I’m following up last week’s article about activating purpose with a slightly deeper look at the three P’s (and the role each plays in facilitating the discovery of purpose). As you read, be mindful of each word and consider each “P” carefully.
Passion is a powerful indicator about how you were made. The best way to think about passion is to consider what creates energy and renewal within you. In a very real way, passion energizes and renews your body, mind, emotions, intuition, and spirit. For me, being outdoors creates a sense of renewal. My batteries become fully charged after just a short time outdoors. For others, renewal might come from other pursuits – problem solving, being creative, working within a team, being on the water, or gardening, and so on. The list goes on and on…
However, passion is not obsession. Obsession is generally harmful, and if left unchecked, obsession can engulf you. Obsession drains, passion renews. Obsession is worship, and comes at great cost – eventually leading to slavery of the thing over which you obsess.
Passion is renewal. Passion reflects the way you were created. Passion is fuel. Passion is a clue about your purpose. In the end, however, it’s not your passion itself that holds the key to understanding an element of purpose. As with many things, it’s “the thing behind the thing” that matters most.
For instance, my passion for the outdoors might be connected more deeply to the concepts of (1) creation, (2) freedom, or (3) sustainable, renewable cycles (or a host of other, deeper concepts). If these deeper concepts show up in other formats or pursuits for which you have a powerful appreciation, you’re definitely onto something that should be assessed within your discovery process of purpose. Consider your passion in a deep and meaningful way to uncover the power behind your passion.
Think of your Potential as the combined and optimized capacity of the physical, mental, emotional, intuitive, and spiritual aspects of yourself in creating an impact in the world around you. Because I have a background in martial sciences, I often think of “The Book of Five Rings” better translated as “The Book of Five Spheres” written by renowned swordsman Miyamoto Musahsi in the year 1643. Mushasi was a master-less Samurai (Ronin), teacher, and undefeated dueler with many of his matches ending in death at the end of a terribly sharp 30-inch sword or from a powerful blow by a bokken (a wooden sword).
Musashi lived in a rather high stakes world, where success was paramount. Here and now, we also enter the high stakes realm, where we begin to honestly assess and consider the power each of us has to grow, hone and command with our potential (in the form of the Physical, Mental, Emotional, Intuitive, and Spiritual). High stakes indeed…
As I think about Potential, I imagine five spheres overlapping in shared space to symbolize the harnessing of the multiple spheres of my own Potential.
Consider the five-sphere diagram below. The blue center sphere is the Physical. The orange upper left sphere is the Emotional. The upper right sphere is the Mental. The lower left light blue sphere is the Intuitive. The lower right sphere is the Spiritual. Notice how each sphere occupies both individual and shared space with one exception: The body – the center sphere – houses the Emotional, Mental, Intuitive, and the Spirit. And although the body is vessel for these domains; each also exists outside the body – producing real, tangible effects in the world, in our lives, and in the lives of others. The diamond shape in the center marks the union of these domains and the area where we are integrated, optimized, and efforting at our highest and best use. It’s in the center space where we begin to understand how to optimally harness our Potential.
Simply put, the more you leverage your potential, the closer you are to your purpose, because purpose is grounded in service, leadership, and/or advocacy. Purpose is not egoic. In this, we know that purpose is often informed through the context and quality in which we operate (that quality is directed by your personal ETHOS – a huge topic for another time).
As a warrior, recall that you make meaning by connecting with and serving others. We now add to the former sentence by applying these words…by powerfully leveraging your Potential. The sentence should now read:
You make meaning by connecting with and serving others through powerfully leveraging your Potential.
So, your potential is your highest and best utilization of your 5 domains – producing energy and outcomes in the world around you.
Where can you best grow and leverage your potential?
The concept of ETHOS, expressed more simply here as our principles, is the final and most powerful step in discovering purpose. To summarize this complex process, simply understand that we must all develop and adhere to a set of principles that guides our every word, deed, and thought. In this we must first carefully consider and answer a series of powerful questions that inform our ETHOS.
Those questions entail the following:
- Who am I, and where did I come from? This is not a “23&Me” question. Instead, each of us must consider if we are a created being from a powerful creator or a lucky recipient of a cosmic accident. Consider this question very carefully, and recognize that every answer is a faith statement.
- Who is counted among my tribe, and should I grow my tribe (or shrink or maintain it)? The answer to question one will inform the answer to this question.
- What singular characteristic will I build my life and “quality of being” around (words, deeds, thoughts and frequency)? Examples might include concepts such as – integrity, courage, or love.
- What mitigating characteristic will I build my life around? This is a control mechanism to ensure you don’t lean so far into a concept that the movement corrupts your ETHOS. For me, the word is “excellence” – meaning not taking on so many projects and efforts that I jeopardize them all. I must only do what can be done with excellence.
- Finally, how will you grow in your service? What will allow you to grow as the world around you changes and opportunities to serve emerge? For me, I use a simple word that has deep meaning to me – learning (as in, a commitment to lifelong learning, a beginner’s mind, and non-egoic quality that optimizes my ability to learn, and so on).
As you answer these questions and follow the clues, you will eventually arrive at the following declaration:
I make meaning by connecting with and serving others through my unique purpose (purpose = passion + potential + principles).
Purpose is often the centerpiece that can be introduced into almost any context. For instance, my purpose statement reads, “to teach, advocate, mentor, and lead where I can make a powerful and positive difference in the lives of those around me.” Today, the context is “how I teach” Krav Maga.
What is your purpose?
It’s worth the work to discover your purpose and lead an extraordinary life as a warrior in the service of something greater than yourself. Freedom, decisiveness, and deep satisfaction await you.
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