Build Your Leaders

Archive for the ‘purpose’ Category

Getting Goals Wright

May 6th, 2013

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright liked to share a story from his childhood that he said helped shape his philosophy of life. When he was nine years old, he went walking across a snow-covered field with his rigid, reserved uncle. When the two of them reached the far end of the field, his uncle stopped him and pointed out their tracks in the snow. The uncle’s were straight as a line while young Frank’s tracks meandered all over the field.

“Notice how your tracks wander aimlessly from the fence to the cattle to the woods and back again,” his uncle observed. “And see how mine aim directly at my goal.”

Years later Wright would say, with a twinkle in his eye, “I determined right then, not to miss most things in life as my uncle had.”

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How to Live Life with Purpose

February 3rd, 2013

In my work (and my book Engineer Your Career), I address four “Ps.” One of those “Ps” is Purpose. I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose. Identifying and  sharing my gifts–my special talents, skills, and attributes–is crucial if I want to live life on and with purpose. This summer, I found these two passages in Paul Ferrini’s book “Silence of the Heart.”

“You think the gift is ‘a doing,’ but it’s not. The gift is a ‘way of being’ that is effortless and exultant. It comes naturally to you. It immediately and palpably brings joy to others.”

“Whatever you do, you can express your gift. You don’t need a special role, a special platform.”

Over the past few months, I’ve been pondering how my life’s work can be more “a way of being” instead of “a doing.” I don’t have all the answers, but in Ferrini’s words I’ve got a direction.

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The Adventure Begins

November 24th, 2009

Live your way to the answers. The adventure begins at 1:30 today. This afternoon, I fly to Manhattan where I am renting a studio apartment in Chelsea for three weeks. If I had a nickel for each time a friend asked me the purpose of my trip, I could buy a ticket to a Broadway show. My answer? “I’m not sure.”

My extended stay is something that I feel I need to do. I am following my gut. I’d love to stumble on a burning bush at 21st and 9th, but I’d settle for something far less dramatic.

This I do know: I am seeking to integrate more “New York” into my life. No, I’m not thinking about moving; a lot of people have asked. But, I am seeking to bring more New York energy into my Asheville way of life. I’m ready to turn up the volume, take more risks, and shake it up a little. What that looks like, I don’t know.

I’ve been unsure for a long time. The world around us in changing, and I’m struggling to find new ways I can be more relevant and of service, and at the same time make a living. I am impatient, and yet I know the answers will come in their own perfect time.

The Persian poet Rilke writes, “Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is live everything. Live the question now. Perhaps then, someday in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

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How to Answer Life’s Questions

September 30th, 2009

At a crossroads? Seeking clarity? Wondering what’s next? Are you one of the millions of Americans are asking themselves what they are doing, where they are going, and what they want to do with the rest of their lives?

Faced with a myriad of options, many become paralyzed. Author, speaker, and counselor Richard Leider offers this simple formula for making life choices: T + P + E x V

T is for talent. What are your strengths and weaknesses, and are you maximizing those strengths while managing the weaknesses? Many of us aren’t aware of our talents and shortcomings, and as a result most of us aren’t living up to our full potential.

P is for purpose. Most of us are searching for meaning, and we want to know that our lives matter. “Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation,” Aristotle once offered. How are you using your talents to make the world—even your little part of it—a better place?

E is for environment. Many people have real talents and are prepared to apply them in something they believe in, but their environment holds them back. What environment best suits your style, your temperament, and your values? Using the Enneagram, I help clients determine their ideal work environment so that they won’t make costly mistakes.

V is for vision. Talent, purpose, and environment are about work style and choice. Vision describes how work fits into the rest of your life.

For close to 25 years, Richard Leider interviewed more than 1,000 people who retired from leading companies after distinguished careers. Most said if they could live their lives again, they would:

1. Be more reflective

2. Take more risks

3. Understand what gave them fulfillment

Leider concludes that fulfillment is the truest measure of success, and fulfillment comes from integrity, knowing who you are and finding the courage to express yourself in the world.

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