The story of Peter Norman, 1964 Mexico City Olympics, captured both my heart and imagination. All his years of training, commitment, sacrifice and discovery led him to that one moment, that changed his life forever. Definitely not a fairy tale, the rest of his life was spent not in the glory of winning that silver medal but, a lone soldier, for his determined stand against racism. I cannot imagine how he must have felt, perhaps torned, contradicted, determined, peaceful or even regret (and I am sure, he must have stood against the pressures of the world, family, friends) because of that singular moment. We have always been painted of an image that once you fortunate enough to discover and live your PURPOSE, it’s a happily every after, however, this story showcased the struggle, the determination, the solitude, the resilience, the burden, that is needed in LIVING YOUR PURPOSE. It made me cry when I read the article shared by Mel Leow on his LinkedIn post.
Now the QUESTION of the day, WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE? How do you discover it? How do you know how far away are you from your purpose? At what stage are you with this question? Discovery? Work in progress? Living it? Is it a moving target for you? There are many dynamics here to this tumultuous question. Some dabble in it, some decide that it’s too much work, some say it’s just hogwash, few are serious enough to give it some commitment, and a handful are truly living it.
In the context of the client, how can we as coaches, enable the client/coachee to discover their purpose, so that they can take that next steps in growth, contribution and living life to its fullest. Here, what is being offered is a chance, an opportunity, a coaching moment for the client to realize his/her full potential, perhaps reach for that higher, bigger self in being part of this entire universe. It is the WHY!
Essentially, work on the following areas with the client, and it will shed some light into the direction of purpose. Check for patterns, behaviours that could be contributing both positively or negatively to the situation.
- What does the client create? What does the client stand for? Are they creating something tangible or something intangible? How do they see creating? What is the identity that the client encapsulates here?
- Listen actively for the words used, look out for non-verbal cues, and seemingly politically correct responses. Sometimes passion can be confused with purpose.
- What does the client invest resources in? How do they invest these resources? Intentionally? Ad-hoc basis? Do they invest for current or for the future? Is it a whimsical moment? or serious commitment?
- Check for weightage, or the quantums that the client is putting forth. Question for means, look for points of hesitations and ‘excuses’.
- Plan weekly, act daily. Time spent makes progress. Is this intentional or accidental? Is this already a work in progress or still an ideal?
- What areas that could be better spent? What are some time derailers that could cause frustation?
- Care is an emotional context, and it leads to show what you are passionate about. PURPOSE is the WHY behind that care, that passion. Purpose is the foundation that drives that passion. Purpose makes it worth the while, in this lifetime or next.
Now that we are on our way to establishing what and how we are working on the various elements of imagination, resources, time, commitment and care, let’s go deeper in finding that balance between our passion, purpose, needs, and drivers.
One method is using the Japanese concept of Ikigai. It helps you to ensure that you have a sustainable lifestyle, enjoy what you do, be great at what you do, and help to position your work in the worldly context.
The bells in my head were ringing so hard, I thought I was in Notre Dame on Christmas Day! In the last couple of years, I was working on 3 different pillars that would determine the next adventure in my life, having experimented, gone through tough learnings, cash strapped, emotionally drained, physically & emotionally exhausted, and with the turn of events in 2020, it was crystal clear. I had to let something go.
Hence, in a coaching journey, the client who is facing such a decision, can use Ikigai in making empowered and enabled choices that will help to him/her find their centre, their purpose. Of course, it’s a journey. We will all be in different phases, what are willing to let go for that balance, that sweet spot of success, that Ikigai.
So, what’s your Ikigai?