The other day, I had to drop something off at a friend's house. This is a house I have been to many, many times. It is literally 5 minutes from my house, yet it took me 20 minutes to reach the destination. Why? My mind was on autopilot and I found myself missing the street, repeatedly. Later, when I realized this, the above scene from European Vacation came to mind. After I had a chuckle at my own expense, I wondered why this happened.
Do you ever find yourself running on auto pilot? Cruising through life, just to get through life? I do. Often times, when this happens, I need to ask myself: "What is my purpose? In work, in my family, in life." This was one of those days.
The first book that I read in my Ed. Leadership program was Drive by Daniel Pink.
In Drive, he discusses the 3 driving factors of motivation: Purpose, Mastery and Autonomy. This post will focus on the first one. I feel without purpose, I, myself, am just driving around in circles.
I know that we all have a purpose, but how often do we actually think about it? I find that when I reflect on this, it helps me focus. It refocuses my thoughts, my actions, my interactions.
I have done an activity with a few different groups, about this very idea. It is based on Daniel Pink's video: What's you sentence.
After viewing the above video, I ask participants to think about why they do what they do (personally or professionally). What gets them up in the morning? I then ask them to write it out in a 6 word memoir. This is a personal purpose statement in 6 words...no more, no less. The word requirement really helps to synthesize and dig deep. At this point, I often see a lot of discomfort and some frustration. But I explain that they should not be afraid of that discomfort, to own it and come up with those 6 words that describe them, their core.
I show them my 6 word memoir and explain that I have it above my desk and that it is what I look to on those days; when I am either on auto pilot, spinning in circles or in those times of self doubt. I read it to myself and then I reflect...have I been driving on that path or have I followed a detour? How do I get back on that course, if needed? These 6 little words, have had a lot of power in my own life.
My 6 word memoir:
Someone who inspires, motivates and encourages.
These 6 little words are what guide me in all of my interactions. I believe that words have power, they must be chosen carefully. Are my thoughts, words, actions helping to INSPIRE, MOTIVATE or ENCOURAGE? If not, it's time for correction. It is my personal check list, to keep MYSELF in check. I have also tasked those with whom I have shared this: if they see me not living up to this; please call me out. A wake up call is probably needed!
So I ask you...what is your purpose? Why do you get up in the morning? What are your 6 words? Feel free to share them in the comment section, below. It just might spark something in someone else. That is why I share this, and I share it often.
Mother, teacher, TOSA, GCE Level 1 & 2, Encourager of others.
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