The 2014 moai consisted of six women and one man. They chose to meet at a church which was centrally located for the participants. It was easier for me to facilitate in this environment than at the coffee shop. The participants expressed that they did not feel like they could have shared as fully in the coffee shop environment. There was more of a sense of intimacy and confidentiality in this setting. We were able to use long tables lined with giant Post-it Notes to creatively express the various parts of our purpose formula.
The 10-week Purpose Moai Participant’s Guide was used with both moais. During the 10 sessions the participants explored and embraced their gifts, values, and passions through
Both groups eagerly anticipated the opportunity to use the Calling Cards (available at www.inventuregroup.com) which they had been exposed to in the Purpose Workshop. These Calling Cards stimulated a lot of discussion and thought among the participants.
This was not simply an academic exercise for the participants to learn the above formula. Most of the seekers had never given serious thought to the individual parts of the formula, let alone intentionally put them together to determine their purpose. Putting all the pieces together in their own unique way was a new activity for all the seekers.
During the weekly sessions the seekers were encouraged to share what they learned as a result of the self-reflection material. Questions to take the discussion deeper were given in the guide.
There was laughter and crying during the moais. On more than one occasion various members of each moai were moved to tears as they uncovered parts of their core being that they had buried or had not taken the opportunity to express. The moais were safe places for them to explore, be uncomfortable and celebrate all at the same time.
In addition to exploring their gifts, values, and passions, the participants were encouraged to identify supportive people in their lives that will become their sounding board. These people will support them as they live their life on purpose. This support can be as encouragement, correction, and or challenge. The seekers decide who they want on their personal board and how they want the board members to assist them. In both groups some of the participants added me to their personal sounding boards as someone who would both support and challenge them.
Once the seekers had explored their purpose they began to write a personal purpose statement that reflected their gifts, strengths, and passions. Writing the purpose statement was a challenge for the participants. They were so used to being defined by their roles and job descriptions that their purpose statement became descriptive rather than prescriptive. Once the seekers began to see that they could express their gifts, values, and passions through a number of different roles, they could then look for the commonalities and generate a broader and broader more generalized purpose statement.
The moais were marked with successes as well as challenges. A sense of community was generated within the first gathering. Both groups enjoyed the conversations, especially around the topic of purpose. The sense of trust and intimacy was evident by the interaction of the participants before and after the sessions as well as by the topics and responses they would bring up during the sessions.
Several of the seekers had a renewed sense of self-confidence in their job search as well as a clearer picture of what type of jobs would align with their purpose. Two seekers from each moai were employed full-time and seekers in both groups were embarking on new entrepreneurial endeavors before the end of the program. I begun a partnership with one seeker to develop programs and give presentations on the topic of purpose especially as it relates to health care workers, the underserved population and to those individuals and family members affected by cancer. Participants in both groups all gained a sense of purpose in their lives that they wanted to continue to nurture through new jobs, new friends, and other moais.
Facilitating group coaching was a learning experience for me. Both groups had members who could easily dominate the time we had together, as well as other members who were less likely to volunteer to share when a more dominant person was present. I learned how to include everyone in the discussions by getting consensus from the group in the beginning of each session around how they wanted to go forward with the session. I learned to recognize more quickly when an individual was dragging the group down a path other than what was agreed on by all the members and to bring it back to the group while respecting the needs of the individual.
Retention of members was a challenge with both moais. Since this program was connected to the Blue Zones Project™ in the community, I was not able to collect a fee for participation. Reasons for not attending consistently were the results of unforeseen schedule conflicts most of the time. With the 2013 moai, they agreed to change the time of the meetings on several occasions to accommodate the schedule of the members. While this was a nice gesture, ultimately it did not result in more consistent attendance and may have contributed to more schedule conflicts and to the extended time needed to complete the program. This moai also overlapped with a number of major holidays and ended up meeting for the better part of five months to cover the 10-sessions of the guide.
The 2014 moai agreed to meet at the same time each week for ten weeks for the entire 10-sessions. This consistency proved to be more supportive for the individual members. While there was still attrition within the group due to schedule conflicts, the core of the group remained strong and committed to weekly attendance. When members had to miss a session, they were self-motivated to complete the exercises and prepare for the following week.
While not an explicit part of the Purpose Moais, I had the opportunity to coach each participant privately at least once as a result of the participant arriving earlier or staying later than the others or by a direct coaching phone call from me. These one-on-one sessions increased the value of the moai for the individuals. The participants in both groups desired to stay connected after the completion of the 10-session program as a result of their positive experiences. I am hosting a monthly opportunity, Table Talk, for the participants to reunite and support each other on their purpose journey. As a result of these positive experiences, I am working with BCHD Blue Zones™ Project to create ongoing sustaining moais composed of
We are all created with a unique purpose.
Purpose is a result of the integration of our strengths, values and passions. When we identify our purpose and live our life in and on purpose we experience the Purpose Effect. We are more motivated when we connect with our purpose. Our performance at work and other areas of our lives is increased when we are living according to our purpose. Living on purpose improves our immune system and reduces inflammation in our bodies. We have an increased sense of well-being and may even live longer because we live aligned with our purpose. Research has shown that individuals who have purpose in their lives have a greater ability to bounce back after challenges.
Along our purpose journey we travel through three phases. It is in the third phase that we have the greatest impact on the world. At this phase we realize that our purpose is not just about ourselves and those whom we are close to. Our purpose can serve the greater good of humanity and the world at-large. There is no limit to our purpose.
A Purpose Economy is emerging as a result of individuals dedicated to making a difference in the world for the common good. Corporations as well as individuals have embraced seeking and operating with purpose. This Purpose Economy is transforming companies, markets and careers to better serve people and the world.
Coaches are a valuable resource for purpose seekers. They can provide guidance as the seekers identify personal strengths, values and passions in their lives. Coaches uphold the ideal-self in the seeker. Unobstructed by the negative self-talk of the seeker, they can maintain a clear focus on the purpose of the seeker. Coaches will nurture, motivate and celebrate the successes of the seeker along their journey. They will provide stability when the seeker’s journey has wavered off the path of their purpose.
This paper has provided the reader with a review of the current literature published on the importance of purpose in our lives. It has introduced the reader to the Purpose Effect, the Purpose Economy, Blue Zones Project™ and the Purpose Moais.
Based on the information presented in this paper, coaching is an appropriate process for seekers of purpose. Coaching provides the means for inquiry within the seeker to reveal their values, passions and strengths which together create their understanding of the purpose of their life. At Kairos Possibilities the 4-E’s Purpose Coaching Process supports the seekers’ highest self and help them to explore, embrace, express, and evaluate their purpose. As the seekers moves forward into their purpose the coach provides support to sustain the transformation.
It is the opinion of this writer that exploring purpose is an essential part of coaching all clients. Understanding purpose and living on purpose provide a strong foundation to support the client in all of their future activities. Without purpose the client may step out onto seemingly unrelated paths and miss the dynamic synergy that is accessible to them when all of their life is integrated and their paths align.
Living and working on purpose is not always easy, nor is it completed in a one-time coaching session or program. Purpose is found when we do the things we love, attempt new challenges, and express our voice to the world. The purpose quest is a life-long process of seeking our uniqueness in the world and expressing ourselves in kairos moments.
Why do you get up in the morning?
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