Have you started to plan for 2012? Next year will be
an exciting year and I hope it will be your best year
yet. I believe the success of next year will be in direct
portion to the quality of your planning. I have included
some good questions at the end that will prepare you
for planning for next year. Make 2012 the year that
you find your passion.
What’s it really all about, anyway?
"All men should strive to learn before
they die what they are running from, and to, and why.”—James
One of the most powerful sources of energy is passion. When
we are connecting to our most important values and purpose
in life, our passion and energy seem boundless. The most compelling
source of purpose is spiritual, which is what happens when
energy is derived from connecting to deeply held values and
a purpose beyond one’s self-interest.
What is meant by spiritual in the context of this article
about energy is a higher order of thinking that includes ethical
and moral reasoning and connection to purpose beyond oneself.
When we define purpose to include those values and motivations
that are more than self-serving we tap into a very strong
source of energy.
However, it is never easy to discover what exactly our higher
purpose is. For most of us, our motivations are hidden from
our awareness in the realm of the subconscious. Although we
may have a sense of our true values, it is usually only after
a life-shattering crisis that we become more interested in
discovering what is really important for us. This requires
the sort of exploration and questioning best done with a trusted
coach or mentor.
Many of us get caught up in following the path others think
we should be following. It takes life experience and some
failures along the way to force us into getting in touch with
what we don’t want for ourselves. That can push us to find
what it is we do want. We let responsibilities and daily chores
distract us from our true purpose and deep values. We get
too caught up in earning a living and just staying afloat
to stay connected with our true purpose in life.
The Quest for Meaning
There comes a point in most people’s adult development when
they ask themselves, “What’s it really all about, anyway?”
The search for meaning is one of the primary quests of philosophers,
theologians, and scientists. Few of us are satisfied to be
ordinary. The drive to achieve is a means of escaping mediocrity
and boredom. We want to be the best we can be.
Yet, if we are to be the best we can be, we must narrow the
field a bit. We can’t be great at everything. When asked to
describe what gives life meaning, many people hesitate, hem
and haw, and respond with generalities and platitudes. “Taking
care of my family” and “being successful at work” are typical
answers. Since we so often lack connection to our deepest
values and firm beliefs, we are easily distracted or knocked
off balance when we face challenges and difficulties. We need
a strong, clearly defined sense of purpose in order to hold
ground when storms come.
Tapping into Unlimited Energy
Purpose is a unique source of energy and power. It fuels focus,
direction, passion, and perseverance. It becomes more powerful
as it moves from being negative to positive, external to intrinsic,
and from self to other. A negative purpose is defensive and
based on deficits. Someone who works to escape poverty is
not tapping into as much energy as a person who works to make
money to buy things that excite him or her.
Money is an external source of purpose. As a source of energy
and driving purpose, it has its limits. Having more money
is not correlated with higher levels of happiness. All humans
need food, rest, warmth, and social contact. Money provides
the means to these ends. But once those basic needs are met,
money has less power as a source of motivation. People can
be motivated by material gain and external praise, but they
feel much more passion for those activities that satisfy internally.
We derive more pleasure and energy when we freely choose and
focus on what we most enjoy.
To truly tap into maximum energy and power, we must connect
to a deeper sense of purpose that is beyond our own needs
and desires. There is no question people will work long and
hard to get ahead, to get rich or famous, and to win admiration.
But there is always a price to pay. It seems that people are
willing to sacrifice much more when they are driven by a higher
purpose that includes serving others.
Many people blame their work environments for their unhappiness
and lack of passion. It is easy to do. The challenge we face
is to express and embody our deepest values in our work. We
can find a sense of purpose when we mentor someone, or contribute
to communicating positive energy. Our values can show up in
small ways if we are alert to and aware of the opportunities.
Discovering What Really Matters
Clarifying purpose takes time and reflection. A coach can
guide you through questions to arrive at what is really most
important to you. Deeply held values fuel the energy on which
purpose is built. When you know your true values, your code
of conduct becomes clear. While the pursuit of power or wealth
or fame may all be sources of motivation, these goals are
external and fill deficiency needs rather than serve intrinsic
needs for growth and development. Values have intrinsic worth
in that they provide a source of inspiration and meaning that
cannot be taken away from us.
Here are some values that have been universally admired across
cultures and religions throughout history: es, but also who
Here are some questions to explore with your coach to help
you define your true values:
What do you do at work that gives you great
satisfaction and is something you would do even if you weren’t
paid for it?
Would you or someone you know like to begin the New Year by experiencing a coach? I am offering two free coaching sessions to you and your friends as my holiday gift. Coaching is a rewarding process – why not challenge yourself to give it a try and give direction to your passion in 2012.
What three qualities in yourself do others see in you? Who
are you at your best?
What are three most important lessons you have learned in
What would you like to see on your tombstone that best captures
who you really were in your life?
What were three small incidents in your day today that gave
you great pleasure? (and what about those incidents ignited
The highest compliment you can give us is to refer your
family and friends.
For the last twenty
years Jerry has been president of his own firm. He has spent his
career helping small business organizations grow and succeed. He
has a passion for success that he shares with his clients. His current
focus is providing executive and personal coaching to persons who
are interested in improving their effectiveness and their ability
to be successful. He is a facilitator for peer advisory groups with
The Alternative Board and is a Certified One Page Plan Consultant.
Jerry has facilitated planning retreats and planning sessions for
Jerry’s experience includes serving as Vice-president of Marketing
for IGA staff office, Vice-president of membership for the National
Grocers Association, Sr. Vice-president of procurement for Shurfine
International and the Managing Director of The Zenon Hansen Foundation.
Jerry is an Eagle Scout. He lives in Chicago with his wife Terri.
Jerry spends his volunteer time as a coach and consultant for The
Executive Service Corps of Chicago, an organization committed to
help the non-profits in the community improve.
Pinney & Associates
102 East 32nd Street
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