Living intentionally is pretty tough if you don’t know what you were put on this earth to do. It becomes nearly impossible to lead well and inspire others to follow you when you don’t have your own compass aligned, first.
But how do you find your truth north? How do you get clear on what tracks you’re supposed to leave?
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.
~ Mark Twain
As we get older, our purpose gets buried because it’s hard, and life gets in the way. We get too caught up in the “what” and “how” of what we’re doing and not they WHY.
Finding your “why” as a leader
Man, am I excited to share this tool with you. I have used this visualization and reflection exercise with Navy Seals, FBI, corporate leaders on Wall Street, and leaders like you to find clarity of self and that elusive true north.
To be sure, working to get very clear on what your higher purpose is takes work. And how you achieve that changes with the seasons of your life. For example, my tracks on this earth are to make a difference from the bottom up, but I’ve done that both as a Green Beret and as a leadership coach. Your passions and torches will change over time, but your ultimate purpose remains the same.
Here’s your assignment:
Go somewhere quiet for 20 minutes where you feel safe and connected to who you are. Take only a notebook, pen and water. Sit there and let everything just wash away; let your mind clear. Stop thinking about who you have to pick up for carpool or what you need to get at the grocery. In fact, if you need your spouse or a friend to help run interference, do it.
Visualize 15 years after you’ve passed on, and someone who knew you very, very well (picture their face, what they’re wearing) such as your spouse, children, or a coworker is having coffee with someone who didn’t know you at all. That stranger asks your loved one what you were all about. And in that moment, that person who knew you so well, is going to talk about those tracks that you left on this earth that are still being felt today.
What would you have them say?
That is you legacy. It’s more than an epitaph. It’s what people feel and benefit from after you’re gone. And the reason this exercise has so much potential is because the rest of your book isn’t written yet — you can still change the ending.
As you write that down, what you’ll likely find is that you’re tapping into the wellspring of you as a person and what you were put on this earth to do. There is release and clarity to it and I have found it to be a nice attack on your true north and how to get clear on it.
You know what? I still do this. I’m still working to get clear on what my tracks are and where I’m heading. If you visualize what people who knew you are attributing to you after you’re gone that served something bigger than yourself, that served others who follow you, you almost cannot go wrong because your spirit already knows what it is and it will just flow out.
That is where leadership and intentional living come from.
And when people get a sense that you get clarity on that, they can’t help but follow you.