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Uncomfortable truths behind the pursuit of purpose

Way back in 2001 I made the decision to walk from a career focussed on creating a life of escape and partying. That year was a seminal moment, and by August 24th, 2001 I got married to someone who I knew was a lifer.

Weirdly, I can remember the day we got married and of course the date, but I struggle to remember the exact date I quit my job, earlier in the year.

Yet, both those decisions have set me on a course that has shaped my life for the last few decades.

As I reflect (something I don’t do often enough) I realise life isn’t shaped by letting things go, it’s shaped by making big calls.

What you are looking for is on the other side of uncomfortable. You have to make choices that others don’t make. We live in a world where it’s more comfortable to follow the expected narrative. You only have to write a controversial comment on Bristol LIVE and you’ll see the power of the consensus.

To pursue purpose you will have to do unpopular things. Take James Cameron who has been ridiculed of late about making a multi-million pound sequel to Avatar. People were calling it ‘The Smurfs’ in an echo chamber of negativity, before anyone had even seen it. Now the early reviews are in and people are blown away. Seems like everyone forgot that James Cameron does a good sequel!

Entertainment is one thing, and the audience is another. Who can remember The Shawshank Redemption? The time when the critics were largely positive but the audience missed it. It wasn’t watched. Maybe it was the title or the timing, but what happened later changed an ‘also-ran’ into one of the movies on everyone’s top 10. On release to DVD (remember those) momentum increased as word got out among film fans that this was a great movie… it took off and become one of the most successful DVD releases in history.

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The music scene is littered with acts that were not signed and passed over, until someone took a chance. Even the Beatles struggled! They were famously told that guitar music was on the way out. Interestingly enough, The Beatles were eventually signed and the label that had originally turned them down signed another guitar band, The Rolling Stones.

You see, making big calls isn’t easy. We might miss it, but we need to live and learn, not lose and leave. Purpose has many people in play. We all have a role in someone else’s story. In order to be part of it we have to listen to the heart more.

HeartSet is ensuring the people on our journey are aligned. As much as we put our lives on the line, as entrepreneurs and business owners we have other people who are willing to invest in the vision as well. However, you can’t expect others to endure the depth of your risk, grit and pain, but you will find people that align.

You need to approach your people not as if they are part of your story, rather that you’re part of theirs. Ask yourself how you can help them be all they can be… Now, there are times when opportunity is not seized, when people get distracted and potential isn’t fulfilled. That hurts. You might see opportunity open up and the path ahead seemingly ready for people, but not everyone will take it. Your role is to provide it. For me purpose is a priority and everything else will follow.

Now for you as a leader, when people choose to pause the purpose in their lives it is deeply frustrating, but it just might be that your role is shifting in their lives. It might mean you where only a walk on part in their story rather than an A Lister character.

In taking risks and pursuing progress, there will be times when you are perceived as the villain. I realized this early on as an entrepreneur: those that ‘don’t’ love to hate on those that ‘do’. In the past, I would want to defend myself, fight my corner and prove my worth. Today, time tells. Do things for the right reasons, with the right heart, as it will eventually speak more loudly.

Being uncomfortable is about enduring things we don’t like and that isn’t easy. James Cameron just focussed on what he knew to do and Morgan Freeman trusted the process. You have to remain focussed on why, and continue to try!

‘The world is a stage and all around you players’ but ultimately your life will be measured by the impact it had on others. There is nothing sadder than an empty funeral and our role is to ensure we lead a life that inspires.

From quitting a job role at its perceived peak to moving out of the city, taking kids out of school, starting more than one business, getting paid or not getting paid, life is uncomfortable, daily.

Why, do I do what I do? Because there is always someone who is about to give up on their dreams, someone that needs a voice, a strategy, a pick me up, to create something that reshapes our world, no matter how big or small.

I know I have been given the tools to help, so I continue to develop in order to be better every day. From HeartSet to Purpose Playbooks, The Crisis Catalyst to The Purpose People Facebook Group, educating on The Purpose People Podcast and showing others that it can be done, I want to inspire people to take that risk, ignore the negative voices and double down on being the best version of themselves!

If that gets me a few followers and fans, well great, but my heart is to help YOU find your WHO and then serve them with gusto!

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