Answering the Call To Be In Service of Something Bigger
Posted on 27th September 2021 at 14:58
'The majority of people didn’t wake one day and say let’s free the slaves…. The majority of people didn’t wake up one day and say let’s give women the right to vote..... It is because a small number of people usually considered outrageous radicals by the status quo of their day; had a better idea'
At a talk I gave recently, an audience member asked did I always feel called to do the work I do? I told him that a simple answer to that question is yes but I previously believed I would do it later in life. In the meantime, I had personal ambitions to reach a C-suite position and achieve financial security before I would take such risks. In short, I was ignoring the ‘call’.
This timeline changed for me the morning after the 2016 US Presidential Election. I was on a work trip in the Middle East. Given the time difference, I was waking just as the result was being called. Dismayed, I had a deep feeling of needing to act. To do something. I couldn’t put words to it at that time, but my internal axis shifted. The sense of ‘calling’ became more pronounced and I knew I needed to do ‘more’. I had no idea what ‘more’ even meant or how it would play out. With the benefit of hindsight, I realise it was a pivotal moment in my life. It instigated a period of soul-searching around how I was showing up in the world.
I began to see more clearly what responsibility in how I lived my life really meant. Part of that responsibility was not just about what I did and how I used my skills but also discernment in who I allowed have access to my intellect, my creativity, my skillset. It is very easy to look at things from the outside and say we are not personally contributing to the mess of the world. But no politician is elected without a large team of people, no CEO can deliver results without access to the intellectual property of each individual employee, no product becomes a success without willing consumers. Each of us bears the responsibility of how we allow our internal resources and gifts to be used and who gets access to them.
In the soul-searching that followed it became clear that some of my personal ambitions were just that – personal. In a world in which division and hate were growing rapidly, there was no longer time for such indulgence. That while achieving those ambitions would indeed fill me with a sense of purpose, it was not true purpose. The epitome of purpose is to be in service of others. To contribute your life and your skills for the benefit of humanity.
I believe we are at a pivotal moment today. In all the chaos, there exists the spark of potential for a new way of being for humanity. In this pivotal moment, each of us has the opportunity to be clear in what we stand for, what we are here to contribute. Purpose exists in the small decisions we make daily, the contribution we make in tiny ways. The way we show up in life. None of it is insignificant. Everything creates a ripple and impacts the world around us.
As Marianne Williamson notes in this quote, change is never instigated by the mainstream. It comes about from individuals willing to be different. Change takes place when enough people have the courage to stand apart from the crowd. Until slowly this new group of people becomes larger. When enough of us do this, we grow to a size that we are then considered the norm.
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