The Pathway to Excellence | Work | Social Purpose
Finding, claiming and pursuing your purpose on The Pathway to Excellence is about how you connect your “Why?” to your “Who?”, “What?”, “When?”, “Where?”, and “How?”. This connection involves learning through self-awareness, living in relationship, leading through service to work through a sense of vocation – this is a powerful feeling that you are called to do what you do for others by your appreciation of your people and place so that you will put your purpose into practice through the way you learn, live, lead and work.
You will need to think about where you are now, where you are going, and how you might best manage this. Think about what you want to achieve and why you want to do this. Therefore, while your goals will direct what you do and who you become in the compelling narrative of your story, you are the engine that pushes yourself to achieve your goals and encourage other people to join you in achieving your social purpose.
As you seek to tell a compelling story and bring other people with you on your adventure, your biggest challenge will be connecting with others and persuading them to come with you. Connectedness and purpose are connected intimately with each other in this respect. We feel connected and purposeful because we can measure our sense of thriving in the world. We can see progress in growing in our character, competency and wellness. We also feel this because of how we see growth in the mastery of our competencies, both when we are in new circumstances (adaptive expertise), and also how we organise our lives in general around our competencies (self-efficacy).
An additional challenge will be providing others with the motivation, incentives and resources to do the work required to become the people who they could and should become alongside you. Often, even when they feel that the tangible and/or monetary value of their efforts is being rewarded appropriately, people would rather stay put than risk what they have to step forward and up on The Pathway to Excellence. They will need to see that what you are proposing is both worthy (because of the quality and consistency of the values behind it) and worthwhile (because of the practical value that it brings to all) for them to connect to you and your purpose.
"A job is a vocation only if someone else calls you to do it for them rather than for yourself. And so our work can be a calling only if it is reimagined as a mission of service to something beyond merely our own interests. Thinking of work mainly as a means of self-fulfillment and self-realization slowly crushes a person."
There is, therefore, a social contract in all this work of connecting purpose with people and place through practice. As you go forward, you will find that your practice itself needs to be mapped and tested against this model. Balancing the different pressures—associated with charting the course of a group, team, organisation or community from yesterday to today to tomorrow—requires a model, a way of describing and predicting how you will align intentions with vision and actions. You may find this difficult as what you do under the circumstances of how you learn, live, lead and work is usually intensely practical and rarely shaped by an established theoretical model, even if having a model helps you to measure your progress and success. In this way, you will need to recognise how your practice is highly situational and located within the here and now.
As you work with others to share purpose through this exchange of values and value, you can use the following questions to guide you and perhaps shape your model for connecting purpose to practice through people and place:
As you ask questions and shape an understanding of how your purpose is connected to your actions, the living out of your story (through experience of your practice) will come to shape the intention of your purpose as much as the rationale behind your purpose will influence the outcome of your practice. If you experience this sense of calling through a genuine vocation in service of others, then your work becomes much more than a job. It will be a way to go on that journey from me to you to us, and to take others with you. You may not see yourself as worthy of this challenge or capable of it, but you should be willing to give it a go and see how taking small steps in pursuit of a big idea can work. Your humility and willpower will go a long way to helping build that personalised, aligned and integrated sense of purpose, people, place and practice that is at the heart of the most meaningful thing we do for others – our vocation.