You might be thinking to
yourself, "That doesn't seem very glamorous. I thought you said
he's doing some incredible things. He's just selling cleaning
Paul's business is selling cleaning products, but his real
passion is infection control. He has taken it upon himself to
develop an expertise in cleaning and infection control so
healthy people don't get sick and sick people have a chance to
heal. He's not a scientist, but Paul understands the science of
infection control. His real specialty, however, is the Art of
Infection Control. He's the "what to do and how to do it guy"
people in his local health care community often turn to for
Today, aside from running his business, Paul speaks at
conferences and is connecting leading experts in the field of
infection control with the front line hospital and nursing home
staff across the country by leading and facilitating group
TeleLectures on the phone.
Let's back up two years. Although he longed to speak in front of
groups, Paul felt handicapped by a slight stutter. It wasn't
until he realized what his purpose was, "...to acquire and share
knowledge..." that despite his reticence, he decided to go for
Paul is developing an excellent reputation now and in just two
years, is known as an "expert" in his field. He has no Ph.D. in
science and doesn't really need one. He calls on others'
scientific expertise when needed. He's able to make a fantastic
contribution through what he knows, "The Art of Infection
Control" -- how to use the Science.
Education in the Art of Infection Control is part of Paul's
vehicle for touching the world. In the beginning, Paul had a lot
of doubts about actually making this happen. "I need a degree,"
he thought. "No one will take me seriously," he told me. "I
don't know how to speak to groups," etc., etc. All of these
"issues" have been overcome and he is indeed living his dream.
His goal of speaking and sharing his knowledge and insights
aligns with who he is. It "just seems natural." When you act in
alignment with your deepest drive to contribute, it never really
feels like work.
Then, last week, with two years of success behind him, Paul
called me and said, "I'm not sure if I'm on track or if my
purpose is correct."
Sometimes even when we know the direction we want to go, we can
get lost. We lose sight of our goal; we forget why we're doing
something or maybe the day-to-day pressures and distractions
make it seem like we're off track. Maybe we think our purpose is
not big enough.
So, with this new doubt we took some time and reviewed Paul's
purpose. (We only wonder if we're off track when we're in doubt,
when we lose focus, when our vision is cloudy. Of course most of
us don't review if we're on purpose, when we're feeling great,
focused and aligned.)
This may sound simple, but in review, I asked Paul if he was
still "eagerly seeking to acquire and share his knowledge". He
said yes. Then I asked him to look at his drive to do this and
"to be of benefit to all".
"Is this still what you are trying to do?" "Yes, it is."
"Does this purpose still reflect your deepest drive to
contribute?" Another resounding "YES!"
"Then is this statement of purpose indeed still absolutely
"Are you sure there is nothing missing or is there something
else you need to add?" "No" said Paul, "I guess I wasn't really
seeing things with my purpose in focus."
Paul was reconnected to his purpose.
Because of the clarity of his actions and intention, Paul is
doing incredible things in all aspects of his life. His
business, his church life, and his relationships all continue to
grow and be aligned with his unique contribution, despite
occasional feelings of doubt or distraction. Living a meaningful
life, one of purpose, is an evolving process. As a matter of
fact, it's a lifetime job.
SPECIAL NOTE Usually we equate success with being on purpose.
But note: you can be 100% on purpose and not necessarily succeed
or reach your goal. Your purpose is about your drive to
contribute. It is "what you are trying to do" and at which you
may or may not succeed. Purpose is the driver. In Paul's case,
the driver is "to acquire and share knowledge to be of benefit
Maybe he is unsuccessful in acquiring a certain nugget of
knowledge or is unsuccessful in clearly sharing his knowledge.
This does not mean he is not on purpose. The mere fact of
attempting to acquire and trying to share knowledge shows
alignment with purpose.
Sure, we all want to be successful but it is not the only
criteria by which we measure your alignment with your purpose.
We measure being on purpose as the process of authentically
seeking to create the results you want. It is the process of
being and doing and is not necessarily tied to immediate results.
Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela all
strived for years in the service of their purpose, often meeting
with defeat after defeat. They too may have had setbacks and
doubts, yet continued to keep focused on their purpose.
If you get stuck, try stepping back from the "results" and look
at the bigger process. Are your actions aligned with your
deepest drive to contribute and live a purposeful life? Only you
know, and your answers will reveal to you if you are on purpose.
You may need to make a few adjustments or maybe, if you are like
Paul, just need a reminder that you are on the right track.