Finding Our Way: Reconnecting to Purpose

Finding Our Way: Reconnecting to Purpose

As I watched the Senate vote down the gun control measure last week I found myself thinking a lot about leadership. And, the absence thereof. When 90% of the American people support enhanced gun control measures in the wake of Newtown, how is it possible that a common sense background check Bill couldn’t get the votes it needed to pass out of the Senate? For the same reason that VAWA reauthorization was waylaid for so long? Could it be that some of these Senators have lost their sense of purpose?

It’s something that happens to the best of us. We get so caught up in the doing of things, the conflict, the drama, the trauma, the scarcity, our own egos, the sheer magnitude of the work that we lose our bearings. We forget what our life’s purpose is. Why we were put upon this earth.  And when we lose that, it makes it very difficult to live an intentional life. To ensure the work we do – and the choices we make – further that purpose.

At Move to End Violence, we believe that transformational leadership demands clarity of purpose. That’s why one of the first things our Movement Makers do is go through the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Art of Leadership (AOL). Give Rockwood a week of your life, and they’ll do their level best to transform it. Have you been through Rockwood?  If so, you know exactly what I am talking about. Even for the most self-aware among us, it’s a humbling experience. And an extraordinary opportunity to really understand yourself and your leadership. For those of you who haven’t been through Rockwood yet, AOL focuses on a number of aspects of leadership, including Purpose, Vision, Partnership, Resilience and Performance.

Purpose: To live and lead from that which gives our life meaning.

Focusing on purpose is an opportunity to reflect upon the central questions: What is the gift I have to offer? The contribution I have to make? What is the difference I am here to make in the world? And for many, being able to reconnect with and articulate purpose is a particularly impactful part of the program. That was certainly the case for me. I went through Rockwood’s AOL more than 5 years ago, and I still find myself revisiting and refining this for myself. Doing so allows me to push myself to be intentional about where I spend my time and energy to ensure that my actions are in service of my purpose.

“Purpose is the motivating force for achievement. When you are doing something which serves your purpose, you are at your best. We cannot use what we learn without the fire of purpose in our hearts.”  – Sun Tzu

It is an amazing thing to witness leaders peel away the layers to really hone in on their purpose. The authenticity that comes from gaining clarity and alignment is a powerful force. It becomes evident to others. It draws them in. It inspires. It transforms. It is what makes great leaders.

Are you connected to your purpose?  Are you living it out?  If not, what has to change?  For as Nelson Mandela says, “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Jackie Payne
Jackie Payne

Jackie Payne served as the Director of Move to End Violence from its inception until February 2018. A lawyer and policy advocate with 20 years of experience working to affect social change, Jackie brings an intersectional and cross-movement lens to her gender justice work. Learn More

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