I was sitting with my dear friend Beth recently as she shared a story of a recent visit to a new doctor. This guy was no ordinary doctor. He’s a seventh-generation healer in New Zealand who has a deep understanding of multiple disciplines and healing modalities (which is a fancy way of saying, this guy is out-of-the-box and knows his stuff). In her first two-hour intake visit, his intuitive grasp on issues that she had wrestled with was uncanny. He immediately pinpointed solutions to some chronic aches that other professionals had not been able to resolve. She was captivated as he casually shared insights that were obvious to him in seconds, but had escaped other practitioners she had visited.
At one point, the charismatic doctor looked in her eyes. But she insisted it was no normal gaze; it felt like his blue eyes were piercing through her. As he held her captivated, he said “What’s your passion?” She stumbled and responded with, “I love to teach. I get a lot of joy from…” He cut her off. “I know, you’re good at teaching. I can tell that your clients love you. BUT what is your passion?” She hesitated, feeling the full weight of his question. Sure, she loved those “light bulb moments” with clients, but was there more? Was there something deeper that she was missing? Her mind was racing.
I sat there leaning into the conversation, wondering what was next. And asking the question to myself.; was I clear on my passion? My purpose? I thought I was, but perhaps there was more. Perhaps I was only scratching the surface.
In the past year, Chris and I have revamped all of our programming at RefuseOrdinary. While our focus is still on getting results for our clients, we’ve added an important component, “making a difference.” In other words, it’s not enough to get great results, we want to go deeper with our clients so they can enrich their own lives and “make a difference.” We want to have that ripple effect where our work not only helps our clients get more sales, build stronger teams or be more productive, but through their success they are able to create a more meaningful path, contributing to their organizations, colleagues, families and communities in a richer and more powerful way.
So as I sat there listening to Beth, I felt both aware and humbled. I was aware of the steps I have taken to add meaning. I was aware of my own passion for inspiring and guiding others to higher levels of themselves, but was that enough? Likewise, I was humbled, because I realized, like Beth, that perhaps there was more. Perhaps, I needed to go deeper. I let the uneasiness of the moment wash over me, wanting to embrace the possibilities without any preconceived answers or expectations.
What about you?
I recently read about a Stanford study that examines the difference between having a meaningful life and a happy life. While the two definitely intersect, the researchers also found distinctive differences. One of the defining differences, according to Jennifer Aaker was how people spend their time and what experiences they cultivate. “Happiness was linked to being a taker rather than a giver, whereas meaningfulness went with being a giver rather than a taker.” Aaker and the rest of her colleagues pointed out that you should not underestimate the power of meaningfulness. Further, they concluded, “The quest for meaning is a key part of what makes us human.”
The fact is that most people never stop long enough to answer the question that the doctor posed to Beth. So put yourself in her shoes. How would you answer the question? What ripple do you want to create?