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June 2013


Is There a Purpose?

"More men fail through lack of purpose than lack of talent."

… Billy Sunday (1862-1935) US revivalist and baseball player

I occasionally contribute to the LinkedIn TED forums and did so recently when someone posed the question, "What is the purpose of humanity?" Around the same time, Newfield Network's Aboodi Shabi also tweeted in response to the question, "Does life have purpose?" His answer, "No. Not the same as saying that life has no meaning, though."

These two events got me thinking about the relationship between meaning and purpose, which are two key elements of living a fulfilling life and being an effective leader with the capacity to create and maintain willing followers. From my perspective, the first question about purpose seems to infer that there is a greater purpose that already exists and which some of us may have found and others are yet to discover. It also infers that this purpose was not created by humanity but a deity of some description.

My response on LinkedIn suggested that rather than assuming an explicit purpose for humanity already exists, we could instead ask the question, "What could be the purpose of humanity?" and seek to create one, or more than one for that matter. However, can we do that without understanding what it means to be human? To understand what I am getting at here, it is useful to appreciate the role of meaning in people's lives.

At the heart of the ontological approach to coaching lies the idea that human beings are constantly making meaning. This distinction revolves around the concept that we live our lives constantly interpreting our experience of living and acting in response to those interpretations. In other words, we are constantly creating meaning in life and doing so is an essential part of the human condition.

In my view, discussions about meaning, or more to the point the lack of meaning, are discussions about deeper meaning. These discussions are fuelled by questions such as, "who am I?" and "what is important about my life?". Such questions speak to our values and who we think we are or wish to be. The answers to such questions are pivotal to an appreciation of ourselves in the wider context of life, our communities to which we belong and the world in general. This type of inquiry can help us see our life as a web of meaning centred on the basic questions of our values and what we value.

Purpose speaks to attainment and therefore direction. As we are constantly making meaning, it follows that purpose follows from meaning and is born of what is important for us whether this is spoken or unspoken. If we are to seek great purpose in life then we need to also seek great meaning.

In many ways, the creation of meaning and purpose is easier for an individual than for a group. We can do it by ourselves through a process of introspection and reflection. Certainly we can benefit through conversation and interaction with others but we are in control of how we create meaning and purpose.

Effective leadership also requires the creation of meaning and purpose within a community of people and therefore requires others to be part of a shared web of meaning and purpose. Accepting that purpose comes from meaning, a key skill for any leader is the capacity to engage others in the creation of shared meaning and purpose even though they are all coming from their own interpretative context.

Whether you are someone seeking greater meaning and purpose in life or a leader with the desire to build great communities or organisations, the principals begin with an understanding of the human condition. If you are interested in exploring this further then write to us at info@talkingabout.com.au and we can start the conversation.

We invite you to explore more in the articles section of our web site.

Play Create Elevate

"If you aren't playing well, the game isn't as much fun. When that happens I tell myself just to go out and play as I did when I was a kid."

… Thomas J. Watson, Sr. (1874-1956) US business executive 

Create, Creativity and Creation

Creativity can be stifled by as many things as it can be inspired by. It requires our purposeful attention and commitment, focus and attention to creative pursuits. It doesn't matter how you express your creativity, it only matters that you do something creative.

It might be painting, or singing, or playing an instrument. It might be dancing, calligraphy, sculpting, paper-making or composing. It might be cartooning or acting, writing or comedy. It might be felting, or finger painting, knitting or telling your children or grandchildren bed-time stories that you have concocted yourself. And these are just a few suggestions and yet within each of these ideas there are yet other worlds of variation.

When it comes to creativity, the Nike rule applies..."Just Do It!"

So, this month what creative endeavour can you immerse yourself in? Or at the very least dip your toe in?
You can post your answers on the Play Create Elevate Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/PlayCreateElevate

"A Statement of Mind" - The Exhibition

This month, those of you in Melbourne, have the opportunity to see Jacqui’s creativity in action. Through her challenges with depression this year, Jacqui’s key strategy for getting through each of her darkest days was one of creative, artistic endeavour. The result is her exhibition, “A Statement of Mind” at Mr Percival Café, 272 Waverley Road, East Malvern from 7am – 5pm daily. 

If you are heading to view the work, give Jacqui a call on her mobile 0412 741 531 and if she is in the area she will join you for a coffee and talk to you about her work.

Play Create Elevate Programs

“good mental health & bouncing forward” programs:

  • Inform participants how to support the early intervention and harm minimisation for themselves & others experiencing mental health issues.
  • Allow participants to take an active role in reducing the professional & personal impacts of mood disorders, such as lost productivity, impacts on the organisation’s bottom line and relationship breakdowns.
  • Support and encourage the open and comfortable discussion of mental health challenges.
play create elevate’s full-day workshops:

  • highlight the statistics
  • explore the difference between being sad and being depressed
  • identify the signs and symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder
  • walk through the steps to access appropriate support and intervention
  • share a ‘lived experience’ of depression and five steps to survive and then thrive
  • explore and discuss unconscious bias related to depression and mental health issues generally
  • explore resilience
  • develop personalised ‘bouncing forward’ strategies
  • explore and develop ways to have conversations about mental health concerns
  • provide meaningful opportunities to engage in creativity and child-like play as a means of inoculating against stress, anxiety and depression

Elements of the one-day program make up the one-hour briefings and half-day workshops.

To book a session to meet the needs of your organisation’s good mental health and resilience goals or find out more contact Jacqui Chaplin  on  +61 (0)412 741 531 or email jacqui@jacquichaplin.com

Please check out the website, www.PlayCreateElevate.com.au, and let her know what you think.

More on PCE next month!

The Monthly Diversion

You may well recall that I love my golf. It seems a topic for endless humour... Thanks for sending this one through Anita Payne!

Some Thoughts on the Game of Golf

  • Golf can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle, followed by a good bottle of beer.
  • Golf! You hit down to make the ball go up. You swing left and the ball goes right. The lowest score wins, on top of that, the winner buys the drinks.
  • Golf is harder than baseball. In golf, you have to play your foul balls.
  • If you find you do not mind playing golf in the rain, the snow, even during a hurricane, here's a valuable tip... your life is in trouble.
  • Golfers who try to make everything perfect before taking the shot rarely make a perfect shot.
  • A 'gimme' can best be defined as an agreement between two golfers ...neither of whom can putt very well.
  • An interesting thing about golf is that no matter how badly you play, it is always possible to get worse.
  • Golf's a hard game to figure. One day you'll go out and slice it and shank it, hit into all the traps and miss every green. The next day you go out and for no reason at all you really stink.
  • If your best shots are the practice swing and the 'gimme putt', you might wish to reconsider this game.
  • Golf is the only sport where the most feared opponent is you.
  • Golf is like marriage, If you take yourself too seriously it won't work, and both are expensive.
  • The best wood in most amateurs' bags is the pencil.

"To begin to think with purpose, is to enter the ranks of those strong ones who only recognize failure as one of the pathways to attainment.."

… James Allen (1849-1925) US novelist 

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Since the formation of Talking About in 2005, we have published our e-zine every month. Before that, Chris wrote regular newsletters and e-zines with Gaia Consulting dating back to 1995. If you would like to explore more of Chris' ideas then you can access our e-zine archive and view any newsletter written since 2005 by clicking here or to look at all the articles Chris has written over the years simply click here.

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