In a series of conversations with fellow transformers, leaders and influencers, we want to introduce you to the Ten Steps of Transformation. You’re getting a sneak peek into how The Heart Revolution can be your companion through transformation: helping you transforming your work and organization, by transforming yourself. You can always start with the latest, go back to revisit the previous post in the series or catch-up from Step One.
For “Step Three: I Strive for Meaning”, I’m joined by Lisa Doig, an experienced director, executive and facilitator in leadership development and culture transformation.
Step Three: I Strive for Meaning
|What is Step Three? As soon as we, as human beings, have our basic needs of safety, belonging, and self-worth met, we can begin to strive for a deeper meaning or purpose in our lives. When you personally reach true enjoyment, you combine what you love doing (following your passion) with how you contribute to other people (following your purpose) in a balanced way. Work starts flowing effortlessly for you. When your personal purpose aligns and connects with that of your business, you contribute to what matters most to your business. You give as you receive. This strengthens your place and belonging in your organization. And when you release your discretionary effort flowing from passion, your performance in your business will peak.|
Do you sometimes find yourself exhausted rather than excited?
Lisa wasn’t looking for transformation. Like many of us, transformation chose her.
At 40 years old, Lisa was a workaholic and perfectionist. Focused on trying to reach some unknown career pinnacle. It was then that a disruption took place in her life in the form of sickness, causing her to stop working for 6 months. Though an upset, this is also what sparked the beginning of Lisa’s transformation journey, and as she says: “once these transformational journeys start, you can’t really go back.”
Lisa clearly remembers the exact moment when Step Three: I Strive for Meaning became a defining part of her life. Working as a marketing consultant, Lisa was sitting, planning her annual budget and how she would exceed customer expectations – when a voice in her head asked:
“When will you be enough?”
Before that moment, ‘meaning’ wasn’t in focus for Lisa, everything had been about ‘achieving’. And yet, when she asked herself that question, it changed her whole professional life, and Lisa decides to shift from being ‘self-focused’ to helping others: Making it her purpose to help others find their purpose.
Lisa’s journey isn’t about removing ‘achievement’ though. Achievement still co-exists with meaning – we just have to decide which one is in-front, leading us. Achieving is about the ‘ego’, whereas meaning is the ‘soul’. If your ego is leading, it can get you there, but it’s exhausting and hard work. Whereas when your meaning or purpose is leading, it’s real fulfilment.
“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with achievement, but achievement probably sounds different from a place of meaning. It probably sounds more like flow. When you are achieving in your purpose, it’s effortless.”
So how is meaning and purpose relevant in our businesses and professional lives?
Lisa shares a story of when she coached a senior partner at one of the big consultancy firms. He was at the top of his game, high-flying and well regarded and managing most of the partners at his firm. But he felt lost, asking whether ‘this was it’? Through working with finding his values and meaning, they came up with his purpose:
“You know when someone comes up with their purpose because their eyes light up and they’re electrified”
Like many of us – when our basic human needs of safety, self-worth and belonging have been met – this senior partner felt something was missing and went looking for more. Years later, he retired and was elected as a university Chancellor. In the newspaper, he headlined described as “one of the most purpose driven leaders in the city”. When he found his purpose, he became driven by it – having an impact in not only his busines, but his community and society.
As Lisa reminds us, it’s important that we be kind to ourselves and allow ourselves to be in our transformational journeys, taking it one step at a time. To find our purpose, and let it lead us so that we find flow and move from exhaustion to enjoyment in our lives and work. And remember that transformation and connecting to our meaning is a journey – not a destination.
How are you connecting to your purpose and finding enjoyment in your work, and your life?
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