Finding your purpose


A study in Germany on productivity at work showed a drastic, though not completely surprising, result. Between 30% and 70% of working time is actually used for private purposes.


This ranges from a quick order on Amazon to reading some social media posts to watching videos that have nothing to do with the actual work, even in the broadest sense.


Most employees do this largely unconsciously and not with the aim of harming the company they work for. Nevertheless, it is obvious that this situation neither contributes to the success of their company nor to their own satisfaction at work.


The study found that this behavior is mainly due to one reason: the lack of higher values and purpose.


You can’t just sit there and wait for people to give you that golden dream, you’ve gotta get out there and make it happen for yourself.

Diana Ross


You can wait that your employer provides a higher value to identify with or you can decide to follow your own path that runs like a red thread through your whole life. If you have the courage to go for the latter you can do (and re-do) the following exercise to get closer to your real values and purpose in life.


Exercise

Before scrolling down I would like you to lean back and relax. Now think about what makes a happy life for you. Write down everything that comes to your mind; ideally you write down every single element on its own little piece of paper. Put your little pile of papers aside and continue to read this article.



We will allocate your elements of a happy life to the Logical Levels introduced by Robert Dilts. These six levels can be seen as aspects of our being that influence each other. I will explain them from the bottom to the top:

Environment

Everything that happens outside of a human being belongs to this lowest level. All elements a human reacts to such as dealing with people, plants, weather, one's home, clothing, etc.


Behaviors

What is meant here is the activity and reaction that takes place and is lived within the above-mentioned environment. It is what is actually seen from the outside and it includes many automatisms that people apply every day.


Capabilities

The third level deals with the individual steps and the necessary skills that lead to concrete behaviors.


Values & Beliefs

Provides information about one's own beliefs, cause-and-effect patterns (if-then), driving forces, personal values and limits. I call it the ‘lower’ why and an important step on the way to find the higher purpose.


Identity

Here, on the fifth level, it is about the individual identity and role that we assign to ourselves in this context. It answers the question who I am or what personality I want to be.


Purpose

This highest level encompasses the human being as a whole. It is the source from which we draw our strength and the higher why answering the question why I am here and what is my mission.



Exercise

Take your personal pile of elements for a happy life and allocate each of them to one of the six levels above. Step back and have a look. Are you having elements in all six levels? Do you have clusters of elements that concentrate on some levels or even on only one? Do you have a lot in the lower levels but nothing in the 3 upper levels?


If some levels are empty you have to go to the level below and start from there to go up. Here are a few tips on how to get mental access to climb up the pyramid:


Empty Environment

Which situation would you like to experience more often? Where is that? Describe the place and what happens there.


Empty Behavior

Ask yourself what behavior you need when you are in this environment, in this situation in the future. Which behavior supports you already?


Empty Capabilities

Look at what you have found as behaviors that make you happy. Ask yourself, which capabilities you already have and what capabilities you need to develop if you want to continue this behavior in the future.


Empty Values & Beliefs

Ask yourself why you want to use these capabilities. What values and beliefs are important to you when you are in this situation?


Empty identity

Look at the value(s) you have written down and take this knowledge with you into your personality. Ask yourself who you are when you have these values and beliefs, when you use your capabilities to achieve the behaviors you defined before. What personality is behind it?


Empty Purpose

Ask yourself, who and what you are when you have this personality. What are you doing all this for? What is the vision behind it?



Exercise

Once you arrive at the top take these insights and experiences that you have just made with yourself and go mentally step by step one step back down in the pyramid. Look and see what has changed and what can change further.


Finally, project yourself into a future situation:


When will you next be in such a situation and what will be different?

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© 2019 Ulrike Seminati, Zurich, Switzerland