Purpose & Worth

Whilst at an exhibition of the photographs taken during Scotts’ fateful expedition to the South Pole, I bumped into and was inspired by an amazing lady in her 90’s. A daughter of the Raj, brought up in a colonial world, now bent and weathered, but with an incredible sparkle in her eye and an energy in her voice. Our world’s met as we both gazed, in awe, at an iconic photograph of Scott and his men in their hut. We spoke, we connected and found mutual inspiration within each other’s stories, energy and passion for life. We exchanged details and went our ways. It tells much of the discipline and social etiquette lost over the years, that I received a letter a few days later. This beautiful lady wrote to say “thank you” and she shared something truly special that I now carry with me always.

It was a card with an inscription taken from a Sussex church circa 1730 “A Vision without a Task is but a Dream, A Task without a Vision is Drudgery, A Vision and a Task (combined) is the Hope of the World”

This is it. This is purpose and self-worth. A job with no purpose is drudgery, but a purpose without a plan is meaningless. Bring the two together and you have created the “hope of the world”. Striving to link purpose and plan is not new; it has been man’s struggle for millennia, but it is vital for so much, and this is why. I have mentioned before that a key principle of gaining commitment is to tap into an individual's self-worth through meaning and purpose. A key part of compassionate leadership is in the creation of organisations that are driven and steered by a true meaningful purpose. When we align our individual self-worth to organisational purpose, this becomes the foundation for commitment. I would also argue that this is the foundation for wider well-being too.

So we see that compassionate leadership is all about gaining commitment through fulfilling self-worth. Self-worth comes from self-respect and self-esteem. Self respect is you doing what you value yourself for and self-esteem is being valued by others for your acts of self-respect. We will discuss this in greater depth in the compassionate leadership academy programme, but, in effect, if we can see our life’s purpose, our spring of self-worth, either within or through an endeavour, then we can commit. If we cannot, then our only option is to comply, and if we do not know who we actually are at a deep emotional level, then once again, compliance is the outcome.

Commitment is energising, fun and meaningful. Compliance is unhealthy; it stifles, saps and we become numb. Purpose fulfils, but it also unblocks. If you are not sure what action to take or decision to make, then go back to your purpose and ask yourself “Why am I doing this”? If your team cannot agree a course of action, then again, go back to purpose. “Why”? Actions aligned to purpose fulfils, inspires, motivates and is “the hope of the world”


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