I am currently working on a day-long, customized strategic foresight and leadership curriculum for the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (MHDD) National Training Center’s National Leadership Institute. MHDD’s National Training Center is a collaboration between the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the University of Kentucky, University of Alaska Anchorage, and Utah State University.
One of the topics we will focus on is creating and leading what I call a Purposeful Future. This is a pivot from the preferred future I have learned about and talked about for years. Why? Years of my research, and that of many others, continues to reveal the importance of purpose.
Too many people keep their desires inside of them. They unwittingly pursue the Purposeless Future. This is the future that “just happens” because people opt to stay on the hamster wheel of life rather than taking the time to develop and pursue a purposeful future that they truly desire.
A clear sense of purpose this is especially important for women, as well as businesses, looking to reinvent themselves, innovate or create a different future than the one they think the present will support. Purpose is associated with longevity, health, vitality and the ability to innovate.
Which future are you choosing to pursue right now? Have you been purposeful in the pursuit of your future? Or, are you running default mode?? There is no judgment here! I have, and still do, struggle to get out of default mode – especially when life gets overly busy!
I would really enjoy learning from those who are pursuing their Purposeful Futures with wild abandon! Why did you decide to approach your life and/or business with purpose? How do you approach the intentional creation of a Purposeful Future?
I look forward to hearing from you!
Go Wild with Your Purposeful Future!
PS: Enjoy the article (below) by Singularity University’s Chipp Norcross. I completed a professional development certification with Singularity a couple of years ago and like to study their strategic foresight research and ideas for the future.
Is Purpose A Company’s Best Protection Against Disruption? – Singularity University
Are you optimizing for the industry you think you’re in, or for the actual service you’re providing to your customers? Your answer could indicate how likely it is that your company might be disrupted, notes SU’s Chipp Norcross.
We are ushering a new decade, which means it is a great time to reflect on the past while preparing for the future! It is easy to move on to the next goal, intention or resolution; however, I encourage all of you to take the time to remember, honor and celebrate what you have already achieved – in the last 10 years. Yes, you read that correctly – the last 10 years!
What 100 Things Have You Accomplished in the Last 10 Years?
Why 10 years? This decade stretching coaching exercise is designed to tap into your memory banks while providing a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment. Investing time and effort into this process will also strengthen your motivation and confidence. This can be especially important for high-achieving individuals who feel like they are getting older and are interested in or working towards a life transition or transformation. Achievers tend to move quickly and overlook what they have accomplished. This exercise was intentionally designed as a slow, yet insightful, process that helps us see how much we have grown and changed over the course of a decade.
The first few may or may not come easily to you. Expect the process to get a little more challenging as you add more accomplishments. Ten years goes by quickly, and we tend to forget all we have experienced and achieved. If you get stuck, refer to your planner, calendar and pictures for ideas. Use your social media accounts, colleagues and friends to trigger your memories. Think back to fun times and feelings of joy. And, think broadly! This is not an exercise focused only on work or career. Think about the whole of your life as you go through this exercise. Below are a few thinking prompts:
How did you invest in yourself?
Where were you, and what were you doing, 10 years ago?
Where are you, and what are you doing, now?
What experiences did you enjoy?
Did you have a child(ren) or grandchild(ren)?
Did you try a new hair color?
What type of physical exercise did you try or grow?
Did you write your first blog post or record a podcast?
What romantic encounters did you experience?
What vacations did you experience?
What classes did you take?
What hobbies did you develop?
How did you volunteer or freely contribute your talents?
What did you do for exercise or self-care?
Stretch your thinking and have some fun with this exercise. You may just surprise yourself! Download the 100 Things I Have Accomplished in the Last 10 Years Coaching Tool below by clicking on either the text or the 100 graphic. Make the time to complete the list, and then let us know all about the 100 accomplishments you have achieved in the comment section below. We look forward to hearing from you!
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!