Our individual challenge is also our collective challenge.
New year, new thoughts emerging and I am embracing some big questions that feel exciting as we develop our social enterprise and what we have to offer. Big topics like our highest human capacities, how we think about and spend our time, asking the good questions, what is purpose and what are your bold truths and our collective contribution?
Last year I underwent the impact economy advisors training from Scotland Can B. We were tasked with planning for the future of our business, 100 years from now. This is quite a foreign concept for most of us. Especially in our governments and capitalist economies. We barely think past ourselves, our own immediate interests and bottom lines. To imagine how we can plan to ensure the best from our actions and businesses 100 years from now takes rethinking. Yet we believe this challenge is our greatest. How can we rise to our highest human capacities? To look beyond ourselves and care about a future that does not include us. This is the ecosystem Keystone is trying to create through small actions with cumulative rewards, that reach far beyond the here and now.
What does this have to do with business? Everything. Our companies drive our behaviours in so many ways and we spend most of our time working, which is why it is so important to have value led businesses. And I do not mean that everyone has to save the world in big ways. We can all make small differences which collectively add up to positive change. What do we mean? We can all cultivate how to be more alert to what is good and life-giving in the ordinary encounters of your days. This can be done through what you read, what you focus on, what you look for and notice in people close to you, and also what you notice in strangers. Let that shape the larger picture of the world that you’re working with. Be proactive in the life you cultivate.
But what about how much time that takes? Let’s rethink time. We often hear that things would be so different if they had more time. There is no subject more intriguing than time, and time is so much stranger and more dynamic than the clocks, deadlines, goals, and schedules we live by. Playing with time and your relationship with time is often a state of mind. We love Krista Tippet’s prompt from On Being about time;
“We explore manifold understandings of how time works, and how change happens, that animate lives of wisdom and grace. Deep time. Kairos time. The “200-year present.” The quality of “critical yeast” before and after critical mass. We step into this mystery: a long view of time has a power to replenish our sense of ourselves and the world. It renews us to turn back to the raw materials of our lives in the here and now.
Map your 200-year present as an entry point to sinking into time’s capaciousness. It begins with the year of the birth of the oldest person you knew when you were a child, and joins with the hundredth birthday of the youngest person you have held in your arms. For most of us, that’s going to be about two centuries that touch our lives directly and that we directly touch. What does it mean, might it mean, for you to be critical yeast in your world of friendship, work, kinship, community?”
The quality of your questions.
We spend more time on finding the answers than finding the right question. We think this is backwards and how finding the good questions can be way more informative and richer in meaning than searching for the answers. The questions are openings for discovery and new possibilities. There is deep wisdom behind the notion of living the questions. Through our programme, we prompt ways to be curious and find the good questions. Spending time with yourself to discover what is alive in you and how you are connected is the deep, good work we often talk about. Through work and mindful intention, you can make a commitment to the continuous journey of self discovery. Our practice is to help women find some rituals for staying well and those rituals are individual ways to stay connected with one’s self and with the world. If you are faithful to living a question, it will be faithful back to you.
Psychology of Purpose: What Is Purpose and How Do You Measure It?
Over the past few decades, psychologists and sociologists have developed a host of assessments that touch on people’s senses of purpose including the Life Regard Index, the Purpose in Life subscale of the Psychological Scales of Well-being, the Meaning in Life questionnaire, the Existence Subscale of the Purpose in Life Test, the Revised Youth Purpose Survey, the Claremont Purpose Scale and the Life Purpose Questionnaire, among others. According to The Psychology of Purpose from the John Templeton Foundation;
The conclusion that emerges from work these tests and surveys, interviews, definitions, and meta-analyses is, roughly, that having a purpose in life is associated with a tremendous number of benefits, ranging from a subjective sense of happiness to lower levels of stress hormones.
A sense of purpose in one’s career is correlated with both greater satisfaction at work as well as better work-related outputs. In a 2001 study of service workers, researchers indicated that some hospital cleaning staff considered themselves “mere janitors” while others thought of themselves as part of the overall team that brought healing to patients. These groups of individuals performed the same basic tasks, but they thought very differently about their sense of purpose in the organisations where they worked. Not surprisingly, the workers who viewed their role as having a healing function were more satisfied with their jobs, spent more time with patients, worked more closely with doctors and nurses, and found more meaning in their jobs.
In the later stages of life, common adult sources of purpose like fullfilment in one’s career or caregiving for others are less accessible — but maintaining a strong sense of purpose is associated with a host of positive attributes at these ages. Compared to others, older adults with purpose are more likely to be employed, have better health, have a higher level of education, and be married.
Small actions of bold truths.
There are few questions harder or lonelier than: ‘what should I do with the rest of my working life?’. On top of that pressure, a lot of people (Western culture) tend to be invested in us continuing along the safe and predictable path. Many of us are acutely aware that we aren’t very happy where we are – and would love to find a way towards a job that truly fulfils our souls. Although many of the answers we need better to direct our futures are inside us already- we often need help in getting them out, in making sense of them and in assembling them into a plan. If you want to explore yourself further and start or grow your business, we are here for you. If we can support you in another way, we would love to hear from you.
Here is to a new year of bold truths, carefully acted out with small intentional steps towards a meaningful working life. A life where you feel connected, purposeful and ambitiously generous in your desire to leave this earth having contributed your full, true self.
“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver.