I recently was on a conference call and the idea of life purpose came up in relation to education. It is not often educational institutions, from my experience, think about a student's life purpose and how that purpose impacts learning, teaching, and student engagement on the whole. When I hung up from the call, my life purpose was tickled. I've come to realize from my coaching training, a person's life purpose is extremely important to living a fulfilled life. Like core values, life purpose aligns your internal compass and provides a fantastic lens to live by, make decisions, and choose paths that enable you to move forward and courageously shake up the status quo.
I realized in my thinking, life purpose can change. Looking back, what might have been my life purpose in my 20s, isn't necessarily my life purpose today. In my 20s, I would have guessed my life purpose had something to do with opening gates of possibility and opportunity as that was the role I felt was my calling & initially brought me to the classroom and becoming a teacher. It probably had something to do with seeking exploration and adventure as a part of life, not wasting it. If you remember my ski bum blog post here, you can imagine how many people thought I was wasting my life away in Aspen, not living to my fullest potential. I also think my life purpose back then had something to do with finding value in the learning that comes from the spaces in between formal learning opportunities like those found in undergraduate and grad school. In many ways, in my 20s, I was a salmon swimming upstream. The choices I made and my life purpose weren't easy, but they were part of my DNA and drove my efforts and life choices.
Now, almost 20 years later, my life purpose has evolved. I think I can narrow it down to one verb. My verb. I am a matchmaker. I matchmake. My life purpose is no longer to swim upstream, open gates, seek adventure or celebrate the importance of informal learning. Instead, it is for me to matchmake ideas with audiences who are capable of shaking up the status quo. That is why I love giving keynote addresses so much. I get to curate that best ideas (and themes) and convince audiences to dive deeper into those ideas (or themes) and shake up what they do. Since my audiences tend to be educators - both preK-12 and higher education - it is vital they shake up what they do to further how they champion the growth of their students and their colleagues.
My verb, my life purpose, is matchmake.
What is your verb? As Jennifer Ford Reedy explains in her keynote address here (fast-forward to minute 8:00), your verb is what you are good at, what you like, and what impact you want to make on the world. Your verb is very much your life purpose - at this moment in time - in one little, tidy word. It can be different from your word of the year. For example, my 2014 word was Brave. Brave was not something I was good at or even liked. It was a goal word, not my life purpose.
Matchmake, right now is my life purpose.
What's your verb? What's your life purpose? Please share in the comments below, email me, embrace social media, anything. I really want to know your verb and why.
I'm so curious,