Mining for your Purpose

Posted by Mike Kaaks

09 January 2016

I was enjoying overlooking the beach at Scarborough having just watched (again!) the second of Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talks - the one about Purpose. He describes Purpose in terms of human resources and compares them to natural resources in so far as both of them being buried deep. You have to go looking for them he says; they are not lying around on the surface. And finally, he tells us that we have to create the circumstances where they show themselves. In the last point his message is similar to those of Joseph Jaworski, Scharmer, Tolle, and others about how we engage with the universe and how it engages with us.

I pondered this whilst taking in the magnificent ocean and azure sky and realised I had experienced exactly that path on the journey to understanding my Purpose. In 2003 I was selected to attend a corporate program learning how to coach others and how to teach others to coach. Without realising it, this was the beginning of mining my resources for Purpose.

In my experience, Robinson is spot on when he says you need to dig deep. I found a tool for the purpose that I still recommend regularly - Tim Kelley’s book True Purpose. I worked through his process, searching, digging for my Purpose, my deep reason for being. On completion I felt happy with what I had mined, describing my purpose as helping people in a work setting. Over the following weeks and months it percolated in my mind and heart creating a feeling that there must be more. It felt too glib. Don’t we all feel the importance of helping each other? Then I had an epiphany that changed how I define my coaching that in turn lead to a sharper view of my purpose.

What I saw was that when I’m at my best I’m helping people who are stuck. We become stuck in many ways and it’s not always a negative place. Sometimes it’s just about resolving a preference between two great opportunities from which only one can be taken. By following the person’s interest “my thing” is to help them unravel their thoughts and feelings so they can move forward with confidence and comfort. I’m comfortable saying that this is my purpose because there are few things in life that create the sense of connection and achievement that comes with getting someone un-stuck. Purpose is a wonderful thing to know about yourself. If you haven’t spent time on this topic, on the search for your purpose, I recommend you do. It doesn’t have to be rushed. From that coaching program I mentioned to the epiphany was about 8 years from working through True Purpose to the final expression of my purpose was about 2 years.

Knowing your purpose doesn’t mean it becomes the only thing you do, it’s more a guiding star from which you can chart the context for your life. Knowing it allows you to make sure that your ladder is up against the right wall. This is the path to a rich life where what you do leaves you feeling as I do marvelling at the magnificent Scarborough coastline.