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Links mentioned in this episode:
Brandon Peele's Purpose Activation Blueprint:
The 30-minute Purpose Statement Exercise:
Here's the complete transcript:
Now he’s really formalizing this coaching practice and he has written a wonderful guide called The Purpose Activation Blueprint. So, I hope if you are either watching this or listening to this, you’ve had a chance to download it. I will be sure to put the link in the episode notes page so that you can download it if you haven’t already done so.
Brandon is going to talk us through the process. I am going to ask him questions. Anyone who happens to be watching this live can also post questions. With that, I just want to say that Brandon is also co-teaching a course called Man on Purpose. Is that right, Brandon?
Brandon: That’s correct.
George: Yes, Man on Purpose. But, other than that, he’s just a great guy to talk to about life purpose, career purpose. I invite you to reach out to him, if you’re looking for a coach, for purpose. Brandon, thanks so much for being here today.
Brandon: Thank you George. It’s great to be here.
George: I actually went through the 1st step of the blueprint myself. I really liked the exercise, came up with a nice purpose statement for myself. I guess I’ll turn it over to you and you can walk us through it however you want to. I’ll be asking you … peppering you with questions along the way.
Brandon: Yes. Yes. That sounds great, George. That sounds great. It’s great to be here. It’s obviously awesome to talk about purpose.
It’s one of my favorite subjects on the planet cause I do believe it is one of these panaceas, if you will. It really does supercharge every area of our lives. Specifically, over the last… I would say… three or four years, I amassed a trove of research that I call the Science of Purpose.
It correlates living your life’s purpose with every element of the good life. So, it’s correlated with a longer life, living this many years longer, a healthy heart, a healthy mind, better relationships, more fulfilling and profitable careers, a more rich society, a more sustainable economy. It is … I believe we are at the cusp of a purpose revolution. This is something I believe in. This is one of the reasons that Chris Kyle, my co-teacher on this course plan, decided to give away this free e-Book, because we want everyone to experience it. I mean, it is kind of the greatest gift you could possibly give yourself while you’re here, and start to enjoy the benefits: to have a great career, great relationships, great health.
George: Can I ask you something? Let me ask you a little bit more about … well, let’s touch on the relationship and the health piece of it. How does purpose benefit – what is the sort of science shown about how purpose benefits people’s relationships?
Brandon: The primary benefit is that, once you know your purpose, you’re not this unmoored ship floating in the sea next to another ship – you know, your partner. You actually know exactly where you are headed. You know what you care about, you know your values, you know your boundaries. That’s really the key piece. Once you know who you are, you’re able to set boundaries and say, actually, my most important love relationship is myself.
I know my purpose, I know what I’m willing to do, and what I’m not willing to do. That allows us to engage with our partners or our lovers from this place of deep self-love and reverence and saying, “I want to create a life with you, but not under any conditions.” Under the conditions that work for me, and that work for you. It really allows two people to come together from this very solid, purpose-driven, self-aware place of self-love.
As people form relationships, they … they’re just much more solid. It’s not about appeasing the other person, or resenting the other person. It’s about having an open, honest dialogue about who you are as individuals and who you are as a couple.
George: Nice, nice. And, how does purpose benefit our physical health?
Brandon: Oh, that’s my … that’s one of my favorite questions. The hypothesis … there’s a number of studies out there that look at it. It’s linked to decrease in coronary heart disease, decrease in strokes, decrease in depression … What’s the other one? There’s another one out there that has to do with the mind.
But, the general theory is that cortisol, this kind of stress hormone, that we experience when we’re out of alignment, when the person that who know ourselves to be and the person that we show up are two different things, our bodies are under stress. The idea is that the stress hormone ages our cell’s structure, ages our tissues and our vital organs.
When we commit to a life of purpose, it’s like a thread that runs through every area of our life. It gives the whole thing meaning. We are able to endure hardships. There’s a great Nietzsche quote, “If a man knows his why, he is able to endure any what or how.”
If you know why it is that you’re committed to doing, say, moving a mound of dirt from one area to another, it’s not, like this damn mound of dirt. It’s like, oh yes. I’m building a garden. This is cool. I know my why. So the idea is that when you know your why, of your whole life, of your career, of your relationships, your body is not being flooded with these stress hormones – adrenaline, cortisol – these things that are just eating away at your tissue, prematurely aging you and then eventually leading to all kinds of serious ailments that will take you out.
George: That’s great. That’s good to understand because it’s been shown … I mean, I think … hopefully it’s mainstream knowledge that purpose certainly helps with your emotional health. I think people … well, it’s been known that when people retire, they don’t feel the sense of purpose from their work anymore. Right? They deteriorate rapidly.
So, I think purpose is for every age. I think especially … I mean yes, young people are seeking that purpose and they have to strive for. But, perhaps it’s even more important for people who are older.
Brandon: Yes, definitely. Actually, I just finished a beautiful book by Richard Leider who is an icon in the world of purpose. He authored a study with MetLife and explored purpose and aging and one of the differences in how people age if they have purpose. He basically found the exact same thing you’re talking about.
If you retire without knowing who you are, your life purpose, you basically die really quickly. But if you retire and you do know who you are, he found that, essentially when you have purpose, it yields a 42% increase in the experience of contentment, a 47% increase in the experience of abundance, a 31% increase in the experience of feeling love. There’s … purpose, like I said … I wasn’t lying when I was saying that it is a panacea. It really does empower every area of life - career, health and relationships.
George: I think it makes a life a lot more fun. Right?
Brandon: Yes, it’s interesting, like you’re playing a big game. It’s not in this tiny area. It’s with your whole life. You completely get to play this super big game.
George: That’s awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Before we go on, I just want to mention real quick, those who are here live, please feel free to comment below the video. Some of you are watching this on YouTube. Some of you are watching this on the Facebook page directly. Please, please, comment below and let me know that you’re here. Any questions you have about purpose, let us know.
I’d be happy, as time allows, to bring those questions on for Brandon to answer. I’ve just a couple of comments already from Karen and Laura, they’re both saying that they’re here and listening in. Thank you so much.
One question I have, and maybe this is going into the blueprint already, is what is purpose? Now, I know so many … there’s actually, one of the questions that I ask all the guests on this podcast whenever I remember to do so is what is their definition of their highest work? I feel like, with purpose, there’s as many definitions as there are people, maybe, or people who are interested in this. But, how are you defining purpose and why do you define it in that way?
Brandon: That is the most important question. What are we actually talking about today? The way I hold it, and this is a definition that Chris Kyle, my co-teacher in this course and co-author of this document and this book, a definition that we settled on, one that took into account the latest psychological research, took into account a lot of our wisdom traditions … on this idea of dharma, or calling, or purpose, or God’s help.
The idea is that purpose is very unique. It’s not just about being a good person. It’s not about being ethical although generally people who have purpose are incredibly ethical because they know who they are at their deepest level. But being in purpose, and this is how we define it, is the act of giving my authentic self, so my true essence, along with my gifts and my talents, to the world, in service of something bigger than myself.
So I’ll crack those a little bit. The way that I think about it and again I think, most purpose frameworks or most purpose coaches or most purpose authors will agree that they generally have these three components in essence, these qualities of who we are along with this more active element. Our gifts and our talents, doing things that feel alive, that feel … that bring us alive, that make us feel united, that make us feel like we’re contributing both to ourselves but potentially to other people, too. It’s an active thing. It’s not just, I know my purpose and it’s this written statement that I look at once a day.
No. It’s actually moving it into the world. There’s this very active component about choosing the types of activities that feel alive with who we are.
In the last piece, is in service of something bigger than myself. A short word for that is mission. It’s where you both understand the world as it is, which is a significant task. To be on purpose, you can’t just be ignoring what is going on in the world. You can’t just stick your fingers in your ears and be like, “Oh, ok. I’m not going to pay attention to how terrible the Middle East is right now, or how terrible climate change is.”
You actually have to know what is going on in the world. The reason you do that is so you can see something that is new or different. You hold a vision for the world that is, that are more whole, or more authentic. The idea is that you combine who you are, your qualities with the things that you love to do, towards a goal, towards a vision of the world that is larger than yourself, and a more generative, holistic expression of the world.
George: That’s awesome. Wow. What a great definition. For those who are able to see the video, I have onscreen – Brandon, can you see this? It’s showing up. Yes? Those who are … by the way, those who are here, I’m just going to ask you, whenever you can, to just let me know in the comments, “Yes, I’m seeing it”, or “How is it going so far?”
You should be able to see on the screen the little three-part circle – gear, actually – that Brandon’s been talking about essence, gifts, and mission. I really like that because it doesn’t leave anything out. Purpose isn’t just about … a lot of people think purpose is just about business or career. But, it’s more than that. Here, you’re bringing in the larger mission of our life, you’re bringing in also our, I guess personality, you might say, or core personality.
Right? How does … how is essence related to personality?
Brandon: That’s a great question. The way we hold essence – and personality tends to have a deeper root in the study of psychology. We can talk about that a little bit. The way we hold essence is that these are qualities that you naturally and effortlessly express. You don’t have to … this isn’t about you trying to be creative.
This is about the core question or core Litmus test is. How do other people describe you when you are just being yourself? For me, they might say, he’s provocative or he’s kind or he’s introspective. For you they might – I’m just projecting onto you, based on what I know of you – they might say caring, supportive, enthusiastic, inspiring. It’s just how other people would describe you and, ultimately, it’s how you describe yourself.
But, oftentimes other people have a better, or, are better able to articulate your essence. Personality, now, this is … again, we are getting into more psychologically complex waters here, but personality generally has to do with your ego structure. It’s all the ways you became who you are, including faults, shadow, triggers. It’s not just about the great things about you, it’s kind of like your life story, in a lot of ways.
What happened to make you the way you were? Generally it comes down to a core wound. For example, I’ve got a core wound around not being worthy of my father’s love, which is of course not true. I am. He loves me, and all that kind of stuff.
That was a wound I got as a child. So, I developed this whole personality structure to compensate for that. I became a good boy. I became a bad boy. I became all these different things so that I could get a response from people. So that I could actually feel affection, feel the attention of others.
Personality structure is much more complicated. Essence is … you can think of it as, if you hold God as a reality, it’s your divine qualities, the parts of the God self that you most easily express.
George: Wow, that’s beautiful. I love the way you put that, that’s really cool. Because it’s sort of the things that … if you strip away sort of all the characteristics that develop as a result of pain and alienation, you are result … what results is your divine essence for this life. Maybe we could even call it your divine personality.
Brandon: I’m comfortable with that word but a lot of folks who, today, are trying to leave the God language out … It’s up to you, really.
George: I don’t apologize for that. I feel like … whatever we believe in and are passionate about, there’s enough people on the net who will resonate with us. Just a quick shout out also to thank you, Anna, for joining us for this as well, and Linda, thank you as well.
So, about gifts a little bit. Please feel free, Brandon, if you want to speed things along, just let me know, but I’m so interested in this stuff that I just kind of dig into it also a little bit. About gifts, one of the most common questions that people ask is, how do I know what my gifts are? We could talk for days about this, but maybe you can give us a little … a few tips or a few little insights, whatever’s coming to you now, on how you might sense that.
Brandon: Yes. Yes. One of the common pitfalls about this step of conceiving our gifts is that oftentimes our critical mind is along for the ride here, and the critical mind wants to make sure that we’re not lying, or speaking untruths. If I was to say, one of my gifts is scoring touchdowns for the Chicago Bears, my critical mind would be like, no it’s not. So all of us have this kind of throttle-thing that says, is that truthful? Yes or no.
But what’s important is that gifts actually, they don’t come with an objective metric. It’s not asking you, say, are you the best teacher in the world? It’s asking you to say, do you enjoy teaching? We’re really looking at it more from the lens of this concept of flow, of being united with the activity of feeling alive when you’re doing it.
For example, I mean, I love preparing for a party. I’m not the world’s best doer of chores. I’m not the world’s greatest sweeper. But, I love that idea of preparing a space for the people. For me, I hold that as a gift.
I feel unified. It makes me feel useful, and I enjoy it. But then, there are some things that I actually, I do pretty well. At least, I get feedback on that I do well like inspiring people, public speaking, writing. These are things that people are like, wow, you’re actually good at that.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I only have to include the things that I get good feedback from others on. I could be a terrible singer, but it can bring me joy, and I’m just going to claim it. That’s my gift. My gift is to sing in whatever way I choose to sing even though other people don’t think so.
The beautiful part about gifts, and this is very resonate with this kind of concept of flow, is that they are generative, meaning that every time that you perform them, your gift actually gets more valuable, it gets better. Oftentimes you actually get more mastery. You get a new level of expertise every time you do them.
It’s compared with things that are more gratifying. If I go and eat a piece of pie, yes, that was pleasurable, but I ate the 2nd piece … ah, man … I really didn’t need that 2nd piece. And if I eat that 3rd piece, I really didn’t need that 3rd piece.
Whereas if it’s for me, writing, every time I write I feel like I’m getting better at it, I really enjoy it. It becomes this thing that gets better, and better, and better, and better. So, a gift will have a generative quality to it.
George: That’s beautiful. I love that. That’s really cool. And, I love that you said, it’s not just because when we think about … when I think about gifts, the 1st thing I think about is what do I do that other people value? Other people agree that I’m good at?
But, you’re adding to this, what I love to do as well. And you’re saying that what I love to do in itself has value because I love doing it. It brings me alive. It’s generative.
But also if I love doing something, even if people don’t value it yet, if I keep doing it, I’m bound to get good at it.
Brandon: That’s true. That is true. That is true.
George: That’s awesome.
Brandon: That is the most important piece. Identify the things that are 1st, a contribution to you. Like playing the guitar. If you love playing the guitar, eventually you’re going to get good at it and somebody’s going to be like, “Hey, could you play that guitar again?”
Then, it becomes a contribution to others. It’s supposed to be, initially, a contribution to your self. I’ll give you the perfect counter-example. Early in my career, I got really good at Microsoft Excel. People really liked it when I did it. I got paid a lot of money to do it. Same thing with PowerPoint, but I didn’t care about any of that stuff. I wasn’t like, “Hey, I’m feeling so alive because I’m good at this beautiful [inaudible][22:40].
A gift, you’ve got to enjoy it. You’ve got to feel like, “Wow, this is great.” I’m having a lot of fun, or I’m feeling engaged or alive, or unified, 1st. That is the 1st piece. You’ve got to like it.
George: That’s really great. And, to not be in so much hurry that it generate money right away. I think that’s part of it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do anything for money unless you love it, it’s just that whatever you do love, make sure you are spending some time doing it so that one day, it could become your livelihood or just simply bring you the color, the flavor and the energy to your life that otherwise wouldn’t be there.
Brandon: Exactly. Exactly. You know that’s a very, very common place I find people stuck in the purpose conversation. They have a conception of what it is that they love to do, but they’re like, “I can’t make money out of it, so I’m just going to sit here and suffer, or numb myself out with booze or media, or whatever it is.” What’s important is that just as you said, George, is that we hold all those areas of life differently.
I’m going to reference a … this is a framework that comes out of a Hindu tantric philosophy called The Four Desires. Out of each of these four desires, you have your purpose, your livelihood, your pleasure and your spirituality. Early in life, before purpose shows up, all of these areas kind of feel separate. There are some things that make you feel joyful, some things you do to put a roof over your head, there are some things you do to experience leisure, and there are some things you do to connect or transcend.
But once purpose shows up, then that integration process begins. It’s important to not think that as soon as you find your purpose, then you have to make a career change. It’s a gradual thing. As you even your purpose, as you express more of your gifts, that career shift will happen organically. Usually, that happens in a very unique way.
People very rarely find their purpose and end up taking … end up finding that the full expression of that purpose is to fulfill a 9-to-5 job. They usually have to create something brand new that allows them to live their life’s purpose and that takes time. It could be a three-year process, a five-year process, for some people.
George: Yes. Yes. Yes. That’s really helpful. Can you mention again what those four were?
Brandon: Yes. It’s dharma, which is purpose basically. There’s artha, which is livelihood. There’s kama, which is pleasure. And moksha, which is liberation, or enlightenment, or spirituality.
George: That’s wonderful.
Brandon: Yes. Yes.
George: So you’re saying when purpose, it becomes clarified, embodied, then those four are integrated.
Brandon: Yes, well, I would say that when purpose becomes clarified, that’s when the integration process begins.
George: Begins, right.
Brandon: That final integration point, or when it starts, it starts when you get to get paid to be who you are and do what you love. That can take three years, five years, that sort of thing.
George: Yes. Definitely. Yes. It’s taken me a couple of years to get there.
George: Yes, just a quick note from the live watchers. Thank you Barbara, who just wrote that “I’m enjoying the interview. I like Brandon’s verbiage and the way he describes things in a down-to-earth way. I resonate with what Brandon is describing.” Thank you Barbara for that. Let’s go on. I feel like we’ve already spent half the time talking about barely step one here. There are four steps to this whole thing.
The purpose statement exercise … I’ll just say that, those of you who download the blueprint, there’s a button. I’ll show you where the button is. Actually, those who are able to watch the video, there’s a button in the blueprint within step one. If you click on this … actually, it’s not clickable here. I’ll make sure to put the link to the 30-minute purpose statement exercise as part of the episode notes as well because I went through that myself, and I found it very helpful to come up with my purpose statement.
Anything else, Brandon? I’ll just assume that those who watch or listen to this are going to go through that exercise. Is there anything you want to mention on that?
Brandon: I do. I do, actually. George, as part of the great feedback you gave me and the feedback we’ve received from other folks who’ve downloaded the blueprint or listened to the exercise, I actually wanted to be able to read the exercise. George, you went out and transcribed it yourself or paid somebody to do the transcription. We proofed that and we are going to include that in version two of this.
If you sign up, download this. You’re going to get an email saying, “Hey, you get an improved version with the purpose-discovery exercise that is actually written out as well in the appendix.” I, of course, encourage you to listen to it because that is … I find that to be more conducive to writing it. The written version will be there as well.
The other piece is that we also launched a 20-minute, pre-training on going deeper into that step one. We provided four bonus exercises to really deepen and enhance your purpose statement.
George: That’s awesome.
Brandon: That’ll be on the same page as downloading the blueprint.
George: Just to let people know, when you opt … when you put your e-mail address in opt-in to download the blueprint and future updates that Brandon and his team will be sending you. Just so you know, when I got the email, it came from Chris Kyle, Christopher, Chris Kyle. If you see that name, you’ll know that he’s Brandon’s partner in doing this. I had to rescue it from spam, actually. Make sure it doesn’t go to spam. Make sure you look at it, read it and get the updates. Let’s go on to step two, then. Shall we?
Brandon: Yes. Yes. As we all know, no person is an island. Just knowing your purpose statement is great right? But, in order to start to transform your life with it, to begin the integration process that we just talked about, you’ve got to start to bring other people into it. Before we start taking any action, before we start to think about what this is even going to look like, who are you going to help with your purpose, it’s important to build a support team.
The 2nd step is build your purpose support team. The idea is that, very similar to a gardener, you plant a sapling. You stake off an area around it. You weed it. You water it.
You’re constantly paying attention to it in the early stages. Because, your purpose needs a lot of attention, needs a lot of care and support, so that it grows into fruition, so that in two, three, four, five years, you have fully transformed your life and that purpose can kind of stand on its own to weather the elements. It can fend off predators. It can just be its own thing. But, until that point, we’ve got to create the safe container and that’s where this purpose team comes in.
These are, basically, five people who support you unconditionally. What does that mean? These are five people who aren’t attached to you, or your life, looking a particular way. The only thing that they want for you is for you to live the biggest, most fulfilled, on-fire life possible.
These are just people who are in your corner, who oftentimes, especially our family of origin, or partners, or siblings, they can be critical of us. If you’re thinking about including a critical voice into your purpose team exercise I highly urge you to reconsider that because the idea is that you just want people who are going to be supportive. People, who are going to hold the space, hold the container for you to do the rest of this purpose activation workbook, but also start to, as you start to live it, and communicate with them. They’re going to give you feedback. They are going to extend their resources and network to help you live your life with purpose.
It’s a really special team. You’re creating your inner circle of folks who are just here to support you living purposely.
George: I’ve heard it. I don’t know if this is the same thing, but I heard that description of having a personal board of advisors.
George: It’s kind of like a company has a board of advisors to direct – a board of directors, sorry, board of advisors, board of directors. I’m sometimes confused about that. They basically advise and direct the company to achieve its mission. Right? Here, with your five people, you’re saying, these are the people that will be helping you do that.
When I was looking through this document I thought, you know – a couple of questions I have for you. One, I was thinking about, who might I ask? Would they say yes? What would be the commitment?
I was thinking, what if I asked these five people to commit to three months and, maybe I even create a secret Facebook group for these five people. Call it George Kao Board of Advisors, or George Kao Purpose Team or whatever. Let’s say three months, and all I ask is that you look at this forum 15 minutes, 30 minutes a week. That’s what you’re committing to. Of course, if they’re willing to do that, I would be happy to do the same for them as well, maybe either at the same time or some other, later down the road. What are your thoughts about how to ask, and what the commitment would be?
Brandon: I totally agree with having it be a time-bound ask because, oftentimes these are relationships that have other contacts around them. Let’s say you want to put your wife on your purpose team, she’s not just on your purpose team, she’s also your wife, so you need to make the ask very specific. Say, “Honey, for the next three months, what I would like you to do, is put a little 15-minute block in your calendar to stay on top of my purpose team discussion on Facebook.” Or, it could be, “Once a week, for 15 minutes, I want to have an accountability discussion with you because what I want to do, is that I want to make stretches on my purpose project”, which we’ll get to at the end, “and I just want someone to report the results. Did I do that?
What was the result? What did I learn? What am I going to do differently to help me think about what the next steps are?” Make it not intrusive. The important thing is that you start out with your why. You share with them your purpose statement.
Listen, this is who I am, this is the transformation I am committed to in my own life or in the world or in the environment. And, what I would like, a very tiny ask, what I would like is for you to support me in that.
Here’s what it looks like. It looks like 15 minutes a week for three months. As soon as they get that you’re speaking truthfully and authentically, and that it’s really not a big commitment from them, they’re probably going to be really excited. They’re going to be like, “Wow, that is really beautiful George. Thank you for sharing that with me. I’m happy to support you. 15 minutes is really doable. I’m happy to do more, or whatever it is.”
It’s just that kind of old adage. If somebody is speaking truthfully, from the heart, people just want to help you. That is just the nature of how change happens.
George: That’s awesome. Do you have any suggestions on where to look for these people? When I was thinking about it, I’m like, of course I can think of some local friends, but this doesn’t have to be local. It could be kindred spirits that you have connected with on Facebook and, in fact, I’ll say that those of us who are followers of this podcast, this video channel, Our Highest Work, we have a Facebook group with now just about 500 people in it who are brought together by the values of doing our highest work, figuring out what that is and doing it. And doing it diligently, and faithfully, and passionately in the world.
If you are looking for a potential purpose team, you can feel free to ask, maybe comment underneath this episode and say hey, I’m looking for people for my purpose team. Maybe you could make it a mutual thing and say, “Hey, I’d love to serve on your purpose team and you could serve on mine for a few months and help each other out.”
Any other thoughts Brandon about whom to look for, how do we know it will be good for someone to be part of our team?
Brandon: That’s a great question.
George: You’ve already said how do we know. Whom do we look for? Do you have any suggestions?
Brandon: I would say that the thing that you want most is, identify somebody who is already on purpose. Somebody who really knows the gift of what it’s like to have and live their purpose. They’re just going to be a much more creative, energetic champion for you. Whereas, say, somebody who’s only supportive of you but doesn’t really know the purpose, will do it, because they sense that it’s truthful and that this allows them to fulfill a tiny piece of their purpose by supporting you.
That’s fine too, but somebody who really knows their purpose and the gift of what it means to be alive and in action, doing something – try to seek out those people. I’m sure everyone knows at least one or two folks who are like that, who are on fire.
George: What about, though – there are people we all know, who we might not say that they’re on purpose because maybe they themselves don’t feel like they’re on purpose. Maybe they’re in a job they don’t like or they’re in a relationship that’s not ideal for them or whatever, but maybe they’re good at bouncing ideas with. Maybe they have a gift of seeing into other people’s purpose and seeing other people’s situation. They, themselves, are not so good at theirs. Is that okay too?
Brandon: Yes. Yes. I think that sounds great. I love that.
George: Yes. Yes. I can imagine. Sometimes for me, ironically, I am much better at critiquing other people’s marketing than looking at my own. I always say that people become my clients despite my marketing.
Let’s go on to the 3rd piece of the puzzle, which is to connect your purpose to serving others. Tell us about that. People, of course, can read this. And those of you who are able to see the video, you’re seeing a table, a chart for how to think about these things. Maybe you could just give quick overview, or however you want to say it.
Brandon: Yes. The idea is that – let’s just say that an important caveat to purpose here is that we are not talking about you needing to express the totality of your existence right now, at this very moment. The only thing that the purpose project does and the purpose statement does is get us closer. It’s kind of asymptotic. Over time, with each project, with each time reviews, we’ll say we’re getting closer and closer and closer, a deeper awareness of who we are and what we’re about in the world.
Purpose projects and connecting purpose to serving others, it’s just a place to start. What we want to do here is move our purpose statement into connecting with another group or a cause. What this 3rd step does, it allows you to list groups that you feel empathy with. In the audio exercise, from the 1st step, you are going to identify 10 things in the world that break your heart, 10 things that make you sad or angry. That is going to be the group or cause that you are going to look at.
You’re going to look at all 10 groups or causes and you are going to evaluate them based on how deeply you empathize with them, so like how deep is the heartbreak? The examples that we give here are – we give three examples, war veterans, the obese, and the homeless. How deeply do you care about their issues? For me, I put five for war veterans and obese, and a four for – oh sorry, for war veterans and the homeless and a four for obese. That just reflects my ability to empathize and relate with those groups.
That’s the 1st way you evaluate that group or cause. The 2nd way is the relevance of your gifts. You look at your gifts from your purpose statement and you say, are my gifts of service to this group? For the war veterans, my gifts are very high. It’s a five out of five. Obese, it’s a three, and homeless, it’s a one. My gifts actually have a bigger impact or a bigger value to war veterans.
The last area is relationships. For each one of these groups or causes you may have ties or connections to use in those groups or organizations that serve those groups. For example, I have no relationships with groups that serve the obese and homeless, but I do have relationships with groups that serve war veterans.
What I do is I tally up my rankings for all of my empathy groups and that will give me a quick, back-of-the-envelope standing of where I should focus my purpose. For the time being, I am going to create a purpose project that is going to serve these war veterans because war veterans is going to rank the highest in terms of my empathy, the relevance of my gifts and my relationships.
George: That’s really great. Can you give us an example what you mean by organization? I don’t know if you can share how you are connected to war veterans just so we have a sense of how that works.
Brandon: There’s a number of great organizations that work with veterans. I’m connected with a men’s group that specifically serves war veterans. The Mankind Project, the same group that delivered this, does a lot of outreach with these groups and training with them.
George: Cool. That’s very helpful. Awesome.
The 2nd part of this step is generating possible actions, possible projects. You talk about purpose project. When I was looking at this, I think this needs to be explained a little bit, especially the whole self, purpose, group. Talk us through what this chart means.
Brandon: I’d be happy to do that. Given that we are looking at war veterans as our target group, there’s a number of things we can do to improve their lives. We can do one-on-one counselling, we could start a blog focusing on veterans’ issues, we could do PTSD workshops, we could give some job training, we could create communities. There’s a gazillion things we could do.
You want to just, sort of brainstorm the ideas of project. What type of projects could you do with them? Then, again, you want to start to evaluate them, evaluate these projects – these specific projects – along these four categories.
One is time and effort, meaning if something is going to take very little time and very little effort, you want to rank it highly. Whereas, if it’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of effort, you want to rank it low. The idea is not so much that you need to go ahead and transform this group immediately and for the rest of your life.
The idea is to do something that you can get some more information on, meaning once you do your project, you want to be able to say, did this work for me? Did it use my gifts? Is it a lifetime purpose? Did it serve the group? That sort of thing.
If you can do something quickly, say, volunteer at a one-day event with vets, that’s generally a good thing. Whereas if you, say, you want to write a book on veteran issues, that could take you three years. Then, you have to wait three years to find out if this is really aligned with your purpose or not. The idea is to do something quick.
The time and effort column, you rank that on a one to five, five being the highest, meaning lowest one on time and effort. Then, there’s self, purpose and group. Self is, would you feel served by engaging in that project – on a scale of one to five. Would it feel good to you?
The next column is purpose. How closely aligned is it with your purpose statement? Is it moving the ball forward towards the goal in mind? Does it allow you to express your essence? Does it allow you to give away your gifts in a meaningful way?
The last is, what is the transformation that this project is going to have on the group? Is it low or is it high? If it’s high, then it’s five. Then basically, you tally those up and that tells you how to focus your efforts in your project. What is the project that you are going to start with?
It doesn’t mean that these other projects are bad. It just means you are going to start with this one. After you complete it, then maybe you jump down to the next one. Or, maybe you redo this exercise entirely and pick a new group or rewrite your purpose statement. This is just a methodology to get started.
George: Spend another 30 seconds talking about group. What do you mean by the group score here?
Brandon: Given our group is war veterans, is this valuable to the group? If you spend three years writing a book that could be really highly valuable to that group, assuming that you are interviewing them, helping them see new possibilities, and transformations. If it’s delivering carrot cake to veterans, they like it – they like the carrot cake – but maybe it’s not really getting at their core issues.
George: I see.
Brandon: It’s only a one or a two on a scale of five.
George: Got it. Like here, you have inspiring shirt, which is great, but it’s not compared to the eBook or to the one-on-one counselling.
George: Awesome. Finally, let’s touch for just a minute or two on step four, creating a purpose project and putting it into action.
Brandon: Yes. Bingo. From this list of projects, you want to list out your top three and flesh it out into greater detail so you can see what this project would look like if you were to do it. And then, from that list, you hold it up and you say ok, which one of these feels like it is – which one got the highest score, which one feels most deeply aligned with my purpose, and just pick it. This is not a total, critical-thinking, scientific exercise. This is just intuitively feeling which one you want to start with.
Then, you list your top purpose projects and you articulate what success looks like, usually that’s completing it and learning something. Then you articulate the actions that are going to help you complete it. Steps one through five, what are the five things I need to do to get in action around that? Then, you share this with your purpose support team. They help you create a schedule and hold you accountable to delivering on the actions.
George: That’s awesome, awesome. Can you touch just for a minute on down here it says Next Steps, Resistance, Feedback, New Project. We could probably talk a lot about those things but what do you mean by that, those things?
Brandon: This is also something that is going to be clarified more in the 2nd edition which will be out in the next day or so.
Brandon: The important piece is that, after you finish your … there is actually two real important pieces after you finish your purpose project. You want to get feedback, and learning. You want to interview all the people who are involved with it, ask them about their experience, get feedback from your purpose support team, and evaluate your own experience, living purposely over the course of the month or two months of your purpose project. You can document your learning. It felt good to do this. This was a pain in the butt, whatever it was.
The next piece is, was there resistance? Were there things that didn’t get done because you didn’t … you couldn’t bring yourself to do them? Resistance is a normal thing. It’s not good or bad. It basically means that we’re trying to do something new, and that part of our personality structure, our ego structure, is resisting us doing that, it’s resisting us showing up purposefully.
That’s where coaching or training programs – where your purpose support team can be helpful, is helping you work through those blocks and those obstacles, those resistances. Yes, I need to write this e-mail, but I’m scared. I can’t.
What the coach does is say, ok, let’s look at that. Tell me more about that. What does it feel? When was the first time you felt that? Is this really just triggering an old wound kind of thing?
Is there a way to reframe what it is that you have to do in the context of your purpose and the context of what you care about in the world?
Basically resistance is understanding where you’re stuck and getting support to get unstuck.
George: Nice. Okay. Awesome. Man, this is exciting. I can imagine a whole movement. I was just thinking, oh man, I’m thinking there’s got to be a website, a movement. How many people can we inspire to create and do these purpose projects? There’ll be example, and there’ll be a tech talk that you’ll give. I’m thinking of all this stuff now.
Brandon: George, and you and I have had a number of these pinball machine moments where you and I are just bouncing off of each other with inspiration. This is our way and I’ve got a whole project very much in mind, with your mentor, three-scale project. How do we get the entire planet to complete a purpose statement? Maybe we could talk about that after the call? Maybe do another call?
George: That’s awesome. Totally, man. I’m game for it. I realize our hour is coming to a close. I don’t have to go in two minutes or whatever, but I would love for you to talk about how people can work with you because I know there are people listening to this right now who are saying, “This sounds incredible.” I would love to work directly with Brandon on achieving this, realizing this.
I know you’ve got two things available. You’ve got one, is the Man on Purpose project. The irony is that most of the people watching the video are probably women, from my audience. But then, a lot of the people listening to the podcast are probably men. So, there are two demographics that we are talking to here.
Maybe tell us a little about the Man on … well tell us two things, if you don’t mind. Tell us one, can people work with you to have you as their coach? What does that look like? And tell us, secondly, what is the Man on Purpose project?
Brandon: I’d be happy to do that. As you mentioned, I am a coach. I work with people one-on-one, and in groups and also coach corporations and leadership teams on getting clear on their purpose and how that relates to their corporate purpose. I live and breathe purpose 24/7 at every level of human endeavor. I really, really love it.
As I was saying, most of my work is one-on-one and it lasts between three and four months. We go through a series of exercises that are mostly based on Tim Kelly’s True Purpose Workbook, which I believe is the best in class kind of the purpose, discovery workbook because it is based on the psychology of this model called the Internal Family Systems.
It’s one thing to do a purpose statement exercise. That’s important. That’s very … that’s crucial. You get to understand your qualities, what you’re good at, what you care about. But then, to actually have the tools to live your purpose, to break up the resistance, to understand your ego and all these different parts, that takes consolidated work. You cannot do it on your own because the person asking the question is the ego and the person in the way of you living your purpose is also the ego.
That’s where a coach comes in and says, “Okay. Well, we’re going to do some exercises that are going to break your ego up into its most important parts. Each of us has got a critical voice, a skeptical voice, a wounded child, an image consultant, a risk manager, and we get to know all of these different parts about who we are, how those parts started, what they care about, and what role they are going to play in our life after we find purpose.”
It’s kind of like this psychological corporate takeover where previously the ego was just competing for voice and mind share. Now, all of a sudden, this voice of soul, this message of purpose comes in and becomes CEO, and whips into shape all the vice-presidents and gets the critical, the critic doing its task, the skeptic doing its task, the image consultant doing its task, getting the wounded child and the risk manager to do their task, but not for their own good. For the good of the whole, which is your life, your soul, your purpose in the world.
So that’s generally what purpose discovery looks like. It’s in a most robust [inaudible][55:38]. Like I said, I believe Tim Kelly’s approach is the most robust, complete, successful in a coaching framework. That’s why I use it. I’ve used stuff from other teachers as well, but Tim Kelly’s is the stuff that I really think is the best out there.
George: Awesome. And then, tell us about The Man on Purpose program.
Brandon: Yes. This document and … there’s a course called The Man on Purpose. This is all part of the Mankind Project. Mankind Project is an international men’s organization that is meant …
George: Sorry to interrupt. I have to say that you, as one-on-one coach, purpose coach, you work with men and women?
Brandon: That’s correct.
George: Those who are gals, you can still work with Brandon. On a one-on-one basis.
Brandon: That’s correct.
George: And, you do it via Skype, virtual, right?
Brandon: Yes. Skype, phone, anywhere in the world, I can coach you.
George: Okay. Awesome. So those of you who are men, or who know men, listen up to this Mankind Project. Go ahead.
Brandon: I mean I also feel like women have just as much to benefit from men owning their gallows and living purposefully because that is what women want. Women don’t want men who are grown-up boys. What they want is a man who knows his purpose. I think it’s just as relevant for men or for women as it is for men.
The Mankind Project is part of this larger movement in revolutionizing masculinity. Moving it away from the strong, silent type of thing – John Wayne, 50s. Evolving beyond the kind of sensitive, new age guy stuff of the 70s and 80s, and really moving it into a place that is at both ends. It is having that strong, warrior energy. Knowing what you care about, what you’ll protect, what you’ll sacrifice for, saying no, setting boundaries, but also being very present to the lover energy like really understanding that who you are in the world is a function of what you care about, what you love. That’s what moves you into action to craft your purpose statement, to live with mission and integrity.
So, the Mankind Project is a very powerful vehicle for doing that. It’s an international organization that initiates men into this new way of being and has these weekly or biweekly support groups where men get to own more pieces of their shadow in places where they are sabotaging themselves, like their relationships and career, their health. They recommit to their purpose, make stretches, and are held accountable to those stretches. They form this tight community of men.
Part of this organization, we said – one of the things we do really well, is create these containers and get men in touch with their shadow. One of the things we haven’t done yet perfectly is deepen men’s relationship to their purpose. Three years ago they started this effort called the Man on Purpose course. It is a live, seven-week course that occurs online. There’s calls, community groups, exercises, and mentors that move men into a deeper sense of their purpose, help them do a lot of that psychological reordering that I just talked about, and then get them involved into a purpose project.
That course starts in May. If you download the blueprint, there will be an opportunity for you to hear more about that course whether it’s for you or for a man you care about who wants to live in greater integrity, alignment, to be on fire with his passion and purpose, and to create a better world.
George: Awesome. Awesome man. That is great. That is great. Just a shout out to one of our commenters, Anna, who has already offered herself to be a purpose team advisor to anyone who’s interested, she says, “I am a natural-born idea-bouncing board. I’m supportive, inquisitive, creative. I have a wide range of business experience, honesty, generosity. I offer myself to be part of your purpose team if anyone’s interested.”
That’s awesome, Anna. Thank you so much. You’re leading the way. Those of you who have been inspired by this episode, please feel free to comment underneath the … on our Facebook thread if you want to also be part of someone’s purpose team, or you’re looking for someone to be part of yours.
Brandon, it’s been great to hang out with you here. Thank you so much for taking your time and energy to sharing this blueprint with us. I know that a lot of people are going to benefit from this. Everyone who’s listening, please you may want to listen to this again because I’m sure you’ll get something or get the nuances that you didn’t get the first time. Most importantly, implement, do the exercise, and let us know.
Brandon is also in our Highest Work Facebook group. Let us know by commenting on this thread your questions, your results, your celebrations, your challenges. I would personally love to see that. Brandon, is there anything else you want to share before we adjourn this call?
Brandon: Yes. If you haven’t downloaded the blueprint, go to purposeactivationblueprint.com. If you want to learn more about me and my purpose work, go to evr1.co. That’s E-V-R-1, number one, dot C-O.
George: Yes. E-V-R, and then the number one, dot C-O. Okay. Awesome, man. So with that, let me end the episode. I always love reminding you that you are taken care of by forces greater than yourself. You’re the destiny of your soul and consciousness is secure.
You’re going to a place of bliss and perfect creativity and complete fulfillment. Until the next episode, keep your heart open and continue doing your highest work diligently and always with compassion. Be well everyone.