PURPOSE: Reconnecting with your purpose
Rockwood's leadership programs are organized around a fundamental set of leadership practices that can serve as the basis for a lifetime of leadership growth.
This insight focuses on purpose -- the ability to live and lead from that which gives our life meaning.
There is a reason why purpose is the fundamental building block to our core leadership practices, and why its presence strengthens the foundation for the other practices. Vision, partnership, resourcefulness, and performance all follow: Your purpose is what gives your life, and your leadership, meaning.
It's as simple as that. But as simple as the concept, purpose can be elusive or overshadowed by the seemingly more pressing daily task list.
Today's leadership insight is to help you reconnect with your inner purpose, now.
1. Begin by asking yourself this question:
When was the last time you truly felt on purpose with that which gives your life and work meaning?
Take a moment and sink into that time. Notice how it felt to be on purpose. What was the quality of your energy, your focus? Really sit with that memory.
2. With that in mind, ask:
How much of your ordinary day is spent aligned with your inner sense of purpose? How much is not?
3. Now it's time to reinspire your purpose with creative solutions.
What would it take for you to be firmly aligned with your purpose? What support would you need?
As leaders, our ability to partner, inspire and align with others is crucial to our work, and the question of support is a meaningful one.
Imagine the impact on coworkers, your community, and your relationships if you were fully aligned with your purpose.
4. As in the beginning, you are your own guide in defining how best to bring your life closer to your purpose.
What is your next step?
The answer to this will be different for everyone. It may be taking a moment to go for a walk, to meditate, or to identify people who can partner with you.
What is missing that is needed to bring your leadership fully in line with your purpose?
What might you need to give up (from perspectives to old ways of working) in order to clear the way for living -- and leading -- from that which gives your life the most meaning?
- The Purpose Prize provides five awards of $100,000 and ten awards of $10,000 to people over 60 who are taking on society's biggest challenges. It's for those with the passion and creativity to discover new opportunities, the experience to come up with practical solutions, and the determination to make lasting change.
Rockwood Community Profile: Christina Desser on The Power of Connection
Philosopher and scientist Jacob Brownowski described the process of science--the process by which we gain empirical knowledge-- as that of decoding a "completely connected world." This decoding requires dividing that completely connected world into what is relevant and what is not relevant to the matter at hand in order to create a meaningful context for study. But this division, Bronowski says, does violence to the connections in the world.
We must always bear in mind that we are "certainly not going to get the world right, because the basic assumption that [we] have made about dividing the world into the relevant and irrelevant is in fact a lie." Thus, we must be careful of the actions we take as a result of our often necessary world-dividing activities.
The creative personality, according to Bronowski--whether an artist or a scientist or an activist--is "one that looks on the world as fit for change and on himself as an instrument for change." She understands that the world she paints or studies or acts on is but a fragment of a connected whole, and the integrity and truth of her creative act--her survival in fact, depends upon operating and acting within the truth of that connection. To the extent possible, then, our actions must arise out of an integral structure of consciousness, one that makes the connections we see, and bears in mind that there are certainly connections we are not yet aware of. If we return to a linear way of thinking, one ignores the completely connected world, as Brownowski warns, we will get it wrong. Alas, we frequently do.
I, and I think I can safely say, all of you, do look at the world as fit for change and ourselves as instruments of change. We seek an ever more just and sustainable society [and a more] fundamentally connected and relational way of thinking.
I recently read an observation by Nobel Prize winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel. His field is memory and how it works. He said, "It took us a year to realize what should have been obvious from the start: the cellular mechanics of learning and memory reside not in the special properties of the neuron itself, but in the connections it receives and makes with other cells in the neuronal circuit to which it belongs." Thus, memory only exists within a field of relationship. Solitary, disconnected neurons, isolated from the larger system of the brain, could not be the repositories of memory.
The idea of "The Commons" refers to all the things that we inherit and create jointly for universal use, and that we must protect for the benefit of generations to come. The Commons includes topsoil, biodiversity, the airwaves , roads, mathematics, the law, DNA, wisdom, languages, democracy, quiet, art, seeds, oceans, museums, blood banks, sidewalks, medicine, jazz, social insurance, the sun, the wind, rivers and jokes. Activist work as apparently diverse as defending the biological integrity and availability of potable water, organizing to keep the internet free public and WIFI publicly owned, and advocating for open access to information.
We are people engaged in the practical day-to-day work of social change, but there are critical moments, and needless to say, this is one, where it is wise to step back and consider our work in the most capacious context. Massive global change is upon us--the already felt impacts of global climate change; the depletion of global fisheries; increased desertification in Africa; and the surge in immigration activism in the US and Europe are but a few significant indicators.
How shall we respond?
Our success now, requires that our efforts emanate from a completely connected, integrative consciousness, and must be directed towards the preservation and enhancement of a completely connected world.
We open the conversation to you.
>> SHARE YOUR VIEWS WITH US.
CHRISTINA DESSER is a fellow of the Tomales Bay
Institute, a think tank focused on developing the concept of The Commons as an
overarching analytical structure organizing across sectors and disciplines. She
served on the California Coastal
Commission and the San Francisco Commission
for the Environment. In 2003, she co-founded Women's
Voices, Women Vote, a
project that successfully increased the participation of single women in the
electoral process. Chris was the director of the Funder's Working Group on New
Technology, an association of foundations concerned with the environmental,
cultural and political implications of emerging technologies such as
biotechnology, nanotechnology. She was co-editor of Living with the Genie--Technology and the Quest for Human Mastery (Island
Press, 2003). Chris has practiced
environmental law has served on the boards of many companies, foundations and
progressive non-profits including Women Donors
Network, The Rockwood Leadership
Program, Patagonia, Mother Jones
and theRainforest Action Network.