Cleaning my office today (okay, moving piles) I found this question card (see photo) from the “12 Key Principles for Creating Healthy Community Change” cards by Margaret Wheatley and Nancy Margulies. (It accompanies principle #10: “Meaningful work is a powerful human motivator.”)
I don’t know about you but I rarely remember and talk about the deeper purpose that called me to my work.
So it was interesting while driving to reflect on that question. I didn’t like the answer that kept coming up. It seemed too simple. But maybe it’s a guidepost I should pay more attention to.
In high school I knew I wanted to be a writer. But it wasn’t because I liked writing. What I liked was helping people understand an issue, a trend, a person, a political free-for-all.
Clarity empowers people to make better decisions. To think for themselves. To say no and to say yes. To see when they are being used or spun by people who don’t have their best intentions at heart. To see the differences between a fad and a trend likely to stick for a while. To be able to discern between brave hearted leaders and the self-centered manipulators.
Whenever clients have had complex, confusing, messy situations I’ve gotten excited at the prospect of sorting through it all, asking unusual questions, seeing patterns, and then helping them communicate it in a way that creates clarity. You know that excited feeling where you can’t sleep because your brain goes into overdrive — in a good way? That’s how I feel when there’s a really complicated situation — and simple communications approaches have failed to help people understand what’s what.
Bring it on! My whole being goes into what Mihaly Cikszentmihalyi called The Flow. That “psychology of optimal experience” where the circuits are fully lit and performing beyond expectations.
I started blogging what seems eons ago because this writing helped me work my intellectual chops at making sense of shifting trends by writing about them. I could never not write. If I had to bucket my work into “Hell, Yes!” and “Hell, No!” buckets, writing would top the “Hell Yes!” list.
My ego tells me that I’m a leadership activist. An organizational change consultant. A Fortune 100 marketing strategist.
But really my purpose is simple, and deeply ingrained.
I like to create clarity so that people can see new ways forward.