We all have a purpose in life. We are not here to simply “survive” or “get by.” Each one of us have talents and abilities that make us unique and special. But do we know what those talents are?
Some of us have found our purpose and are using those talents, while others are unsure what that talent or purpose is. One thing I know for certain is we all have unique talents and are capable of doing great things!
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was fortunate enough to find my purpose when I was just 9 years old.
Your Parents Know Your Purpose
I was fortunate to be guided and taught how to articulate my purpose by a masterful coach. As a part of my advanced coach training, we had to do an exercise that was entitled “How do you articulate your purpose?” The assignment was to go back and interview our parents about what we were most passionate about between the ages 8 and 12. Many psychology experts claim that you have already found your purpose and your bliss by that time in your life. I must admit, I was a bit skeptical, but went along with the exercise, not sure what to expect. Nothing in particular stood out to me that I could remember about that time in my life.
However, I was in for quite the surprise: when I interviewed my parents, they told me that Lego was the one thing that I couldn’t get enough of. I would lose my sense of time and play with Lego for hours, and days, on end. Lego! It all started to come back to me. I loved playing with Lego! After my parents reminded me of my passion for building blocks, I remembered how much fun I had with them. There was nothing else I wanted to do, and if I wasn’t playing with my Lego set I would think about playing with them.
No More Lego
Even though I don’t play with Lego anymore (Monday to Friday, at least), I still have “building blocks” to play with. It turns out playing with them as a child helped me tap into my purpose as an adult: what I do now as a business professional is to help organise (and re-organise) building blocks in new and creative ways. The goal is to produce design innovations in systems – for my clients.
In other words, I have discovered the ultimate Lego set for adults.
When I look at a business or a person within a business, I see building blocks that can be creatively reorganised, just like the Lego blocks I played with as a child. I help them along by locating the instruction manual, joining the dots and guiding them in how to build and improve their “business model.”
A perfect example of the application of this Lego metaphor is a property developer I’m currently working with. She’s from Chicago and has her own TV show. She told me she wanted to write a book but was unsure about the process: “Glenn, I am so busy doing what I’m doing, I am not sure how to carve out time for my book. I have written a chunk of stuff, but I don’t know if that is a manuscript or what I need to do next…”
She was very passionate about sharing her stories and ideas in the form of a book and I was eager and excited to assist by releasing the inner child in me.
My job as her coach and consultant is to help her understand the process of writing a book and how it all comes together:
- How to use and sequence her powerful stories
- How to use the ‘architecture’ of stories to construct her stories to teach the valuable lessons she wants to impart to her audience
- How to provide readers with practical tips so they can take her ideas and apply them
Getting Started With Your “Jigsaw Puzzle”
What I have discovered after years of observation is that it can be a challenge for some people to take a step back from complex situations they are close to – like their careers. They are fully vested and very passionate about what they’re doing. This is a good thing because it shows they care and want their projects to be successful.
On the other hand, it can be a challenge for them to analyze the situation logically or objectively. It takes intense focus and determination to be successful, and sometimes that focus may cause tunnel vision. As a result, it may be difficult to build the perfect project that is as beautiful and functional as they envisioned. They simply don’t see all the available options available to them. This is where I come in to assist as a coach, non-executive director or as chairman of the board.
In addition to my client from Chicago, we have worked with a variety of individuals and organizations of all sizes at nLIVEn. We welcome opportunities from small businesses, start-ups, CEOs and publicly held companies. Other challenges we have successfully handled include assisting individuals who are coming into a CEO role without having served as a CEO before. We have also worked with boards of directors looking to prepare for the transition to a newly appointed CEO.
The More Lego The Better
At nLIVEn, we thrive on dealing with complex projects. The Lego Master in me welcomes all challenges. What one person sees as impossible, I see as an opportunity build something bigger and better than anyone ever envisioned.
Currently, I’m working with a set of directors that want to overhaul primary healthcare. They want to do something disruptive and complex that needs some additional brain power and assistance to make their vision a reality. They are very knowledgeable about many aspects of the medical world, but they are less familiar with business model design, new product development processes, commercialisation frameworks, financial modelling and rising capital. My task is to compliment the knowledge they already have by helping them join the dots, add the missing ingredients and talk to their audience using a plain English, conversational voice – rather than an academic, medical style. The perfect job for the Lego Master!
In other instances, while some people see confusion or uncertainty, we see opportunity. For example, we have advised senior executives who find themselves at a career crossroads and may be looking to do one of the following:
- Step up within their organisation
- Move to a similar role within another business
- Set up their own business
- Buy a business
- Reinvent themselves and do something completely different
- Transition to a semi-retirement, project portfolio approach
In each of these instances, there may be clues from their past that indicate what their next move should be. The clue could be something from their childhood or something more recent. My task is to uncover those clues and build on them.
Playing Is Important – For Adults Too
Years later, my life has come full circle: I lose my sense of time when I’m assisting my clients – just like I did when I would play with my Lego as a child. And I love every minute of it.
You might also be pleased to know that I do still have all of my original Lego, in a large drawstring bag that my grandmother made for me. With two boys under ten, I regularly take time out on the weekends to get lost in the world of Lego with them.
Maybe one day, they will be Lego Masters too.
“Meet The Lego Master”
Glenn A. Williams from nLIVEn in Conversations on Purpose with Justin Cooper from Unleash Your Beast .
How does Glenn A. Williams use his super power as a ‘Lego Master’ to help leaders make sense of the confusion and challenges within their businesses and careers?
Find out by watching this short (4 minute) video – where Glenn talks about how his childhood passion shaped his decision to start a new career as a professional coach back in 2000.
Glenn shares his secrets with Justin Cooper about translating his Purpose into his day to day work as a business and executive coach.
Watch out for the final instalment of this fascinating story in an upcoming blog.
This is Part 2 of 3 “Conversations On Purpose with Glenn”.
Unlock the story in this short (4 minute) video.
Vimeo Video: Part 1 “Conversations On Purpose with Glenn” – Now is The Time
Vimeo Video: Part 2 “Conversations On Purpose with Glenn” – Meet the Lego Master
Vimeo Video: Part 3 “Conversations On Purpose with Glenn” – Do your Parents hold the Key?
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