I recently went through the training to be a certified Echoing Green– Work on Purpose facilitator, and it was amazing! This workshop gave me a lot of tools that will help my work with college students in finding out what kind of impact they want to make, and also helped give me a little perspective of my own.
The first thing we did was identify what mattered to us. For me, that was passion. For others, it was relationships, trust, equity, family; they were all different. Since no one can identify it for you, reflecting on what matters to you is really the first step to figure out the impact you want to have on the world. Listening and learning from others can put into perspective just how different everyone is, and how you can collaborate with others for transformative action.
The driving force behind Work on Purpose came from their in-depth interviews with their fellows about the experiences they had when identifying and pursing their high-impact careers. They all had the same thing in common- they wanted to find what was right for them, and what was good for the world. Using this, Echoing Green created the 10 Principles of Work on Purpose. These principles were developed from fellows who know a thing or two about positively contributing to good in the world, and have learned from experience (and from what I can only imagine are many failures along the way). I encourage you to go to their website to read about all ten of them more in-depth, but the 10 are listed below.
- Mine Your Past
- Know what you’ve got- Know what you need
- Heart + Head = Hustle
- ______ is What Matters
- Act on Moments of Obligation
- Take Perspective…Someone Else’s
- Fear Means Go
- Gall to Think Big
- Bold Immersion
- Think Like an Entrepreneur
To me, the one that resonates the most is “Take Perspective…Someone Else’s”. Since one of my goals in life is to see as much of the world as possible, it is important for me to gain perspective about other peoples thinking, way of life, and culture. Attempting to see something from another perspective and empathize is a hard thing to do, and the more you try to do it, the better you will be at it. Work on Purpose defines it to “Cultivate a deep curiosity about the world and actively seek to understand other populations, perspectives, models and disciplines.”
Part of knowing how to be a good facilitator is going through the motions yourself first, and that is what we did. We all participated in the Heart + Head = Hustle workshop. I identified what deeply moved me, what issues I care about, what I value, and what is truly important to me. On the flip side we wrote down the skills, strengths, knowledge & expertise, and talents we have. It is always a toss up for everyone as to which one is easier to identify, their Heart or Head. For me, the easiest is the Heart. I know what I believe, what is important to me, and what drives me to do the work I do.
The activity was culminated by the mixture of the both (Heart and Head) to create Hustle, our purpose. Being able to identify the work that moves you, matched with your unique gifts, makes for a much clearer path towards a career that makes a difference, not only for you, but for your community.
Since part of making this process more useful is reflection and actually taking steps towards achieving your goals, I figured I would share my diagram. Since the hardest part for me is the Head, it gave me time to think about things I am good at and figure out how to put them to use. It allowed me to identify areas that I consider my forte and things I have the ability to teach other people about. I feel we all need to do this more often. We are constantly learning and developing, so there will always be new skills and talents to add to the list. Not coincidentally, the things I am good at are directly aligned with my values and passions; volunteer management, outreach, organizational development, teaching, etc.
Even after you discover your passion, you are no closer to finding an impact career if you do not take action. This TED Talk by Larry Smith, an Economics professor in Canada, puts very bluntly why you are going to fail to have a great, or even good career. He gives a few reasons as to why that is, but it all boils down to being too narrow-minded in searching for your passion, and simply making the decision not to do it. Work on Purpose’s Head + Heart = Hustle venn-diagram activity is a great way to search for those passions with a broader view to be sure you are not just narrowing down to one thing you are passionate about. You must look for alternatives to really find what fits you best.
Now for the kicker, not doing it. You may go through all the motions, but, as Smith says, “You make excuses about why you are not going to look for your passion”, and that is what causes you to fail, the never-ending list of excuses. Most likely you are afraid you are going to fail. Find your passion, learn from failure, and give yourself the opportunity to have a career that impacts you, the world, and lets you live out your passions.
“Passion is the thing that helps you create the highest expression of your talent.” – Larry Smith