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We have recently sold our house.  We lived across the road for 15 years and in our current home for 7.  It’s a warm friendly place on the banks of the river in  the western suburbs of Brisbane. 

Nearly everyone who visits remarks on the positive feelings that they experience when they visit.  No doubt this is a reflection of Angela’s purpose of Rejuvenating Spirit.  Once a large family home, we (mainly Angela)  ran it for some time as a B&B.  some time ago, we closed it to concentrate more on our On-Purpose Business. 

We are moving to a new eco- development, part-way between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The new home is still by the water as we love the restorative and recreational benefits of living in such an environment. 

All this has reminded me of the Seasons of Life.  I didn’t really think much about this topic until I started facilitating The Power of Your Purpose Workshop. The four seasons are a great metaphor for life.  We all experience “summer”, “autumn”, “winter” and “spring”  in our lives – whether it be in relationships, in our work or our general peace of mind. 

An ancient writer (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8) wrote, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven”.  It has been popularised by the Seekers in their song Turn Turn Turn and also by the Byrds.  It speaks about a time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant, a time to heal, a time to weep, a time to laugh and so on.  Read it through and listen to the song.

The question is what season are you in and how do you stay on-purpose throughout the different seasons of your life?  Many of us go through ‘winter’ seasons and for some, ‘spring’ never seems to come.  Or we get so blaise about living in ‘summer’ we take so much for granted that we never prepare  ourselves for the inevitable changes. 

So, I have found living on the river and watching and experiencing the ever changing ebb and flow of the river,  a useful image and metaphor.

Kevin McCarthy in his book The On-Purpose Person, talks about different ways we usually respond to our different life seasons.  We are either ‘floaters, ‘fighters’, ‘fleers’, ‘flitterers’, or ‘navigators’? What are you?

Let’s stay with the river metaphor a little longer.  Imagine that with each passing day the river current speeds faster.  White water rages ahead.  Will you dive, survive, or thrive during these turbulent times in you life?  What’s your attitude or ‘gut’ response?  Are you angry about life in these times?  If so, you are probably a ‘fighter’.  Flotsam and Jetsam may smack you around the ears as you relentlessly pursue your goals against the raging current of life.

To change the metaphors,  is your ‘ladder’ up against the right tree? Is there a far away beat of another drum that is calling you?

Are you ignoring the changes, falsely believing that they will have little impact on your life?  Then you are a ‘floater’?  If you want to run from it all, you are a  ’fleer’. If you jump from one thing to the next, then you’re a ‘flitter’.

Which ever of these responses is chosen, the fate of each group is predetermined.  ‘Fighters’ eventually burn out and become ‘Floaters’. Eventually they have given up- exhausted, depressed and  anxious and resigned to just ‘going with the flow’.  Perhaps this is expressed by the new ‘Whatever’ syndrome.  ‘Floaters’ become tragic victims of their own making, while they often blame those around them for their situation.  ‘Fleers’ run out of fear of being discovered.  Their lack if engagement in life becomes an empty and wasted prison of their own design.  ‘Flitters’ are on the move constantly, seeking answers in new jobs, books, relationships, philosophies and so on.  They are caught on an endless roller coaster of extreme hope and despair as they are always living in the future, while missing out on living in the ‘now’.

All of these – fighting, floating, fleeing and flitting are responses to life events and seasons.  Each of us has a dominant one.  The difference in being an On-Purpose Person is that you become a ‘navigator’.  As a ‘navigator’, you learn to choose to respond appropriately to the circumstances or situation in which you find your self.  You respond with your Purpose informing your choice.

For me, that means responding to this new season in my life with enthusiasm.  My Purpose of Igniting Enthusiasm means I am looking forward to the new possibilities ahead.  Being a navigator means you are self-aware, you know what you want and where you are going but you are also aware of the dangers and hazards ahead – you know the flow and then can go with the flow.  Being a navigator means you can move ahead, (no matter how tentatively sometimes) with intention and bright hope for the future.

To be honest, the thought of moving house for me was initially not that easy.  Subconsciously, I was a ‘f’ighter’.  I was in summer.  I love our present home, its lovely balcony overlooking the river, its warm nuturing atmosphere, this wonderful study and training facility especially built for our business, the leafy river bank filled with the sounds of numerous birds, the wonderful serenity of the river walks and so on… But the season here is over.  It’s time to move on. 

All the above (and more) is replicated  in our new home.  We don’t need six bedrooms and four bathrooms anymore.  There’s just the two of us.  We will be closer to the location where our business is increasing.  My initial reaction as a ‘fighter’ led to unhelpful emotions, stress, anxiety, somewhat heated ”discussions” with Angela, mainly to do with staying in my comfort zone and with “attachments”.  I was off-purpose in so many ways.  Now I can’t wait.  I know the flow of some of the river that lies ahead and will embrace the the other “unknowns”  with positivity and enthusiasm. 

In a recent coaching session, a client wished to spend time on discovering her purpose.  After taking her through our tools and processes she quickly decided that her purpose was Being Compassionate.  As a test of her purpose statement she was readily able to apply it across the various aspects of her life which we call “life accounts”. After the session, as part of my follow-up coaching notes, I sent this email to her.

Dear XXXX

Your purpose is like a homing beacon or a light house. It keeps you on course and on-purpose day by day. Whenever the going gets rough or when the storms of life hit, your purpose will always keep you on track. You may trip, stumble or fall, along the way but your purpose always brings you back on course. Remember the light switch on the On-Purpose Logo. A switch is turned on or off at your choosing. You can choose to live on-purpose or off-purpose. Your purpose is your spiritual DNA and comes from the heart. It is your reason for being. You only have one purpose and it brings meaning to your personal and professional life, day-by-day.You shared with me today how it worked in your business life as well as in the community, with your family, friends and even financially. Let it be the first thing you think about each morning and the last thing you reflect upon at night. You can wake up and thank God for the opportunity of a new day to be on-purpose across all life areas and before retiring ask yourself the question – What were three ways I lived out my purpose today? Your purpose is God’s calling on your life. Test it out over the next few weeks. As we discussed today, purpose is not what you “do” but rather who you “be”. It’s possible to do much in life but be zilch as a person. That’s why we are called human “beings” and not human “doings”

I exist to serve by Being Compassionate.

So how does it feel to reduce your life purpose to two words? – Small enough to fit onto a Tshirt or on a grave stone but big enough to make a difference to humanity for the rest of your life. An Awesome concept isn’t it?”

It is always fulfilling and thrilling to help someone find their purpose.  Do you know your purpose?  Nothing gives more power and intention to your life than discovering your purpose and living it out seven days a week.

Welcome to my first blog.

Central to my work in coaching and facilitating strategic thinking and business building workshops,  is helping individuals and organisations discover their purpose.  This is their reason for being – why they or their business exists. 

Two weeks ago I attended a Coaching Conference at Sydney University.  For most of the conference I kept pretty much to myself but had several very meaningful conversations in the breaks.  On the second (and last lunch break) I was sitting outside by a wall warming myself in the Sydney’s sparse but welcome winter’s sun.  Just as I was settling down on the ground, two women sat next to me and one initiated immediate conversation.  Surprisingly quickly she honed in on my work and on how I help people discover and live their life purpose.  The conversation soon led to a discussion about the difference between Purpose, Vision, Mission and Values and how Mission Statements often confuse and misguidedly converge them all (See the article on “Trash Your Mission Statement”). 

She had recently spent many months developing her own “Mission Statement” and found it so helpful and freeing to have such a simple and clear distinction between these four often misunderstood and misused words. As I often do, I used The On-Purpose Pal (Developed by Kevin W McCarthy) to graphically assist.  Now this was not a normal conversation as my new “on-purpose friend” had invested much thinking about “what she was on this planet for”.  She quickly warmed to the idea that purpose statements were most helpful when distilled to two words – a gerund (‘ing’ word) and an object.  I explained how my Purpose Statement – “Igniting Enthusiasm” worked across all my life areas – spiritual, family, vocational, health and recreational, social, financial and intellectual.  Through some rapid fire questions and conversation (not at all what I normally do) she soon honed in on two words – Achieving Mastery.  This will probably mean very little to you but when I asked her “How are these two words meaningful to you?” the floodgates opened.  The more she explained the meaning of these words for herself personally and professionally, the more animated and “on fire” she became.  “Edward” she said, “This is awesome.  This conversation has changed my life. I can’t believe how two words can be so powerful and meaningful.” 

I explained that how she could “test” them against each of her life “accounts” over the coming months and how these two words would become her “plumb line”, “lighthouse” and “true north” for her life.  She liked the idea of these two words being the first thing she thought about each morning and the last daily reflection before retiring to bed.

Now her friend was listening in on all of this and her friend (the one I had been talking with) asked her what she thought her purpose might be.  What normally takes place in a half day workshop became a one hour informal discussion with both my new lunch time acquaintances.  It was rewarding  for me to see both of them  work together on the same process and soon “Bringing Joy” arose like a phoenix out of the ashes.  Her already friendly countenance beamed with joy as she shyly (at first) repeated the words Bringing Joy.  Her friend enthusiastically exclaimed, “That’s you, that’s you, that’s who you are, that’s what your life is all about”.  She beamed with enthusiastic recognition and acceptance.

They both had discovered, named and identified with their new spiritual name.  Now they were left to align their life to their purpose.  I reminded them that electricity was around thousands of years before it was discovered.  Once discovered it had to be harnessed to realise its “power”.  What an amazing hour – truly an hour of power!

Needless to say, I still managed to eat a hearty lunch (as always) throughout this amazing informal “coaching conversation”.  That was really an “on-purpose” lunch for me.  We departed to go to our next conference session with warm hearts.  They both shook my hand and said, “Edward, that was just amazing, it was meant to be.  How can a chance meeting like this be so life changing?” And so I left feeling assured that God had used me to bring purpose and meaning to the lives of two more people – not with a “blow-torch”, but by simply “Igniting Enthusiasm”.

I see this blog as reaching youth and adults individually and within organizations including families, educational institutions, corporate and government sectors and the community.

My goal is to empower personal leadership so that individuals proactively align themselves personally and professionally through living on-purpose, intentional and balanced lives. This will enable people to maximise their potential and to achieve fulfilment in life.

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