22 Chapters
Medium 9781576753606

8. Living the Answer to the Purpose Question

Steffen, James Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

RAY SAID to Mary and Mike, Coach Eric told us how important it is to implement the Aligned Thinking tools. We appreciate your sharing your insights so generously and especially value the copy of your life purpose.

You can borrow whatever you want, Mary said. We borrowed freely from Coach and some of the people who helped us.

Well do that, Carol replied. On the way home, Carol and Ray agreed that the next morning they would devote the first two hours after church to answering the purpose question.

The following summer day dawned clear and turned into a glorious Sunday. The deck was a warm, peaceful place in the late morning. As planned, Carol and Ray created their own life purposes.

Thirty minutes later they compared purposes. They discovered they had both borrowed generously from Mike and Mary, with some variations. Carol proposed, I dont think its critical that our life purposes or missions be the same. I think we should agree its okay to be different.

Ray agreed and added, I suggest with differences, we ask how we can support the other person getting what they want.

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20. Are You Living Your Ideal Professional and Personal Life?

Steffen, James Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

RAY HAD really outdone himself with the last funday for purpose: a surprise ski weekend in Vermont. Tammy and Jamie had skied until the lifts closed, while Ray and Carol quit early on Saturday to review their life and work purposes. With his son and daughters help, Ray had pulled the trip off as a total surprise. Carol, a fierce competitor, had promised to top it this quarter.

Since this was June and the one-year anniversary of their beginning the Aligned Thinking journey—a journey that had turned into a pilgrimage to fulfill their lifes purpose— Ray suspected something big was coming. It was the planners privilege to assign the surprised any reasonable task in preparation. A month ago, Carol had asked Ray to take this Thursday through Monday off. Last night, she had handed him a sealed envelope that read, Do not open till you are on the train going to work.

As the train rumbled through the tunnel, Ray opened the note. It read:

     Dear Ray:

     Are you living your ideal professional and

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1. The Black Tunnel

Steffen, James Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

    Too much to do! I never get everything done!

    Too many interruptions!

    Not enough time with the family!

    So little control over my life!

    Life doesnt seem to have much meaning anymore.

THESE WERE Rays thoughts as the train from Lower Manhattan tunneled to New Jersey under the Hudson River. As Ray looked out the window into the blackness, an occasional light flashed by to show him how dark the tunnel truly was.

How fitting, he thought. This is like my life. I feel like Im in a dark tunnel. My life is underwater. The infrequent flashes of light reminded him of the few lights in his life—his wife, Carol, and their two children. Unfortunately, as with the lights flashing by, he saw them for all too short a time.

What have I really accomplished today? Ray took out his organizer and reviewed the day. Hed skipped lunch and stayed late at work. He added two things hed forgotten to put on his to-do list. This made the list longer than it had been at the beginning of the day. He felt miserable.

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15. Get Rid of Interruptions Forever

Steffen, James Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

NOW THAT gives me a feeling of accomplishment, Ray said as he handed Coach the signed agreement. This is a milestone.

Coach smiled at Ray and said, So Woody said that you can get rid of interruptions forever. When I first started in the business, I couldn't believe that either. But I do today.

Let me help you understand the one-two punch that is the key to this. Of all the interruptions you get, Ray, which annoys you the most?

The question took no time for Ray to answer. When my boss calls and says, Ray, I have a problem. Can you come over for just a minute? That just a minute can take many hours. It happens about once a month.

Great example, Coach commented. For the moment, I want you to forget you ever heard of Aligned Thinking. Suppose Monday is an important day. You go in early. By nine o'clock you would probably have the first thing done and be moving on to the second.

Now the phone rings and your boss says those famous words—

Infamous would be better, Ray interjected.

Okay, those infamous words. Your boss says, Ray, I have a problem. Can you come over for just a minute? Of course you go. But how much is your heart really in it?

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3. Aligned Thinking Offers Hope

Steffen, James Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

THAT SATURDAY evening at their favorite restaurant, Ray and Carol met Ed and Alanna for dinner. As soon as they ordered their meal, Carol—being the action-oriented person she was—related the entire situation: the frustration of too much to do, too many interruptions, and too little meaning in their lives.

Ray added, Carol astounded me. In some areas, her situation was worse than mine. We asked ourselves, Who among our friends seem to have their lives together, and how do they do it? We thought of the two of you. You seem to have some secret power wed like to know about.

Ed smiled. Thanks, guys. It wasnt always this easy. Alanna and I used to have the same feelings and problems that you do, like too much to do and too little meaning in life. Then we attended a workshop led by Coach Eric. He was our soccer coach in school, Ray. Remember?

Ray nodded. Sure. Never had a coach who was more positive and encouraging. We won a lot of championships with Coach Eric, didnt we?

Yep, said Ed. Turns out Coachs business is giving productivity seminars to Fortune 500 companies. He helps people get what they really want from life and work by guiding them to become Aligned Thinkers. Hes highly successful at it. Thanks to Coach, Alanna and I learned how to live as Aligned Thinkers.

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