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 next eight blog posts. I invite you to now reflect on the seventh aspect in the model of purposeful living– Responding (the dark green colour circle in the model). While this is the seventh circle, in real life it can happen anywhere in the nine circles, it’s not necessarily chronological. An opportunity received could make someone feel fully alive and of service to the world and this can make him/her reflect and find purpose.
This blog-post deals with responding to the opportunities provided to us from the universe. I use the word universe to describe the energy system, a higher power that makes this planet tick. Those who are religious would make sense of this higher power as God, Allah or the Almighty. Whatever we call this power, I feel we are not intelligent enough to understand this higher power and it requires faith or a brilliant scientific mind. I believe the opportunities can come our way or we can go looking for the opportunities.
Some of you reading this blog may believe that God will provide you the opportunities, if you live a purposeful life, based on a clear understanding for the reason for your being and supported by a set of noble values. Some of you reading this blog who understand the universal energy system and the larger inter-connected process of life we belong to, may believe that such opportunities may come our way due to the law of attraction. The law of attraction assumes that the universe recognises those who are ready to serve and provide them the opportunities relevant to their purpose. Some of you reading this blog may believe that you must keep looking for such opportunities and you discover such opportunities when you are fit to respond to them.
I have found my purpose a useful guiding light in some of my decisions. When I first discovered the notion of purpose 22 years ago, the first version of purpose that I articulated was related to becoming the best version of myself by helping others to be their best version. This resulted in me taking daily baby steps to improve my spirituality, intellect, health, relationships, finances and the use of time. As I was improving in all these areas, the opportunity of working with Omar Khan of Sensei International came my way, and I accepted it as I found it was in line with my purpose. I took the decision to move away from a top management position of John Keells Holdings to be in an arena related to my purpose despite the risk and uncertainty. Later when I was presented opportunities to play CEO roles of Agora Supermarkets and Apollo Hospital I accepted them as it helped me to learn the practical realities faced by those I guide in leading and developing people.
I accepted the opportunity to do my doctoral studies three years ago as I felt it will help me to sharpen my intellect in living my purpose. I realised the importance of the notion of ‘purpose’ in helping people be their best version and helping them be of service to this world, whilst going through the doctoral learning process. This resulted in my further fine-tuning my purpose which is summarised as; Contribute to a making this world a better place by sowing the seeds of purposefulness! I let go of two opportunities; one was a full-time role to guide the commander of a military hospital, and later to be a consultant of a leading leadership development consultancy in the world as I felt both these roles will stifle my freedom, flexibility and creativity to explore the notion of purpose and sow the seeds of purposefulness in the minds of hearts of others, to help make this world a better place. I am not sure if the courage to reject these lucrative offers had an impact in my receiving more corporate transformation and leadership development opportunities, which helps me sow the seeds of purpose
I recommend you use your ‘purpose’ statement to reflect on decisions you need to make when opportunities are presented. A first step would be to go back to some of the opportunities you had accepted or rejected in the past and reflect on how aligned those decisions were with your purpose.
In case you have not established your purpose statement, I suggest you visit the 14thblog post in this seriesthat suggests a process to articulate your purpose statement. Keep building yourself and be fit for purpose so that you can say ‘yes’ to opportunities presented to you. What is important is to be in the process, and be relatively unconcerned about the outcome, which is part of a larger plan that we may not be privy to.
In the next blog post, we will explore the bronze colour circle, ‘growing’ that explores aspects related to learning and growing with the struggles we face as we attempt to live a purposeful life.
Meanwhile I wish you purposeful living!