Living life on Purpose
How to get more of what you want in your life
By Gerry Murray
Founder & CEO of Wide Circle
Ever woke up in the morning and said to yourself “I’ll be glad when this one’s over!” or been in a meeting thinking “I don’t see the point of this discussion!” or pondering “If it wasn’t for the kids and the mortgage, I’d be doing something else” and then wondering what that something else would be!
Many believe that we’re reaching a crisis point in Western society as our focus on materialism over several decades has left us lacking any true sense of purpose. As we go from one corporate scandal to another; one war to another; one uprising to another and the future of our planet seems increasingly uncertain, people everywhere are starting to look for more meaning and purpose in their life. You might have gone to college wanting to change the world but today cannot remember what it was you wanted to change or be able to connect with that same drive and energy.
Choices, choices, choices
The inevitable question arises: ‘How do I go about finding or regaining my purpose in life?
’ This is not an easy task for most of us because we are rarely taught how to do this for ourselves. In fact, certain terms prevalent in the workplace make it difficult for us. ‘Work-life balance
’ is one such term. Recently, I heard someone talk enthusiastically about ‘work-life integration’
, as those who lead organizations seek to find ways to leverage our constant online presence. If you flip these two terms you’ll discover you can alter their meaning. Try on ‘life-work balance
’ or ‘life-work integration
’ and notice how this alters your perspective. Your job and your career remain intact and your sense of what’s important shifts.
Learning how to navigate the increasing changes in our lives comes down to the choices we make. In her latest book <<The Shift: The Future of Work is Already Here>>
, London Business School Professor Lynda Gratton says that we will need to actively make wise decisions and be able to face up to the consequences of these choices. Making decisions and wise choices is easier when we have a clear sense of purpose in our lives.
Connecting with your purpose
Exercise and practice are essential when we want to develop new skills. Sports people, musicians and artists all know this. Professionals, craftsmen and experts know this. Having a toolbox to help us gives us more choice and with greater choice comes greater freedom. So tools, or exercises, serve to increase our awareness and teach us how to take responsibility for getting more of what we want.
The following exercise
is an effective way to connect with your sense of purpose. It’s useful for exploring an area of personal development and you can easily test it out for yourself and notice what happens. You are guaranteed to always get some fresh insights. It can be applied to a whole range of self-development areas and we’re going to use it now in a specific context.
You can also download an audio version of the exercise to an iPod or MP3 player if you prefer to be guided through it step by step. There are also some additional sheets and guidelines so you can lay the exercise out on the ground. Here is the link
Neurological Level Alignment
This is a powerful exercise to build your resources and congruence. It is best done with a guide who can talk you through the process. You can of course do the exercise in your head or on a piece of paper. However, it works best when you do it physically. Ideally, you need to allow 20-30 minutes of quiet time to complete it.
separate what you do from who you are. You are not your behavior.
Doing the exercise
First, print out the six sheets of paper and download the audio file to a portable device.
Think of a difficult situation where you would like to have more choice, where you suspect you are not using all of your personal resources, where you are not completely ‘yourself’. You can also use this for a situation where you’re doing something that somehow you used to enjoy and no longer get the same level of satisfaction – a situation in which you want to make sure you engage all your resources.
Find a space where you can easily stand and take five steps backward.
Lay out the six sheets on the floor in the following order:
4. Beliefs & Values
6. Beyond Identity
As you will walk backwards in the first part of the exercise, begin by standing at the Environment sheet with the others behind you.
Start exploring the environment
where you typically experience the problem. For example, at home or the office.
• Describe your surroundings
• Where are you?
• Who is around you?
• What do you notice particularly about this environment?
Take a step backward. Now you are on the behavior
• What specifically are you doing when you have this problem?
• Think about your movements, actions and thoughts.
• Pay attention to any inner dialogue that you typically have.
• How does your behavior fit into the environment?
Take another step backward. Now you are on the capability
level. Think about your skills. In this situation you are only expressing a fraction of them.
• What skills do you have in your life?
• What mental strategies do you have?
• What is the quality of your thinking?
• What communication and relational skills do you have?
• Think of your skills of rapport, outcome and creative thinking.
• What qualities do you have that serve you well?
• What do you do well in any context?
Take another step back. Now you are on the next level. Reflect on your beliefs and values.
• What is important to you?
• What do you find worthwhile about what you do?
• What empowering beliefs do you have about yourself?
• What empowering beliefs do you have about others?
• What principles do you strive to act on?
Take a step back again and think about your unique personality and identity. Remember, you are not what you do or what you believe.
• What is your mission in life?
• What sort of person are you?
• Get a sense of yourself and what you want to accomplish in the world.
• Express this with a metaphor – what symbol or idea comes to mind that seems to express your identity as a person? Use the phrase: “I am like…”
Take a final step backwards.
Think about how you’re connected to all other living beings and whatever you believe is beyond your life.
Some people call this the spiritual realm. Spiritual should not be confused with religious beliefs. It can also be a personal philosophy that you have.
Take as much time as you need to get a sense of what this means to you and connect with it. At the very least, this is about how you, as a unique person, connect with others. What metaphor or symbol would best express this feeling?
Now, with this sense of connectedness, you can build a resource anchor
for yourself. An easy way to do this is to squeeze your thumb and one of your fingers together at the moment when the feeling is most intense.
Keep squeezing your finger and thumb and take this enhanced sense of who you are and who can be, with the metaphor and physiology that expresses it, and step forward to the level of identity. Reconsider these questions:
• What is your mission in life?
• What sort of person are you?
• How would you enrich your metaphor or symbol of yourself?
When you’re ready, step forward again to the level of your beliefs and values
. Keep the resource anchor and physiology of the Identity level as you do this and consider these questions:
• What is important now?
• What do you believe now?
• What do you want to be important?
• What do you want to believe?
• What beliefs and values express your identity?
Keep the resource anchor and take this new sense of your beliefs and values and step forward to the capability
level, keeping the previous physiology from the beliefs and values level.
• How are your skills transformed and intensified with the greater depth?
• How can you use your skills in the best possible way?
Keep the anchor and physiology of the capability level and step forward to the behavior
• How can you act to express the alignment you feel?
Finally, keeping the anchor, step forward into your real present environment
• How is it different when you bring these levels of yourself to it?
• Notice how you feel differently about where you are with this greater depth and clarity from your values, purpose and sense of connectedness.
Know that if you were to bring all of this to the problem situation, it would change. How do you now feel connected to your sense of purpose?
Each year Gerry Murray takes groups of people through a structured process so they can learn how to connect with their purpose and make better choices.
Join us in January 2013 for “The Courage to Choose” when he will take you through this process and demonstrate the power of tools like this in action.
Gerry Murray is Founder & CEO of Wide Circle, a consultancy that works with leaders in organizations to enable them to bring out the best in their people so they can consistently perform well. They do this by providing services in three integrated areas: Communication, Learning & Change.
Prior to founding Wide Circle in 2003, Gerry spent nine years at the world headquarters of DHL holding a variety of global roles in marketing, strategic planning, finance, investor relations, corporate communications and change. His early commercial experience was gained in sales and marketing management in the publishing & training industry.
Gerry has a BA in French & Linguistics from University College Dublin, an MBA from Manchester Business School and a diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, where he also holds the status of Chartered Marketer.
Passionate about learning and personal development, Gerry runs NLP Coaching Practitioner and Master Coaching Practitioner trainings in the Benelux and UK and organizes a regular NLP Practice group in Belgium called NLP-in-Brussels. He is a certified Trainer of NLP, a Master Coach and the ANLP’s (Association of NLP) ambassador in Belgium.
Gerry is also a qualified music teacher and an award-winning musician. He has recorded several albums with the internationally acclaimed Irish/Scottish band, Shantalla.
Managing Director | Wide Circle Ltd
54-56 rue de la Montagne, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
T: +32 476 417 606