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Blog #13: Some Meta Thinking About Purpose

photo by maria reyes-mcdavies, via flickr creative commons

photo by maria reyes-mcdavies, via flickr creative commons

In the “purpose” section of my wellfesto, I share my belief that we become what we do all day long.  If you agree with this, you’ll likely also agree that it’s damn important to shift our time balance away from things that feel misaligned with who we are and what we care about and toward things that feel well-aligned.  As I shared when I launched it, that’s one of the reasons I’m writing this blog – to spend more time each day thinking and writing about what matters to me (health + wellness).  And since purpose is foundational to health, I’m both experimenting with it and creating/reinforcing my own purpose as I write (super deep, huh).

I’ve only been at this for a few weeks (this is entry #13), but I have already learned a lot through this simple daily practice of writing for 20-60 minutes (some topics take longer than others):

  • I like work/life integration rather than work/life separation.  And the more my time balance shifts toward purpose alignment, the easier this integration is
  • Public commitments work.  Even if they’re only to your partner or your mom or a few close friends, it’s easier to push through lulls when you’ve committed to something specific out loud
  • Purpose is actively refined and created, not passively (or luckily) found. Actively doing/trying/failing/succeeding works better than waiting for an life-changing “aha” moment to hit you in the shower on a random Tuesday morning
  • It’s OK to find your voice out loud.  This is my first regular blog, and I’m admittedly testing out what I want to write about and how I want to put my ideas out into the public domain.  I’ve been surprised by how much being in an experimental/prototyping frame of mind has freed me from fear of failure/looking stupid/etc.
  • Narrowing audience can increase impact.  I’m now writing this blog for the everyday person (as broad as it gets).  It’s obviously easier to give suggestions to a narrower audience — focusing on men or women or college kids or baby boomers or parents (my early-career PR training taught me something).  Writing and talking to people about this blog has reinforced this, and as I hone my voice, I’m also working through who exactly I’m best equipped to speak to.  I’d love to hear any thoughts about this

In short, writing has proved to be super helpful for me as I refine/reimagine my mission in the world.   A friend sent me a Harvard Business Review article yesterday (thanks, T) that validated the impact of blogging as a way to clarify and spread ideas – it’s worth a read if you’re interested in the topic.  Whether writing or working or talking or some other practice helps you move closer to purpose, I urge you to make a commitment to do it regularly.  In an article I read a few months ago, management thinker Umair Haque made the point that “finding your purpose is not a phase of life – but a way of living.”  I couldn’t agree more.  I’d love to hear how this resonates with you.  How are you living, and what changes might you make to leave more room for exploration?  What specific practices help you ensure your days reflect who you are and what you care about?

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