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The thing you love is doomed, especially if you love an organization. I know that many of you know this already.
This community has been talking to each other. You've been calling me. And, you've been clear about how doomed you are.
I had one of these conversations today. Near the end of the conversation the potential leader I was speaking with said, "I agree with you that we need to act intentionally and aggressively, and approach our situation with focus and energy, I don't think the other members of the board will get into this. Maybe the Executive Director will agree, but who is going make sure this is going to happen? Who is going to leads us?"
The answer to the question "who is going to lead us?" is...
374 days ago, give or take a day, I wrote an e-letter to you. It started off like this.
My name is Sterling Lynk.
So a year later, how do you think I did? What has been your experience of this purpose-project of mine? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or, better yet, use the comment section below.
I Ask Because...
I am asking because MightyPurposeMe is changing.
The mission can't change. This is my purpose-project; it is intended to be the current best expression of my purpose. If you want live your purpose, I am here to help. I am here to help you do meaningful, good, powerful, soul-in-the-game stuff.
I just need to do it better.
P.S. - Are you struggling with meaningful, good, powerful, soul-in-the-game stuff? Shoot me an email at email@example.com and tell me about it.
Who is this "mighty purpose thing" for?
I don't know. But, I have a few ideas about who it is not for.
This isn't for you if you...
That's my list today.
P.S. - I find the idea of having "soul-in-the-game" compelling. If you do too, check out Chapter 23 of Nassim Taleb's Antifragile. Please, don't forget to follow the rules.
I have a game you need to try. Let me describe it for you.
If you played this game, what would you do to maximize your payout? And, what does this computer game have to do with you living your purpose everyday?
In his book Predictably Irrational, behavioral economist Dan Ariely describes what happened when he offered this game to real people. I'm guessing you'll be surprised by what happened and what it means for the way you should approach your purposeful life.
If you receive the periodic Mighty Purpose email, then you may have noticed at the bottom of the mails the following:
"Copyright © 2013 Mighty Purpose (Sterling Lynk). Everyone has a purpose - even copyright lawyers."
I'd like to offer this amendment; everyone has a purpose - even men who have spent nearly half their lives in prison. Artist James Morgan is such a man.
Since being paroled, Mr. Morgan has worked to survive, create meaningful art, and serve his community. He also has a message to share with all of us - and it starts with this Max DePree quote:
"We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are."
Mr. Morgan is surviving with purpose and we can all learn a few things from him.
If you have been a part of what we are doing here for any length of time, then you've probably run into at least 1 test. It turns out that I have proposed 7 different ones over the past year.
My hope for you is that each test you engage, whether your pass or fail, propels you forward on your purpose-adventure. They should be challenges, battles and obstacles you face so that become more and more the person who lives life purposefully. So, have you been wrestling with the tests I have offered you?
Consider the following list of tests I have shared with you over the last year.
The truth is that there are not 7 different ways to face these 7 challenges. There is only 1 way and here it is:
It is as simple as this to get started. As hard as it can be to actually take the leap, taking action is actually the easy part. It's not a real test. The test only comes after you have taken action.
The truth is that there are not 7 tests or 70 tests or 700 tests. Just as there is just 1 one way to face a battle while on an adventure, there is actually only 1 test. You may need to overcome it 7000 times, but there is only 1.
Here is your real test:
This is your real test and every time you overcome this obstacle, better this challenge, and win this battle then you are truly living purposefully. And, even if you don't overcome, better, or win you are still growing.
Perhaps it is a “sign of the times” but more and more people have been telling us that they feel stressed, disengaged, disconnected, unfulfilled, fearful, and overwhelmed with too much to do. Sadly, in increasing numbers they’ve revealed to us that they want to feel inspired, and that they want their lives and work to really matter. Much like Sisyphus, the Greek hero who was ordered by the gods to push a big rock uphill only to see it slip out of his hands at the last moment, living the “good life,” a philosophical term originally associated with Aristotle, for many people has become an endless--and joyless--undertaking.
- Alex Pattakos and Elaine Dundon in www.fastcompany.com column Can This One Greek Word Improve Your
Work and Life?
Back in May, I suggested that you give up trying to be happy. But, that didn't mean that living purposefully should be a joyless ordeal.
So check in with yourself. Has your quest to first discover and then to live your purpose everyday become miserable?
If it has, then please make sure you are not in one of those dips that tempt you to quit. You are in one of those, then you're not miserable or joyless - you're just doing the sometimes thankless, mostly challenging, often seemingly impossible, work of purpose.
But if you're not in one of those troughs, then you need to pause. Take a week off. Then come back, reread your favorite post on this site and start over.
Having joy comes with strength. So restart by finding a way to leverage your strengths. Your purpose has a lot to do with your strengths and strengths make you feel stronger when you leverage them.
P.S. - The quote above is the first paragraph of Pattkos' and Dundon's piece called Can This One Greek Word Improve Your Work and Life?. When I first tried to read it I was stopped cold by the first paragraph. Joyless-ness in living your purpose is a particularly brutal member of the Army of the Dead. Eventually I got to the rest of the column. It's interesting and comes with a TEDx talk of one of "Dr. Meaning" himself, Alex Pattkos.
Early today Nicki Pombier Berger sent me a link to a bit of oral history she collected from me back in September. In case you missed it, Nicki's latest purpose project was featured here last week.
That bit of oral history (which can be heard here) was a recording of me sharing the moment when my work and leadership of the Madison Area Down Syndrome Society stopped being meaningful to me because it was a source of success, achievement, and challenge for me. This was moment when it was transformed into a calling - and, callings demand sacrifice.
Her email reminded me of something I shared with you back in December; sacrificing for a calling is an important part of living purposefully. But, you'll probably need to be really inspired to respond to a call.
When you listen to this story, you'll have another example of my holy discontent in action.
When was the last time you were grumpy because something sparked your holy discontent? Yes, grumpy you may not be as pleasant or nice or likeable or fun. But, when your values demand a little grumpy-ness and you take action, then you are being authentic and living your Mighty Purpose.
So, when was the last time your holy discontent inspired you?
P.S. - A couple weeks back I shared with you my concern about the impact of decision fatigue on what we are doing together. Abby Hall, the woman who first shared the idea of decision fatigue with me, read the post and thought I was missing a few things. So we rewrote it together. You can see the new post here. Also included are new resources that I didn't have originally, that will help you battle this most impressive member of the Army of the Dead.