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After interviewing 26 women for Wisdom Exchange TV, a web-enabled platform, I am compelled to delve into the fire in their belly that motivates these women to be a trailblazer in their field of expertise. In pursuit of purpose is my quest of sharing the insights of successful women, I continuously ask them one question: “Are you conducting your purpose?”
Pursuit of Purpose defined
Purpose as defined by the oxford dictionary is “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists; A person’s sense of resolve or determination.”
The change agents of Africa responses are unanimous – “YES I am conducting my purpose.” Note the word “my” purpose. Not my mother’s, fathers or societies’ purpose, but “mine.” That is the thing about purpose; it belongs to you and only you. Therefore, only you can determine what it is and how to act on it.
Purpose of Wisdom Exchange TV
Another question I often ask the guests on Wisdom Exchange TV is “What do you wish you were told at ten years of age?” At least half of the leading ladies I have interviewed said: “that I can achieve anything I want to achieve.” Or “I can be anything I want to be.” This is a message for all mothers and fathers, please take note, these women who are changing society and investing in communities and their country through their vision and dedication did not say “they wish they could be exactly what my parents or society wanted me to be.”
We all have our own path, and it may take some time to explore it. We need to sit with it and allow it to resonate with us. When we find it, work never feels like work; and possibilities never feel obstructed. Finding this nirvana, this place of purpose, is pursued by us all. Some of us don’t achieve it because we become complacent, sometimes the obstacles are just too big to overcome, or we just don’t have the roadmap to know how to pursue such an important task.
In your quest for your purpose there are some technique that can assist. Where do you start? Well it is key to always start with yourself and your successes.
- When do you feel most alive, energetic, fulfilled?
- What am I already achieving in my life?”
- What do I want to achieve?”
- What is my shining?” – meaning where am I at my best?
- What are my strengths and gifts?
- Where have I used them?
- Which strengths come easy to me?
- Which strengths do enjoy developing?
- Which strengths do I use over and over again? (You can reflect on situations in your childhood as well as an adult)
- Do I see a pattern of my strengths?
- Which strengths inspire me?
- How did I feel when I used them?
- How can I use them more often?
- What do I want?
- What do I value?
- What values do I demonstrating when I am deeply engaged?
- What is most important for me?
- What would it take to make me i.e. calmer, resourceful, respectful…?
- In an ideal world, what would I like my world to look like?
- What would make me most proud to achieve?
- How committed am I to this purpose, task, initiative from 1 – 10?
- What would make me more committed?”
The questions you can ask yourself are endless about your strengths, values and purpose. The goal is to increase your ‘awareness.’ Only through awareness can you consciously make decisions.
Dawna Markova’s LIVE acronym provides good direction for exploring your purpose; by identifying four key questions to ask when consider your purpose:
L stands for “What do I love?”
I stands for “What are my inner gifts and talents?”
V stands for “What do I value?”
E stands for “What are the environments that bring out the best in me?”
These questions should ignite reflection in you. I recall sitting in a chalet in western Canada in my late twenties and asking myself many of these questions. The result was inspiring and educating women through the spoken word while working with women in leadership.
Although I started down that path I quickly realized that I did not have the capacity to offer the insight that was needed. So I learnt it. I invested in myself. For many that would have been more formal education. For me, it was to find a job that could teach me the techniques to be an influential speaker and provide me with a platform to develop leadership skills.
Once I had the knowledge then I had to learn how to actually live to my potential by getting uncomfortable and taking some risks. Thus I created a training and development company. Although successful, what I believed to be my true purpose was celebrating women leaders and inspiring others to push their edge to personal and professional potential with the goal of finding their god given purpose. That goal would only be realized by taking my boldest action – selling most of what I own, reduce my salary to the bare minimum and travelling to a continent where there are many trailblazers who live their passion regardless of their circumstances and societies expectations of them – Africa.
Action you can take in your pursuit of purpose:
Schedule time over the next couple weeks to sit and reflect and ask yourself “What am I doing when I feel most fulfilled?” and “What are the strengths and values that I possess when I am doing that activity.” Here you will be on your way to discovering how to optimize a purposeful life.
Some other resources that you may find interesting:
YouMeWe Foundation – Leadership, Advocacy, Education – following donations to scholarships for women in developing countries
Wisdom Exchange TV – A forum where women will be inspired from the achievements of African women in business, education, philanthropy and politics.
You Me & We – igniting leaders and entrepreneurs to consciouslycontribute™