Leading Blog






10.28.19

Beginner’s Pluck: 14 Principles to Build Your Life of Purpose

Beginners Pluck

YOUR PURPOSE is not out there waiting to be found. Your purpose is something you build. Being clueless is where the adventure begins.

Liz Forkin Bohannon is the co-founder and CEO of Sseko Designs. Sseko Designs creates opportunity for women and girls living in extreme poverty, but they aren’t another charity. Instead, they employ women in Uganda to make footwear and accessories allowing them to earn money towards college degrees so that they can stop the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families and eventually move into other fields. Sseko Designs the largest exporter of non-agricultural goods from Uganda to the U.S.

Bohannon shares her journey in Beginner’s Pluck: Build Your Life of Purpose and Impact Now. It is well worth reading for would-be entrepreneurs, but the insights and lessons apply to any area of life. Her journey is not what you would expect but you will find it encouraging because it is down-to-earth. Bohannon’s wit and personality come through, making it a joy to read. (She has a Masters in Journalism.)

We all have been encouraged to “follow our dreams” and to “find our passion.” She says, “what I think was meant to be a message of encouragement and empowerment is actually creating anxiety, fear, and serious analysis paralysis.” The message is a myth. “Stop wasting your time hunting for a unicorn that doesn’t exist and instead get down to the incredibly juicy, adventurous, life-giving work of building an extraordinary life of passion, purpose, and impact.” This is one of the best books you’ll find on the topic. And one worth handing off to anyone starting out in life.

She has distilled from her experience, 14 principles to build your life of purpose. I’ll list them below with a comment from the book to give you a taste of the insights you’ll find here.

The Principles of Beginner’s Pluck

Own Your Average

You. Are. Average.

Owning Your Average is actually a remarkably freeing and powerful acknowledgment because being born inherently gifted or above average isn’t a prerequisite to living an extraordinary life.

Building a life of purpose and passion has so much less to do with your inherent intelligence or gifts and more about your posture, mindset, and curiosity quotient.

2. Stop Trying to “Find Your Passion”

To believe that your passion and purpose exists, fully formed “out there” … and is waiting to be found is a kind of lunacy. And it puts an awful lot of pressure on you to make the right step and get the right degree and open the right door so the stars align and you can, in a cinematically glorious moment Find Your Passion.

Passion and purpose are not an object of desire or hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. They are a canvas that is waiting for you to get the first splatter of paint on it.

3. Dream Small

There are lots of excuses that can keep you from pursuing your Big Dream of quitting your job and becoming a full-time artist who can actually pay their bills and then some. So, make it smaller. Go smaller and smaller until you have no more excuses.

4. Chose Curiosity Over Criticism

Curiosity is not only one of the greatest tools we have in building lives of purpose and passion, it’s a mindset that each and every one of us can choose, each and every day.

Curiosity will not only help you take those first, daunting steps, but will actually make you more successful in the long run at whatever it is you choose to build and create.

5. Be on Assignment in Your Own Life

Show up like a cub reporter, new on the beat. Start looking around and ask interesting questions, not needing to confirm your preexisting biases.

The less you think you have it all figured out, the more you can learn.

6. Find and Replace

What if every time we thought we should be looking for THE solution, we Found and Replaced “Solution” with “Wicked Problem?”

We become so obsessed with the solution and we pour energy into chasing it without much regard to whether the Solution is actually solving the problem. We start with and get emotionally attached to the The Solution, when we should be having a committed love affair with The Interesting Problem.

7. Surprise Yourself

If you want to build a life of passion and purpose, you’re best off if you’re willing to be surprised by what it looks like. You might actually build a passionate life doing something that in a million years, you’d never have been able to see coming. And you will never know unless you are open enough to try. You’ll never be surprised if you’re running every idea through a 12-point checklist and making sure it aligns perfectly with everything you think you know about your interests and gifts and experience and natural inclinations.

8. Get Your Steps In

Think about having a Fitbit for your life. Doesn’t actually matter where you’re going, so much as that you get your steps in.

[I made a deal with myself.] The deal I made did not rely on luck or the right connection or permission from someone else or anything else we are tempted to blame for our lack of movement. The deal wasn’t about a specific outcome, it was intended to break my inertia and get me moving.

9. Get Hooked on Making (and Keeping!) Promises

Make a promise that aligns not with what you want now, but what you want most in life. Building a life of purpose and impact is not some mystical, cryptic, cosmic code to be cracked, it’s actually just a series of meaningful promises, small and large, that you actually keep. Do. The. Work.

10. Be Good with Good Enough

What is the least amount of time/energy/resources I can put into this concept/idea/dream before I can put it out into the universe and actually start getting real-life feedback that will enable me to make it even better?

Excellence is not a requisite for starting.

11. Stop, Drop, and WOW

A spirit of WOW must be intentionally cultivated.

WOW TIME is an hour-long time slot where I go for a walk or to a coffee shop and let my WOW run amuck. I don’t daydream or let my mind wander. I vision. In vivid color. I let myself visualize what the future could actually look like. And feel like. And taste like. And sound like.

12. Dream to Attract Your Team

Your dream will attract your team. Asking for help is one of the most vulnerable and courageous things you will ever do. You will face rejection. But I promise you the hurt is worth having a dream that eventually attracts your team.

13. Don’t Hide from The Shadows

The degree to which you can experience true joy and lasting fulfillment is equal to the degree to which you hold space for darkness and questions.

And if we buy the line that “Finding Our Pasion” and “Changing the World” brings only clean and bright happiness and self-satisfaction, we’ll bounce from “cause” to “cause.”

14. Walk One Another Home

We were all created in the image of The Divine to partake in the beautiful and terrifying dance of giving and receiving, joy and disappointment, miracles and mistakes. We don’t need you to be anyone else’s hero. We just need more people walking one another home.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:32 PM
| Comments (0) | This post is about Entrepreneurship



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