I have referenced Victor Frankl’s work, Man’s Search for Meaning, many times throughout my career and in my personal life. So many times, that I should ask everyone before I mention it, “Have I told you about Victor Frankl already?” You know you are getting old when you start to tell the same stories repeatedly. I keep telling myself they work so I keep on telling them. Persistence, I guess.
Anyway, I believe we all go through tough times, and if we are not, we need to push the envelope a little more because that is where personal growth happens. Phrases like the following: “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” “I never said it was easy, I only said it was worth it,” “No pain, no gain,” etc., etc., etc. Most all of these focus on the meaning we assign to the events that take place in our lives. We can endure anything if the “why” is strong enough.
It is our choice to create the meaning we attach to any event in our lives. Always.
Things happen and we decide what they mean to us. Usually, we do this through the stories we tell each other. Even more importantly, we do this through the stories we tell ourselves. That inner narrative is so crucial to our success, our vision, our leadership.
Those of us that can tell a different story – one of meaning, one of hope, one of possibility – can do amazing things with the time we have.
Unfortunately, many of us tell a different story. A story of excuses. A story of lost opportunity. A story of unfairness.
What is your story? What meaning do you attach to what happens to you in your life? I recently finished the book, The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith, and it blew me away. I read so much that it is rare for me to get giddy about a book, but this one did it to me. It speaks to what we do at LeaderShape…helping people find their purpose, their meaning, their vision.
I could not stop thinking about the differences between having a vision and having meaning or purpose in your life. Is there a difference? I think so, and I think the big one is that if you have meaning behind your vision, you keep going. You persist. You persevere. You do what it takes to make it happen.
You also realize that having meaning or purpose in your life may be enough. All you need to have a wonderful life.
I wonder how the world would be different if everyone just knew their purpose. How they are uniquely qualified to make a difference in the world. Even without the accomplishment of achieving your vision, I think we would feel a little more secure and be a little more resilient when things happen in the world that we don’t understand.
Take a few moments today and think about your purpose. Not your vision, but your purpose. Why you are here.
That’s our purpose.
Paul is the President of LeaderShape and pinches himself everyday for that opportunity. He is a father, son, husband, athlete, avid reader, eternal optimist, and sucker for the underdog.