In a critical way purpose expands your horizons and returns from work. Purpose is a network of potential and brings out the potential of your network.
A network of potential
Purpose is not the answer to an introspective question. Purpose is the expression of your intent in action. The best way to discover your personal purpose is to look back over what you have chosen to do with your life.
More than ten years ago I was doodling on a pad trying to find a focus to my diverse career history. I decided to draw a network diagram of my personal and work interests, the work that I enjoyed most and always chose to repeat. I drew lines where there were connections between these activities and interests. I began to build a map of my past life experience.
In a short while hubs began to appear where connections were densest. These were the major themes of my life, core activities that I found most rewarding and repeated often. Those hubs were a major insights towards purpose.
It was a short step to make the hubs an engine of potential. If these activities were rewarding and I did them most, then I should do them more and focus my learning in these areas. I began to use those challenges as criteria to choose the roles I would play and to guide my personal learning.
The potential of your network
A second insight came with this exercise. Every one of those activities in my prior life involved people. Around each of the activities in my purpose network was a network of relationships. The network hub activities gave me criteria to consider in my efforts to deepen relationships and choosing the new relationships that I needed to build.
Purpose highlights the potential of your network to help you to do what you want to do most.
Understanding purpose enables you to shape the new relationships that you build as well. We meet people every day through a range of activities. When you have a better understanding of your personal purpose, it enables you to more easily recognise a serendipitous new relationship. A strong connection over purpose can deepen relationships quickly.
We are shaped by the work we do and the people with whom we do it. Choosing relationships & organisations to further your personal purpose helps your network deliver exponential returns in impact. There is nothing more powerful than to work with a team that shares purpose. Finding an overlap of purpose accelerates the work and the impact.
Purpose is exponential and that power is in your network.
PS: Imagine the opportunity to use network analysis to apply this same purpose exercise to an organisation and build purpose using the networks within and around the organisation.