Today’s (Monday) blog is a little late. The trip to and from Shenzen proved more taxing than I expected. Looking back I can say, the event went well, judging from the post presentation reactions.
The event itself was probably one of the most taxing in recent memory; whatever could go wrong did. And for those of you that give presentations, the audience in China is unlike any other. By Western standards, they can be quite rude and aggressive. As an example, take one of the ‘crises’ that happened to me. The electrical source gave out, as did my battery, despite all efforts by the organisers to prevent the crash.
So you had all these staff, in full view of the 1000-strong audience, scurrying around trying to get power back to my notebook. In the meantime, I took questions from the audience. One participant asked:”Is this a news conference or a lecture? Why don’t you get your computer fixed and take questions later?!”
Imagine the situation, I am stressed out thinking of ways I can show chart patterns without a computer in a room where a flip chart won’t work and this xxxxx berates me for not fixing the computer!
Later that night I wondered what had allowed me to keep my cool – especially since it was merely another problem on top of many. Sure experience had a lot to do with it but as I thought about it, I realized that experience was only a small part of the answer.
The answer lies in what the Greeks called: “Our Highest Purpose”. That’s not the only handle by which it has been known. The most recent description is Jim Loehr’s “The Premise of Your Story, The Purpose of Your Life”.
However you describe it, identifying your purpose, ensuring that it’s consistent with your core values is the key to your motivation when times get tough. To identify our PURPOSE, we use the eulogy method:
“If you were present at your funeral, what would you like to hear?”
Jim suggests other questions (Power of Story, 2007, Free Press):
- How do you want to be remembered?
- What is the legacy you want to leave?
- What makes my life worth living?
- What is worth dying for?
The questions require ‘big’ answers. “Because I want a new $5M house” just doesn’t cut it.
In my case, my life purpose is clear: “I want my life to touch others – to have made a difference to as many as possible”. Trading success, as much as I love it, is but a by-product that allows me to better achieve my life’s purpose.
In a sense, our Life’s Purpose is the standard by which we measure our actions. Actions that lead to the Purpose are to be followed; actions that lead away or detract from our Purpose, we abstain or curtail.
Having a conscious Life Purpose provides us with the incentive to do whatever it takes to succeed. The key word here is ‘conscious’. An unconscious purpose means we are living someone else’s. To quote Jim Loehr (page 88): “The manipulations in our lives are numerous…..But whether external influences on us are intentional or accidental, malicious or well-meaning…simply cannot happen unless we let them happen.”
So the choice is not whether we live by a Life Purpose but whether ours is consciously chosen.