There they were… 220 expectant eyes. Like laser beams, they locked on us. “Who I’m I?” This was the topic my wife and I were to speak on. And we had less than two hours.
It was a meeting with young adults. Their anticipation was palpable. They all seemed keen to unveil their identity. After the talk, some held us back for one-on-one conversation with us. Yet, others sent us detailed email messages about their struggle with identity. All this transported me back to a treasured memory…
One Saturday morning, my then 4-yr old son and I woke up before the girls – my wife and two daughters – did. We quietly sneaked out of the house. The boys were out on a secret mission… We headed to the store for some bread, milk and eggs.
This mission wasn’t accidental. As a leader, I seek opportunities to grow other people. I knew that by purposefully spending time with my son, it added meaning to his life. We got to talk, just be boys, and finally, we filled our stomachs with breakfast we cooked together.
We connected, and to him, we were heroes. I had sown in him a seed… the purpose of service. Did I mention the accolades and kisses we got from the girls when they woke up to a delicious breakfast?
Looking back at the meeting, it was apparent to us how stripped of purpose these young adults were. This new opportunity to help them find their purpose excited me! Above all, we explored three critical building blocks with them: Time, Chance and Potential.
We all have time. The question is what we fill it with. For many of us, activity has become synonymous to progress. When we seek our purpose, however, we reconnect with our identity. But even more urgent, we create space to grow others. When I was younger, I craved for someone older to walk life with me. But most candidates were too busy with their work, businesses or families.
Time is a luxury that is unrecoverable when lost. The young adults we were speaking to would have been at a poolside. But here they were in a sweltering hot room. Their sole purpose was to spend time to reconnect something invaluable: their identity.
Time is the only resource all of us receive in equal measure. Every day you don’t live your purpose is forever lost. We all get 1,440 minutes every day. How much of that is your purpose?
The second key to finding purpose is chance; the space to activate your life. This chance shows up everyday and anywhere. It could be in a friend, a book, a motivational video. What is important is that you have to seek that chance to find your purpose.
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how,” Friedrich Nietzsche says. Seeking is about activating your why. I could tell from the faces of the young men and women in front of me that they were ravenous. Hungry for the naked truth. It occurred to me that my wife and I were catalysts to something way bigger than ourselves.
Then a chilling thought crossed my mind. What if we hadn’t embraced the chance to pour into other lives? Leadership is about taking chances you get and amplifying them through authentic living
The USS Nimitz, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, stretches 330 meters long and 4.5 acres of flight deck. Yet the 100,846-ton flat top can sail in excess of 55 kilometers per hour. And that’s not all… The Nimitz can travel 1.6 million kilometers on a single tank of gas!
But one thing the Nimitz can’t do is to turn on a coin. If a man fell overboard, the ship would need 2 to 3 kilometers before it could even begin to execute a 180-degree turn.
The young adults reminded me of the Nimitz. They have an immense inherent ability and energy waiting to blossom. Yet most feel lost, undesired or incapable of changing course. They search for purpose, crying out for leaders to guide them into leadership. It is purpose that we who lead need to help them to discover.
Free yourself from the complexities and drama of your life. Simplify. Look within. Within ourselves we all have the gifts and talents we need to fulfill the purpose we’ve been blessed with.” ~Steve Maraboli
Without purpose, I will just exist. But with purpose, I thrive! I know the reason for which I was created. In my next post, we will explore how I found my purpose.
Q: Are you struggling to find your purpose? If you know your purpose, what is stopping you from living it? Have your say by clicking here.