Ever experience a hypnic jerk, of course you have, we all have. A hypnic jerk is a brief and sudden involuntary contraction of the muscles of the body which occurs when one is usually beginning to fall asleep, often causing you to jump and awaken suddenly for a moment or sometimes during sleep.
Similarly in life, we tend to get a brief jerk, a quick, sudden awakening of what is important to you much like the hypnic jerk, I see it as a restart button, a refresher and reflection point of where we are headed.
Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to reflect, take stock and truly look at what is important to me and what’s the continued direction I choose to take for my life. ‘Purpose is the reason you journey, passion is the fire that lights the way’, this quote encompasses the meaning to my reflection.
When you do something with purpose, you do it with determination. When your activities have a purpose, you have an aim or intention in mind. This noun also has a third meaning, ‘function, role or use’, so when you have a purpose you have a key function or role to play.
Over the past 6 months I have experienced an inflection point, one of looking at what I have achieved in my life, how much I have grown and what I would want to continue to achieve, grow and learn, and more importantly being able to add value, shape and have a bigger purpose. This means being more versatile, breaking out from our comfort zone and testing yourself in being able to expand your horizons, skills and know that you are able to take on anything life throws at you.
Why is having a sense of purpose so important? Sense of purpose (or meaning) is the motivation that drives you toward a satisfying future. It also helps you get the most from the things you do and achieve – large and small, right now and in the future. A sense if purpose helps you live by those values.
My change in work environments was one of these points, to test my abilities and skills and to have a real purpose, yes I can continue to achieve success in the same work environments and exceeding in achieving goals in a similar structure, just with different challenges, or I could challenge myself to a totally different environment with greater purpose, one that is fulfilling but purpose driven and that aligns to your values. This is critical, aligning your values to your work space, your family space and your friends is important.
Try what you may if this is not aligned, then everything else will be misaligned. Your priorities in life are important and don’t let anything come in the way of that, have a laser focus. Purpose makes you live with integrity. Knowing your purpose in life helps you live with honour. People who know their purpose in life know who they are, what they are and why they are. And when you know yourself, it becomes easier to live a life that’s true to your core values.
If I relate it to business, a clear purpose gives motivation to people, clarity to strategy and clear branding for marketing. If we are honest with most companies and ourselves the purpose easily devolves into meaning monthly and annual targets, but it’s NOT. It goes beyond this and many companies don’t fully grasp this, its about empowering others, truly growing others, challenging them to be the best version of themselves, sometimes they don’t see it immediately as its hard work but they will see it further down the line. The purpose describes why we are pursuing our goals, for a far greater vision.
Excellent leaders build a sense of inclusiveness, a sense of working as an organisation, by creating a common purpose. A place where people know what to do and why and understand what the organisation stands for, that is what I live by, and constantly aim to instil as a leader.
Another one of these points is understanding my insatiable hunger for knowledge and my thirst for learning and sharing information, is due to my belief in staying ever curious, its because knowledge is power. My intention for doing my PhD is not for the title, but rather for being able to deep dive into understanding a key challenge, finding a solution to it and having a purpose to do so by adding to and contributing to literature, this is purpose. Making a difference to a body of work that you can contribute to has a purpose.
My love for traveling coincides with this point on staying ever curious, as I believe that travel is like knowledge, the more you see the more you know you haven’t seen. I think of the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: ‘ The purpose of life is to live it, to taste, experience it to the utmost to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience’, this is life, rich experiences that make you grow.
As I closed off one decade and continue to pursue the next, as authentic and empowered as I am, I push on with aligning my values and my journey to intention and purpose. Everything in life has its purpose and meaning, when you know what your purpose is, it makes your direction easier, knowing that makes life meaningful. The purpose of life is not to only be happy, it is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have values, to have it make a difference that you have lived and lived well.