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Purpose In The Details

I was at the Dallas Ft. Worth airport trying not to allow frustration to hijack me. My flight’s boarding time approached and passed because the flight crew had not yet arrived. I texted someone I know who was at a different airport doing the same. He travels even more than I do. As a C-level executive, venture juggler, and philanthropist, he travels almost weekly. 


I reached out seeking either commiseration or an encouraging word. In my text, I asked how he stays sane with all the travel delays and cancellations he experiences. He quickly volleyed a text response. His answer was simple and piercing. He said that he is in hustle mode, likely for another ten years and that he sees his wife and kids and makes moves for them. 


His answer reflected a singular purpose, what is essential. His answer was nearly immediate, a reflection of his purpose is top of mind. 


His response was a reminder that purpose is the oxygen to our fire. Purpose is the platform for intentional choices to design how we live and work. Evaluating our options against purpose leads to decisions informed by the singular internal intelligence we each have: our reason for being. Purpose and values inform how we interpret what happens and are the scaffolding we need for resilience in times of trouble, including facing the possibility of getting stuck at the airport. 


With the text exchange, I forgot about my frustration. I thought about how grateful I am to know my purpose—to be a catalyst for love and human connection—and that I get to live out my purpose in my work as a leadership coach and a product management leader. I then saw my unexpected extra free time at the airport as an opportunity to take a break and relish the satisfaction of the two days of creative meetings in which relationships were formed and strengthened. I also used some of the time to text with colleagues and friends, catch up with LinkedIn connections, and plan a consult meeting with a potential future client. 


Thanks to the text reminder to see my purpose in all things, my delay in Dallas was a gift of time filled with opportunities to exercise my purpose.  

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