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”.