I have to admit that I was super excited to do an interview with Nicole Jansen as part of her Leaders of Transformation Podcast. We talk about the future, the importance of a vision and how work and leadership are evolving; however, my biggest moment was actually diving into my own transition! I have not said or written a lot about why and how I left a twenty-five year career to pursue my own desired future. Honestly, it has been a hard to talk about for a number of reasons. We discuss it a bit in this interview, and it felt awesome just to voice my truth as well as my new adventure in midlife!
Enjoy the show, and let me know what you think! I would love to know what topics you want to know more about in the future. Make sure to download the free
Start creating your desired future today by enjoy the Dream Life 2025 exercise that is mentioned in podcast! After you complete the Dream Life 2025 exercise, let me know what your desired future looks like in the comments section below!
Purpose and vision are two key elements when creating and living your desired future. Individuals and organizations investing in transformation must make the time explore and clearly define their purpose and their vision. It is an important first step in my futuring and coaching process and is especially important for women (and men) who find themselves in new, and many times unexpected, stages and ages of life.
One of my top Strengths is Learner, and I am always interested in learning more about ways to help clients dive into their inner and outer worlds worlds. I am in the last of three online strategic foresight courses offered by Singularity University, and I am really excited about their lesson on developing what they call the Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP).
I am sitting at my computer working on my new and improved MTP right now (aka my homework). The great thing about this assignment is that I can use and apply the information in my own life. It is the end of 2018, and I have fresh, global perspectives that are making me think differently about my business. New opportunities are popping up everyone, and I need to decide where to focus my time and talents. I am looking forward to walking through this process – not just for my homework – but to improve my work and life as well!
Take a look at the process below and share your MTP’s with me. I would love to hear from all of you!!
Go Wild and Share Your MTP!
Eradicating diseases, mastering flight, near-instant global communication, going to the moon—humans have developed a taste for making the impossible possible.Though we still face a daunting list of global challenges, we’ve learned that science and technology can uncover big solutions. But mind-blowing breakthroughs don’t just happen. They take teams of bright and dedicated people chipping away at the problem day and night. They take a huge amount of motivation, toil, and at least a few failures.To solve our biggest problems, we need people to undertake big tasks. But what drives someone to take on such a difficult, uncertain process and stick with it?There’s a secret to motivating individuals and teams to do great things: It’s purpose.Social movements, rapidly growing organizations, and remarkable breakthroughs in science and technology have something in common—they’re often byproducts of a deeply unifying purpose. There’s a name for this breed of motivation.It’s called massive transformative purpose or MTP.Setting out to solve big problems brings purpose and meaning to work—it gives us a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning and face another day.Peter Diamandis likes to say, “Find something you would die for, and live for it.”The more we organize around massive transformative purpose, the harder we’ll work, the more dedicated we’ll be, the faster we can solve big problems—and maybe most importantly, the more fulfilled we’ll feel about the work we do.This article will explore ideas we’ve learned from some of our favorite big thinkers on what makes an MTP and how to find and implement yours.
In 2014, Salim Ismail published Exponential Organizations, co-authored by Mike Malone and Yuri van Geest. In the book, the team analyzed the 100 fastest growing organizations and synthesized their key traits. They discovered every single company on the list had a massive transformative purpose.
In the simplest sense, an MTP is a “highly aspirational tagline” for an individual or group, like a company, organization, community, or social movement.
It’s a huge and audacious purpose statement.
Elon Musk and SpaceX are a good example for understanding MTPs. Musk didn’t found SpaceX to have a luxurious retirement on Mars or just for the sake of building the most profitable aerospace company. He’s driven by the belief humans must become a multi-planetary species. Making this a reality is his purpose.
SpaceX’s MTP to revolutionize space technology and enable people to live on another planet creates a shared aspirational purpose within the organization.
Notice that SpaceX’s MTP is:
Huge and aspirational
Unique to the company
Aimed at radical transformation
MTPs are not representative of what’s possible today; they’re aspirational and focused on creating a different future. This aspirational element is what ignites passion in individuals and groups; it’s what engages people’s hearts and minds to work together to realize their goal.
SpaceX’s MTP does this so well that they’ve also activated a cultural shift outside of the company’s walls, which is a secondary effect of having a strong MTP.
Other examples Ismail, Malone, and van Geest note in their book include the massive lines that form when Apple releases a new iPhone or the huge waitlist each year to get a seat at TED’s annual conference.
MTPs can inspire whole communities and evangelists to form around them.
Four examples of strong massive transformative purposes
As you read through these examples try to identify how each one fulfills each letter of MTP.
TED: “Ideas worth spreading.”
Google: “Organize the world’s information.”
X Prize Foundation: “Bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.”
Tesla: “Accelerate the transition to sustainable transportation.”
Hopefully, this helps explain what an MTP is. But there are other kinds of motivating messages out there. What distinguishes an MTP from all the rest?
An MTP is not:
Just a company’s mission statement.
Technology specific or narrowly focused.
Representative of what is possible today.
Motivated only by profits.
Just a big goal or even a “big hairy audacious goal.” (It must also be driven by a purpose to create transformative impact.)
A successful MTP can often be reframed into a question. That question can then be used to evaluate organizational decisions and whether they’re aligned with the MTP. For example, if the organization TED is deciding whether to move forward with a talk they can ask, “Is this an idea worth spreading?”
The competitive advantages of an MTP
Having an MTP can trigger incredible outcomes, which is why high-growth organizations all tend to have them.
The aspirational quality of an MTP pushes teams to prioritize big thinking, rapid growth strategies, and organizational agility—and these behaviors all have substantial payoffs in the long term.
As an MTP harnesses passion within an organization, it also galvanizes a community to form outside the company that shares the purpose. This sparks an incredible secondary impact by helping organizations attract and retain top qualified talent who want to find mission-driven work and remain motivated by the cause.
Additionally, when people are aligned on purpose, it creates a positive feedback loop by channeling intrinsic motivation towards that shared purpose.
Finally, like a north star, an MTP keeps all efforts focused and aligned, which helps organizations grow cohesively. As the organization evolves and scales, the MTP becomes a stabilizer for employees as they transition into new territory.
Identify the who: Ask yourself who you want to impact. What community do you want to create a lasting positive impact for? Is it high school students? The elderly? People suffering a chronic disease? These are just a few examples of potential groups to focus your purpose towards.
Identify the what: What problem do you want to take on and solve? Here’s an exercise created by Diamandis to identify the “what” of your purpose:
Step one: Write down the top three items you are most excited about or get you most riled up (that you want to solve).
Step two: For each of the three problems listed above, ask the following six questions and score each from 1-10.
(1 = small difference; 10 = big difference)
1. If at the end of your life you had made a significant dent in this area, how proud would you feel?
2. Given the resources you have today, what level of impact could you make in the next three years if you solved this problem?
3. Given the resources you expect to have in 10 years, what level of impact could you make in a 3-year period?
4. How well do I understand the problem?
5. How emotionally charged (excited or riled up) am I about this?
6. Will this problem get solved with or without you involved?
TOTAL = Add up your scores and identify the idea with the highest score. This is your winner for now. Does this one intuitively feel right to you?
Have an MTP? Here’s what to do next
Realizing an MTP requires a different type of thinking. It requires a mindset and work environment that leans into complex problems and dares to think big—really big.
SpaceX isn’t where they are today because they focused on making 10% improvements to existing aerospace technology. And Google’s self-driving car isn’t the byproduct of a goal to make a 10% improvement to driving.
10% thinking leads to incremental progress, which doesn’t lead to making the impossible possible—like sending people to the moon.
Through history, however, we’ve learned that radically big thinking can lead to these types of breakthroughs.
You have the recipe for creating a massive transformative purpose to push you and your organization to the next level of performance and impact.
Now, it’s time to get to work.
Science can help people stick to their goals. I posted a SMARTER Intentions coaching guide on Ask Dr. Connie on December 31, 2015 to help people set their true intentions for 2016. If you are already struggling a bit, brain science offers a little help!
Kira Newman, from the University of Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, suggests changing your environment. Newman suggests some simple tips, and I added a few more of my own. The real goal here is to create new habits and behaviors that will ultimately influence your subconscious mind.
A few key takeaways from the article:
Map your goals and support your transformational journey by using the following techniques:
Add goals and reminders to your calendar and keep them posted where you can see them. Newman notes that 10% of people forget their resolutions, so consistently keep them in front of you!
Steer clear of temptation. Notice obstacles and roadblocks that get in your way and move them!
Surround yourself with inspiration (and I would add others who have the same mindset). Create living and working spaces (I also have to add social networks to this list) that fuel your soul and your goals. Use cues that you see and hear throughout the day. Newman suggests finding a piece of jewelry that holds meaning to you. I have used this idea for years! I wear a ring with a large, light blue stone that reminds me to play big and follow my dreams each and every day.
In addition to surrounding yourself with great people, or your social networks, I have to add another coaching tip: Celebrate Your Success! Many of us women over 40 are extremely busy and rarely take the time to recognize and celebrate our progress. Get creative and do something for you! Celebrating your success will keep you motivated and energized while helping you stay connected to your purpose.
Invest in you this holiday season!A few of my fellow, female business owners in Nebraska City invited me to join them January 15-17, 2016 to co-host New Year and [Re]New You: A Women’s Retreat.
I am now extending this invitation to all of you! If you are ready for an amazing 2016, join us for a weekend filled with purpose, passion and fun! I will be there as both a participant and a coach. See the flyer below and visit www.bbwhisperingpines.com for more information.
This is a great opportunity to Be You & Do Something Cool! We have already filled several registrations; however, there are a few openings left. Call Whispering Pines (402-873-5850) to reserve your room and commit to your future!
It has been a full week! One of the big events: Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.
The Tweet by Melissa Stewart connected me to the story behind Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. Wendy Diamond, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Founder and CEO, started Women’s Entrepreneurship Day with great passion and purpose. She is giving women a global voice. To learn more, read the article published in Fortune about Wendy Diamond:
My son is quite a character. Even daily challenges like sitting in traffic can become fun-filled “Awesome Mom Moments” when they are viewed through the eyes of children!
“Awesome Mom Moments” energize me to take inspired action! Who knew that “turkey shopping” could help me redefine my business? The simplicity of his answer struck a chord in me. I needed to simplify my life.
I have purposely stepped away from blogging for a while. On May 1, 2015 I began a new career journey. I joined the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska as their Associate Director. It is a fantastic role with an organization focused on an exciting vision: The Rural Futures Institute will be an internationally recognized leader for increasing community capacity as well as the confidence of rural people to address their challenges and opportunities, resulting in resilient and sustainable rural futures. The new role meant that it was time for me to update my website, blog and business purpose.
This transition has been a journey for me, my family and my business. It is an honor to be both a University administrator and an entrepreneur. My business and blog are also going to evolve. The key area I am personally committed to is empowering women and girls around the world. I am specifically connecting with women over the age of 40 to do this. Why? Women over 40 are powerful, dynamic, game-changing leaders who are making the world a better place through family and the workplace. However, their contributions go unrecognized too often. I want to change the narrative so young women and girls see an amazing version of their future selves and so boys and men better respect and appreciate all that women bring to the table of life.
The joyful simplicity and honesty of my son’s “turkey shopping” comment was a moment of pure joy. While life sometimes seems overwhelming and stressful, it should be fun, simple, beautiful and joyful.
I am asking you to help me begin a new conversation about women over 40. What brings you joy? What are your “Awesome Mom Moments?” What topics and resources would add value to your life? Please leave your joyful experiences, Awesome Mom Moments and ideas in the comments section below!
Go Wild with Your Turkey Shopping and Awesome Mom Moments!
Our society is quickly evolving into an era characterized by shared purpose and meaning. Leaders must be willing to create an atmosphere of sustainable innovation designed to continuously move organizations forward while connecting employees and clientele to meaningful experiences and their definitions of personal fulfillment.
How many distance-learning leaders are adding value to the lives of learners, faculty and staff from a holistic perspective?
Personal fulfillment is a growing trend and may be a growing trend in distance education as well. Research on the “entrepreneurial learner” in the distance learning environment demonstrated an increase in credit hour completion as learner motivation associated with personal fulfillment strengthened (Reimers-Hild & King, 2006). People are looking to decrease their levels of stress and strengthen their healthy habits while finding greater fulfillment. Minimalism is one of the trends shaping the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend because people are seeking less stuff and more life. At first glance this may seem like an odd topic for administrators in the distance learning arena to consider; however, minimalism is gaining popularity in trend-setting places like Silicon Valley and is influencing everything from living spaces, to workplaces and web design. The Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend will continue to grow as the global population increases and places more demands on the planet’s limited natural resources. How can future-focused distance leaders create a better experience for learners and employees alike? Leaders can connect with individuals’ beliefs while helping them find purpose and meaning in their educational endeavors and careers while living fuller lives with less clutter and greater health and well-being.
Technology may help distance learning administrators holistically add more purpose and meaning to the lives of both learners and employees. For example, a forecast by Carbone and Nauth (2012) describes the evolution of the “cloud.” They discuss the cloud evolving from a place to store data to an intelligent resource that will actively help people improve their lives:
Virtual agents will migrate from being an automated form of phone-based customer service to a personalized form of support and assistance that provides information and—more importantly—performs useful tasks. For example, such agents might design a weekly menu based on a family’s health profile, fitness goals, and eating preferences, and automatically order ingredients.
This forecast provides an example of how distance leaders can use technology to help their organizations innovate with a focus on the future. A transition from cloud-based computing to cloud-based living and learning might be help institutions focus on both learners and employees in a more holistic manner.
Two trends supporting the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend include: 1) life increasingly flowing together instead of being compartmentalized into work, family, recreation, etc., and 2) the quest for greater well-being, health and vitality. People are increasingly learning and living on the go in both the virtual and physical senses, which blurs the lines between family, self-care, work and play.
How do these trends influence distance learning? As more people want to connect with their purpose, find meaning in their lives, and increase their vitality, educational institutions should take a more people-centered approach focused on meaning, well-being and the mind-body connection supported by the right social networks, experiences and technologies. A few ideas might include:
Integrating holistic, healthy living and self-care principles into distance learning programs in an effort to create better learner experiences and to create more value in courses, programs and the lives of learners (including the lives of their families).
Providing coaching for learners and employees to help them uncover their purpose and create strategies and structures to support meaningful actions designed to improve their educational endeavors and lives.
Adding physical activity and fun to courses or programs in an effort to stimulate creativity, decrease stress, build camaraderie and strengthen overall wellness (perhaps an App or the intelligent cloud can help).
It’s time to move beyond the traditional grading scales, discussion boards and homework assignments and focus on the whole person and what life means to them. Helping people find their fulfillment, purpose and definition of success may provide distance-learning administrators with tools to innovate their institutions. Competition for learners, along with their precious time and dollars, will continue to increase. Distance-learning institutions will have to find new ways to add increased value to the lives of learners, employees and their families. Not only can people choose to learn anytime from anyplace, people can choose what they want to learn and from whom they want to learn it. Institutions that add the most value will have the competitive advantage.
The rise of the entrepreneurial individual, and what is currently referred to as the Gig Economy, will create new challenges and opportunities for distance learning administrators. How can institutions of education help learners create value for traditional employers and for their individual brands? If not as many people are investing in education to land a full-time job, what does this mean for higher education?
An emerging trend, the rise of global joblessness (International Labour Office, 2014), is supporting the growth of the Gig Economy while creating a need for the marketing of talents and skills in new and meaningful ways. The number of large employers is predicted to shrink in the future causing people to find new and inventive ways to make a living. The ability to sell, purchase and promote goods and services as well as individual brands on the Web has created a need for education to add value to the lives of learners in innovative ways. People are increasingly defining success for themselves, which does not always include a college degree and a 9-5 job. In many ways, it is now much cooler to be a successful start-up entrepreneur, famous blogger or YouTube sensation than a person working in a full-time job.
One common denominator will remain the same: People need to be found on the already crowded World Wide Web. They have to build their brands and levels of influence to strengthen both credibility and success. Educational institutions should keep a close eye on the rise of businesses like Fiverr.com and the use of Twesumes (Twitter + Resume = Twesume = a resume in 140 characters or less) to land jobs or gigs (thus, the #GigEconomy).
Leaders should also consider building their brands, as well as those of students, faculty and alumni. The rise of social networks and technology has enabled people to both learn and teach at anytime from any place. These same tools have helped people create their own businesses and design their lives in ways that best suit them, which supports the Living with Purpose and Meaning megatrend. Life purpose is shaping everything from healthcare to education.