I recently did an experiential exercise in ‘finding your purpose’.
It took far longer than I realised – time passed quickly as I was patting down walls and chairs, grovelling along a gritty grubby floor, talking aloud as I hit yet another obstacle, frustrated myself and talked myself out of giving up, analysed how this ‘game’ would work and where the cards might be, chastised the Team for setting up such a ***** stupid exercise. Some 45 minutes later I walked out with my card … but not my purpose. And that seems to have been the trick – it seems looking for purpose not a card got you there faster, and that made sense to me.
Since that exercise I’ve been reflecting and I think I’m getting closer to recognising my purpose. I’ve also reflected on my reactions to not finding my purpose/card during that exercise. I found being so close to people and not in contact with them difficult so I talked aloud every now and then and made a funny comment. Humour is definitely my defence. When I didn’t get success, I started blaming others and the process. That resonates in life for me. When I did start to find cards I was initially hopeful but after a few rejects my expectation became, “it’s not gonna be my card”. I can get dejected easily. And I have to admit I occasionally peeked below the blindfold. I guess I do try to cheat a little in life by taking shortcuts, and at the end of the day, it doesn’t serve me as well as doing the job right the first time and taking that extra time necessary. One thing I was grateful for was my fighting ’survivor’ spirit. As much as at one point I wanted to give up, I didn’t. I wasn’t going to let it beat me. In life, I am persistent and dogged although there are times when I should realise it’s time to give up.
When the Leader said we’ll be finding our purpose and thus we’d be blindfolded, I rolled my eyes – I figured this was a time-filler exercise and I couldn’t see the point too much up front. By the end, it was an exercise that really did point up a number of my behaviours and on reflection that was a salutary lesson for me. I am committed to cutting less corners, acting with more integrity, being open to an experience rather than defensive, taking responsibility for my own behaviour, going with the flow rather than analysing and focussing on the right goal (ie looking for purpose not card). And I’m working out my purpose more clearly.
So, what might have been your lesson from that exercise, other than finding a card or a purpose and how close you are to yours?