I love desserts. From pastries to cakes, cookies to ice-cream, I just love the way the flavours come together. Desserts have common ingredients such as flour, sugar and eggs. These ingredients on their own may not be as useful, but when a chef skillfully blends them together, you get tantalising flavours that leave you wanting more.
So it is with living and thriving. We all desire to be “successful” in our lives. Like the chef who brings together the ingredients to make the dessert, I believe there are three key ingredients needed for us to be living and thriving: (1) purpose (2) values (3) vision.
Purpose is the reason for your existence. It answers the “why” question. Values are the beliefs you hold-on deep inside you. It tells you “how” you will behave. Vision is the desired future state you would like to be in. It tells you “where” you are heading. My limited vocabulary does not do justice to these three words. Therefore, regard them as working definitions that you can refine and enhance along the way.
Mark Twain said:
"The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why."
When I (re)invigorated Invigorate Consulting two years ago, I asked myself "WHY”. Not so much “what” would make us different from others (though it is important), but the question was internally directed. Until I had the clarity of purpose, everything else would be superficial. It would be like King Solomon who described it as “chasing after the wind” (which is meaningless!).
Our Purpose Statement (Invigorate Consulting):
We seek to connect people and organisations to their purpose. We create value by enabling people and organisations to be the preferred Employer of Choice, Provider of Choice, Investment of Choice and Citizen of Choice.
Clarity of purpose enables you to have creativity in strategy. Between purpose and strategy, therein lies values and vision. At Invigorate, our values remind us how we will behave. It serves as a plumbline when we are tempted to deviate off tangent. When we are faced with challenging situations, what will we do? Our vision continues to drive us forward as we extend our influence and grow our firm one client at a time.
Purpose, Values and Vision are not mutually exclusive. Infact, they interact regularly with one another. For the purposes of our discussion, I will group Purpose and Values (which are more innate in nature) together while Vision remains as a factor on its own - the truth is a two-by-two matrix is easier to explain!
How do these intersect?
Aimless - no clarity of purpose, values and vision
We merely exist when we have no clarity of purpose, values or vision. Some eat to live, others live to eat. The latter is merely the motion of things everyday. There is no fulfillment, joy or excitement in what they do. It can be summed up as a meaningless routine.
I am sure we all know someone or know of someone here. We may even have been there ourselves! What can we do?
Here are some steps to consider:
- Speak to someone about it. Tell them where you’re at and how you feel. Do not be afraid. You’re not alone.
- Spend time reflecting and journaling your inner thoughts. Think about what brings you inner joy, contentment and fulfillment. Write your thoughts down and see if there’s a pattern forming. That’ll give you clues to discovering your purpose, values and vision.
- Commit yourself to action. Do something about it. Don’t wallow in self-pity. Be accountable to someone who can help journey with you - a family member, close friend, colleague at work, someone you can trust.
Burnout - clear vision, but no purpose and values
People in this category are characterised by their diligence and hard work. The strong drive by vision and the lack of values may lead to compromises in behaviour (using the end to justify the means). Driven by vision without purpose could also lead to burnout - overworked at consistently high levels of intensity.
What can be done to overcome this?
- Take regular pauses to reflect and ask “why”. Spend a few days at a retreat to ask the “why” and “how” questions. Be honest in asking the difficult questions. Share your journey with someone you can trust. Slow down to speed up. It may appear that you are slowing down, but with clarity of purpose and values, it will fuel your desire to achieve your vision.
- Write down your purpose statement and share it with someone. Listen to their first impressions. Watch their reaction. Does it sound like you? Be bold to make changes and build new milestones.
- Read books and other relevant materials that describe how others have discovered their purpose and how they are living it everyday. Sometimes, we need to be inspired by someone other than ourselves.
Wanderer - clarity of purpose and values, but no vision
A wanderer is someone who is a daydreamer. Someone who has clarity of purpose and values, but not purposeful. They are passionate about what they do. Guided by clear values. But, they don’t have a vision to move them forward. The lack of vision can be frustrating as it leads to “chasing your own tail”. There is no sense of direction and probably lack of accomplishments. Overtime, this will result in delusion and degrade towards merely existing / burnout.
Some ways to overcome this:
- Review the current state. What areas can be made better? What are you discontented with at the moment? Revisit your purpose statement. How are your actions aligned with it?
- Develop a vision for the future. Articulate the future desired state. Describe what that success will look like. Translate purpose into outcome statements.
- Craft a vision statement and share it with your trusted friends and family. Allow time to digest and appreciate how the vision statement is aligned to your purpose and values.
Living and Thriving - clarity of purpose, values and vision
People in this quadrant are purposeful in their living. They thrive on what they do. They exuberate joy, fulfillment and contentment. They are energised when they see their purpose, values and vision coming together. Resilience is seen and passion is evidenced in the tenacity to pursue purpose, values and vision.
Their behaviour is consistent. They are focused and stay focused. Not easily distracted by things around them. Constantly looking for opportunities to learn and grow.
Not many live here but we all strive to work our way there. Some things we can consider:
- Build guardrails. Be mindful about temptations and distractions that may come. Anticipate these challenges.
- Surround yourself with like minded people. Be accountable to others. Have a support group that sharpens you. Stay away from unhealthy (not helpful) relationships.
- Bring others on this journey with you. Be a purposeful leader. Seek to multiply your influence and serve others. Invest time and energy into developing and inspiring others.
Where do you see yourself? Whichever quadrant you see yourself in, the idea is for you to be purposeful and intentional about moving forward towards Living and Thriving. We all want to be there and we must be willing to move ourselves towards that direction. Remember the compounding effects of our actions. Start small. Every step counts!
Getting there (Living and Thriving) is not good enough, we want to remain there. To do that, we need a community of people around us. While it can be lonely at the top, we can be intentional about bringing others along with us. Engage others!
Remember, it’s a journey and not a destination. It is an exciting journey. A journey that is full of surprises and challenges, yet a journey that is fulfilling and satisfying when we have clarity around Purpose, Values and Vision.
Wow! What a refreshing article! Eager for more enlightening content? Check out these articles which can further whet your journey in finding your purpose, vision, and values:
Still keen on knowing more? Take a look at this video from our very own channel that talks about the value of 'Relationships':