We explored the notion of purpose from various viewpoints in the first ten blog posts in this series. We then started making sense of our purpose in the last four blog post. I invite you to now reflect on the third aspect in the model of purposeful living– The choices (the orange colour circle in the model). While this is the third circle, in real life it can happen anywhere in the nine steps; it’s not chronological in real life.
This aspect deals with making choices once we have a glimpse for the beginning of what our purpose might be. When I had a glimpse of my purpose 22 years ago, I made choices such as finding opportunities to improve my knowledge regarding personal development through Neuro Linguistic Programming and organisational development through continuous improvement by reading and conducting training for my team at Keells Super, and attempting to apply this knowledge in my work and personal life. I started organising public workshops in Sri Lanka featuring Omar Khan of Sensei International, who opened my eyes to see this new world, so that more people can benefit from his gift. I started spending more time with my family because helping them grow and see them grow gave me joy. They are the oxygen that energized my flame. These choices were relevant to my purpose, which was about helping myself grow to my fullest potential by helping others to grow to their fullest potential. I started going to the gym regularly as I wanted to keep my body in shape so that I am fit to do purposeful work. I started to pray and meditate regularly and felt peace of mind. I also started to be more helpful to others thereby building high quality relationships. I knew all these were in some way connected to my purpose as I really felt good doing it.
These activities not only made my life more meaningful and happy, but resulted in me achieving success at work and home and gave me more confidence about my life and purpose. A big choice I made two years later was to, leave the John Keells Group and start working full time with Sensei. This work game me more knowledge, insights and confidence, making my purpose clearer and giving me courage to make more bolder choices. This process also started giving me more clarity about purpose which resulted in me revising my purpose statement about once every three years. It did not change the direction, but it got clearer, deeper and broader. This resulted in even bolder choices, such as venturing in to learning and teaching new types of disciplines, taking on CEO roles at Agora Supermarkets and Apollo Hospitals in Bangladesh, starting my PhD at 50 years of age, setting up a company in Bangladesh etc. resulting in further improvements. And the cycle has continued over the past 22 years and continuing.
I must also say that not all choices I have made were the best, although I thought they were in line with my purpose, such as certain business relationships, recruitments, customer choices, investments etc. There were also other choices made, which were not in line with my purpose. However, I would think these are a minority when compared to what worked for me to give me success and happiness in my life.
I recommend you check your options against your purpose statement before you make choices, so that they are more aligned to a bigger reason and more meaningful. In case you have not established your purpose statement, I suggest you go back to the previous blog post and write the beginning of your purpose statement using the process suggested.
We will explore the light-blue colour circle, ‘building’ related to how you build yourself in nine areas of your life to be fit for purpose, in the next blog post.
Meanwhile I wish you purposeful living!