Don’t ask yourself what the world needs – ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
Harold Thurman Whitman
How many people are you following – on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or any other platform? How many people are following YOU?! We know it’s ultimately transient, but it’s hard not to set some store on this measure of success.
Who or what you follow defines you. Will Pooley has something to say about who or what we choose to follow.
In 2014, as the Ebola virus began to devastate Sierra Leone, Will Pooley travelled to work at a hospice in the capital, Freetown. Ebola has fearsome symptoms – high fever and massive internal bleeding. It kills as many as 90% of people it infects. Pooley went straight to the epicentre to help, but became infected himself.
He was flown back to the UK, where he recovered. However, he made the headlines again when he immediately flew back to Sierra Leone to carry on the same gruelling work.
His parents were asked why their son would return and how they cope. Surprisingly, they didn’t express worry, but rather pride that Will had found something he loved that made such a difference. ‘If he was here he would tell you that he was made to do it.’ Will followed his calling.
Many people feel they are ‘made to do’ jobs they don’t enjoy or value. Here is a man choosing to do a job that could cost him his life.
Are you ‘made to do it’ because of the demands of your boss or your bank balance … or are you ‘made to do it’ because that is who you are?
Find out what you are made to do. Follow your calling.
LIFE VISION, VALUES & GOALS
Most of us will admit that, at times, life can be overtaken by the irrelevant or trivial. The unimportant can be very noisy and loom large, and the most important may be quiet and invisible. If this becomes the norm, the alarm bells should be ringing.
Significant events in our lives – new stages of life, new experiences, tragedies, love, loss – can stir us to re-evaluate our lives, even if only momentarily. We shouldn’t, however, rely on crises to provoke self-examination.
Socrates said, ‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’
What is your purpose? What is your aim?
Everyone lives for something. For what are you living? We have asked hundreds of leaders what their life purpose is, and surprisingly few can immediately answer.
If you don’t know the answer to this question, why are you embarking on any other leadership journey? You may be progressing toward your work vision, but how do you know in terms of your wider life whether you are travelling in the right direction?
Check that you are not like the person who has climbed to the top of the ladder only to discover it was leaning against the wrong building.
Clarity about purpose and direction enables an integrated approach to the whole of life – private, public and professional.
What are you ‘made to do’?
Life Vision, Values & Goals is one of the 50 models to be found in my new book, LEAD: 50 models for success in work & life co-authored with my friends John Greenway and Andy Blacknell. It is published by Capstone, part of Wiley Publishing. You can buy the book here. Free resources are available here.
Illustration: Visual Thinkery