"Jobs fill your pocket, but the way you look at your job, fills your soul."
In a recent podcast, one of the HR leaders gave a beautiful acronym for the future of work: M A P (Mastery, Purpose and Autonomy). Today I will focus on PURPOSE in my blog since this is something that is very important and many professionals I meet, come up with this statement now and then: "I don't find meaning & purpose in my role!" To that I say, welcome! I was in the same space and I didn't find meaning and purpose too in my role. To me it was mechanical, routine and purposeless. Yes, because I looked at it that way. My perspective was fixed and I saw only that side of the role. In fact the reality was that some rigidness had to shift inside of me; some aspects had to be embraced; some old thoughts had to be discarded and many more. But, I am glad that I went through that transition which eventually brought me closer to my purpose and gave meaning to my work. I have realized that there is no perfect role/career. It is entirely how you see it and how well you connect with what you see. Once you are in sync with that, you have found your purpose and meaning.
Almost a year back, there was a point when I wanted to give up what I was doing because I felt I couldn't add value and didn't find meaning & purpose in my role. But today, I am doing the same work and find deep meaning & purpose in what I am doing. And with that realization, the way I serve my customer community has shifted massively. With that realization, I have grown as a professional and my capacity to give has increased manifold; I don't get drained, I become rejuvenated after every session. How is this possible when I am doing the same work; everything remains the same except for the way I relate to it and the way I look at it?! Do note that this is absolutely different from a sense of not being able to connect yourself with the role. When you can connect with the role, when you get a sense of being able to make a difference; yet when challenges come; if you get a kick inside to give up; that's the time you need to sit in that discomfort and ask: Is meaning & purpose missing in my role or I am not being able to see and figure out meaning & purpose in my role due to my inability to break free from normal ways of doing things? Am I getting bored with the role or the way I am performing the role?
YOUR MEANING & PURPOSE IS HIDDEN IN THE WAY YOU PERCEIVE YOURSELF IN RELATION TO WHAT YOU ARE DOING
Today, as I was coaching one of my clients and I asked this question to him: What is that one thing that you are proud of from your career? The reply impressed me and reaffirmed my believe in my client. The reply was: "I am proud of the fact that I am contributing towards maintaining the security of our nation, I am serving & protecting my nation. My purpose is to ensure that every product that I scrutinize is 100% quality proof and efficient enough to enable our soldiers to protect us from external threats and invasion." Can you guess what my client's role is? He is a embedded testing professional. This is what gets him going and gives a sense of purpose which is: service to the nation, protecting the nation. Look at the beautiful interpretation of his job! Had he considered himself just as a testing professional, his drive would have been less. He would have looked at the same scenario as something very routine and boring. But, the fact that he looks at it from an absolutely new angle and new perspective is what makes him stand apart. No wonder that he is a high performer, a great leader in his field and making a dent in the Universe. Today, I learnt a beautiful lesson from my client. He has reaffirmed my belief in the fact that it is how you look at your role and your contribution towards that role that makes all the difference.
THE ORDER IS: WHY, WHAT AND HOW
This also reminded me of John F. Kennedy’s stories. It was the story about when he visited NASA and saw a janitor mopping up the floor. Kennedy asked him what his job was at NASA and the gentleman said, “I’m helping send a man to the moon.” Look at the difference and the way one perceives the thing. This is exactly the "WHY" that Simon Sinek, the renowned motivational speaker, organizational consultant & the best selling author of the book, "Start With Why" talks about. When your WHY is so profound, your results are bound to be extra-ordinary. It's never the other way around! The order isn't this: How, What and Why; but this: Why, What and How you do it matters & makes all the difference.
FIND MEANING AND PURPOSE IN YOUR ROLE
So, let's uncover how to find meaning & purpose in your role? Well, do you still need to uncover or you have already figured out by reading the script above?! You are the best person to uncover your answers. All you need is to reflect on the following questions:
Do feel free to write to me or comment with answers that came up for you. I invite you to challenge your thinking, the way you look at things and how you conclude it.
Love & light,
When you open up your mind, you will see the colourful hues, the tonalities and the beauty that comes with it, which otherwise looks like black & white or even grey.
We subconsciously make a choice to paint our life either with colours or just let it be black and white. Did you know that our subconscious mind stores & associates any memory basically in these three forms: colour (visual), sound (auditory) and feeling (kinesthetic)? When we close our eyes and try to recollect anything; if we closely observe, we will see that for everything, we have associated it with a colour, a sound and a feeling very personal to us. All those experiences that we have clubbed under the positive/happy category, we give it different hues of colour and all those that we perceive as not so good/negative experience, we give it a different tonality of colour depending on who we are, what we see and how we see. Today is the best day for me to write about colours as I see people around me playing with colours and enjoying. The curious mind in me wonders, are we also colouring our lives the way we are doing today, choosing every colour to play with?! Yes, it's Holi and since it's a colourful festival, my mind wanders around to see the colours inside every individual. We let in some colours, some we don't, some we dislike, some we camouflage, some we run away from and many more.
Today, while I was coaching one of my clients, I found during the session that my client was not letting herself play with all the colours of her life. She was restricting herself, blocking herself from experiencing the colourful hues of life. In fact, the colours that she was all aware of was black and white. That was the lens through which she looked at life, herself and all the people around. And without doubt, her life was not as good as she wanted it to be. She was controlling herself and not allowing herself to experience the colourful hues of life. Past painful memories, past experiences, life's challenges toughened her core and slowly from a girl who loved freedom, fulfillment, bliss; moved to becoming controlled, repressive, reserved, withdrawn. She has trust issues and so never allowed herself to experience the joy of trusting others. How it feels like to have childlike trust and faith is what she stopped experiencing! How it feels like to fly again, be the creator of one's life and not just a fighter is what she had forgotten! How to stand up against the demons residing inside us, how to stand tall and let go of the burden pulling her down was something she had long forgotten! She loved colours, she had choices, but as life unfolded and caught her in its grip, she slowly surrendered to it & numbed her choices, her voice inside. She became doubtful of her choices, her ability to decide for herself, her ability to break-free and consumed herself in the endless pursuits & overcoming of life's battles & challenges.
One question that triggered her was: Where are you holding yourself back and why? She didn't have an answer! She was quiet for a long time and became thoughtful! She didn't realize that she was at all holding herself back till this question was posed to her. This question was like a jolt to her from the futile reality that she was creating for herself unknowingly. And what did she gain from that reality that she had created?! Nothing except control and restraint.
The joy of life can never be experienced in restraint. A free & open mind will enable you to see life in totality; a restricted & controlled mind will not enable that. There will shades of grey in everything that you look and witness from that lens. You will not be able to paint your life with colours that you truly love. Freedom of mind from all the pains, baggage, burdens will enable you to bloom into the person that you truly are.
Let the colours of life flow through you. Let yourself experience all the hues, because the joy lies not in restraint but allowing yourself to open up to this process called life that is beautiful, colourful, magnificent only if you choose to experience it with an open mind. So, today on the occasion of Holi, I invite you to allow yourself to paint your life with all the colours that you truly love and let your mind open up to new possibilities.
Love & light,
The joy of uncovering our blind spots is so fulfilling because it leaves you shifting your being which is the key towards massive growth & transformation within you. When your being shifts, your actions will accordingly shift and so your results. Today I uncovered yet another blind spot in me where I realized that more than living my own values, I was actually expecting others to live those values. This realization gets triggered at the most vulnerable situations, when you are in the grip of your limiting mind, when you are under stress. It is rightly said that if you have to know the true personality of a person, you have to see him/her at his/her lowest points. How one behaves during these periods will actually reflect what insecurities they have, what fears they are holding on to & what their inner world without masks & armours truly look like?! In moments of despair, we usually give in and we project our inner self. Not that our inner self is not good or so, but we then get aware of which space we are operating from: fear based or love based.
We all have values that we uphold, our actions are shaped by our values. But many a times, we don't realize that living our values is different from expecting others to live by our values. Even I didn't have that awareness until I uncovered that blind spot in me today. And I am so glad to have got in touch with that side of me. Values are what we uphold to be important to us & that which influences our behaviours and attitudes. My top values are: freedom, fulfillment, joy, authenticity, empathy & abundance. Great values to have! But, at moments when we are not at the centre of our being, at moments when we are out of balance, is the moment when we need to uphold our values most because it will serve us since it defines our identity, our actions that makes who we are. Noticeably during these moments we don't live by our values & instead expect others to live by our values. How? Let me share an instance. I arrived late for a meeting by 2 mins or so. The person with whom I had the meeting scheduled was upset and the body language reflected that. This was my perception though! Before the person said something to me, I clarified why I was late & expected the person to empathize with me. But that really didn't happen and the person started to question me & I felt judged. Here I was sitting feeling judged and not being empathized. I was completely zoned out because I had a very high benchmark for the person & that it wasn't matching up to that really irritated me. I sat in that anxiety and was flooding my mind with all sorts of judgement around the person. Later, after centering myself again, I realized that I was the one judging the person and not empathizing with. Empathy & authenticity are my values and I wasn't living those at that moment but expecting the person to empathize with me and be authentic too. Because I wasn't living my values & I was expecting the other person to live my values, I withdrew myself from being totally present in the moment, from giving my committed listening and hence my actions weren't serving me & the intent of the entire meeting got lost till I got back to my senses and reminded myself of the fact that I need to empathize and be authentic. That small shift just changed the entire dynamics of the meeting and eventually it turned out to be a fruitful one but with a massive breakthrough for me.
Many a times, in organizations also, we carve out these values yet we forget to uphold them. We expect employees to abide by them. The leaders who create these organizational values don't live by them and expect every other person to adhere to these. Leadership is beyond forcing but inspiring. And you inspire others not by saying but by being what you want them to be. Likewise, pick up any relationship in your life. May be with your spouse, child, sibling, colleagues, friends etc. Notice that many a times we don't do what we want them to do for us. If we want love, we must first give them love; if we want them to be truthful, we have to be truthful first. Do think over? What serves us powerfully: living our values or expecting others to abide by our values? Our values are unique to us. And more importantly, values have to be just lived without any inner benchmark. Benchmark will derail you. But simply living the values will empower you. Nothing external can trigger you if you live by your values in every situation and not just put the power on external locus of control like expectations from others.
Love & light,
There are times, cycles when we reach a low point in our thinking. Our mind is no longer capable of thinking positively, we are no longer able to look at the bright side of the things. This noticeably happens at moments when we are rejected, when we get NOs, when we fail, when we don't meet our expectations, when we don't meet our targets/deadlines, when we assume that we are no way closer to our intentions. That's when we question ourselves and our abilities. That's when self-doubts creep in, we become one of our greatest critics! Everything seems to be working against us. Situations, people & life in general seems not to be working in our favour. That's when we are in the grip of our limiting mind! That's the time when we look at things from a fixed view and loose the power to create. That's when we tend to give up. In fact this is the most vulnerable spot and time for giving up & forgetting our "WHY". This is the time when we loose sight of why we started of in the first place. Our mind is clouded with all the negative thoughts and we slowly move towards the victim state if we aren't mindful enough.
Today I felt I was in the grip of my limiting mind. I became fixed in my views, my mind started to pick up all the negative cues, everything not serving me & my growth. Earlier I wasn't aware of my patterns. But now I know when I am in the grip of my habitual patterns. I withdraw, I criticize myself, I doubt my capabilities, I don't take any actions but become lazy across all the four bodies: physical, emotional, intellectual & spiritual. I use distractions to keep me away from feeling any discomfort. I seek for approvals, validation and blame others for what has happened. In a way it is a complete zoned out moment for me. But, the beauty of all of this is that, now I am aware of my behaviours. I realize my patterns & so half the battle is already won. All I need to do is to gather myself up and move on with my consistent actions. But, there is a twist here. Every time anything negative happens, I get the chance of being a beginner again. The lightness of being a beginner again is more effective than carrying the burden of being just successful with no real impact. Every time things don't work out, I get an opportunity to use my creativity muscle, churn it to my benefit & come out with something really impactful & useful. This for me is growth. There is so much joy in failing! I could never say this before because I never saw it that way. Every time I am rejected, every time I am ignored, every time I bag a NO; are the times I really feel proud of myself because I know that I am progressing & not just running over at the same spot again & again with the delusion of progressing. These NOs are the foundations of my story to be told as a part of my legacy! I would be happy to gracefully bag as many as I can and I acknowledge myself for being able to say this now. This proves that my leadership depth has increased massively over time. Way to go!
My clients are a reflection of me and hence we find joy working together; being in the coaching relationship. Whenever they come up to me with a long face upon failing, upon not meeting targets; I know that breakthrough is going to happen that will change their lives drastically. They do the same things that I have mentioned above. They self-loathe, self-criticize, withdraw, blame, go to victim state. They forget to see the glory of being who they truly are in moments like this! One failure robs them of their peace of mind, their identity, their capabilities. Mind it that they are all exceptionally high performers; just that the failure has taken a toll on their being and they are unable to see more than just their failure in moments when they are in the grip of their limiting mind. Giving up & quitting mentally, mid-way, is one of their biggest blind spots that they need to work on. Simply put, they have lost the form due to limiting thoughts that they have held due to the rejection that they are experiencing now. And then I remind themselves like I did to myself to let go of these unnerving thoughts; to embrace the limiting mind because it speaks from a space of fear & give power to the limitless mind, igniting & leveraging the limiting mind. Leaning against the intrinsic fears is the key. Change is constant, likewise failing too is a part of the master's journey. For anything extra-ordinary that you want to create, you have to be extra-ordinary in your thinking, in your being and in your actions. You have to fail extra-ordinarily too. You must sail through that to be able to conquer your failures. Giving up is truly failing and not failing. Failing gives us opportunities to be better, for us to re-look at our ways, to be more creative, to defy the regular ways of doing things, breaking ourselves into pieces to actually see what parts are critical to fulfilling our bigger intentions. And my clients are extra-ordinary who plays bigger games and their purposes and causes are extra-ordinary!
Free yourself from your limiting mind to win not just the battles but the war inside of you & produce extra-ordinary results, to live your "WHY" for which you started in the first place.
Love & light,
Freedom is what we all overtly and secretly desire. Don't we? We give it different names such as independence, self-sufficient, liability-free, detachment, happy etc. We want to spread our wings and fly at our will devoid of any shackles pulling us down or holding us back. Freedom is one of the top most values for people like me. Not just me, deep down if you ask yourself honestly, you'll find that this is one of the values that drive all our actions. We seek freedom from mediocrity, from constant failing with no positive results, financial liberation, freedom from tedious jobs, difficult relationships, meaningless pursuits, freedom from control, freedom from barriers inside and outside us that holds us back from being that person, from that individual who truly are. Liberating ourselves from all the chains, shackles that tie us down from blooming into our highest selves; living in our zone of genius is what we all want to master and live by to be able to truly experience life in it's truest essence. Freedom from self-denial, guilt, fear, lack of courage to be who we are is what we all want. Freedom has different colours and covers many things. But are we free? If not, why? Have we covered ourselves up in the so-called illusion of freedom that we supposedly feel is what it looks like?! Have we run away from seeking it altogether due to our perceived inability to break-free? Do we fear breaking free? Do we fear being extra-ordinary because that will mean giving up our comforting ordinary identity?
Imagine you are trapped inside a box however giant it might be, at the end it is a box that you are in and as you explore the box in and out, after some point you feel suffocated because you realize that your own pursuits have chained you, your lack of awareness of self, what it desires, what it wants from life, what you want to create, is what keeps you going back to the box. You have money but feel valueless, you have people around you but feel lonely, long for meaningful relationships, you have a career but every morning you have to drive yourself out to work, you have everything yet you feel like you have nothing. There is vacuum inside that many a times we don't even realize that it is nothing but our creation because of the unconscious choices that we made. We were conditioned in a particular way to think, look at things, we followed and picked up whatever came our way, decisions were already made for us, we were given choices and we had to pick from that not realizing that there could have been other choices too, we lost our ability to decide because we never used that muscle to make the decision for ourselves, we went with the flow and things worked out for us because we were intelligent enough to adapt to things and people around us. In this adaption, somewhere slowly and slowly our inner self got covered up without us realizing it. Our voice inside us did tell us, did tell us to listen to it and break-free but we didn't have the courage to act on it. The giver at the core of our being always gave in, yet forgetting to give ourselves the best that we deserved. The introvert in us never gathered the courage to stand against our loved ones or be vocal of what we truly needed. We suffered internally yet remained calm on the outside. We took this as a challenge of life and embraced it but for how long?! There comes a point when you can't escape from the trap that you laid for yourselves. The pains of being in that trap somewhere after a point, outweighs our gains and that's when we feel the disturbance within. That's when we feel the discontentment, the feeling of imbalance, feeling of fear, feeling of suffocation, feeling of discomfort within and we start questioning ourselves about all of these. We are too fearful to even confront ourselves and our identity that we created over time. We look into the mirror and realize that's not me who is standing there. The inner child in us gets neglected or criticized and we stand there in a fix as to embrace this new awakening or altogether defy this awareness and go back to our default way of functioning because that's what our mask is, that's what our strategic self is. You are standing at the cross-road of your life either to choose one of these: continue being in this trap or break-free to experience true liberation. If you choose to pick the later then, welcome to my world. We resonate and we together can create the path for you to break-free. From fear to freedom is what you desire and so you deserve.
From fear to freedom, from a default life to a created life, from just a career to a fulfilled career, from just a relationship to deep connections, from chasing to attracting, from giving in to influencing, from running away to embracing, from quest to quench, from finding answers to experiencing you, from scarcity to abundance, from exteriority to essence. You deserve to experience life to its fullest glory based in love and not fear.
What do you need to break-free?
The CHOICE to break-free and UNDERGO A DEEP TRANSFORMATION through a validated process along with the will to experiment, to take risk, to revamp, to try out new things, new ways, breaking old you to create a new you. Simply put, you have to take a tough decision to create an extra-ordinary life for yourself & embrace the you that already resides inside, waiting for you to give it wings to fly not without you in your imagination but with you in reality, in this real world.
Love & light,
Life & Organizational Development Coach