John G. Agno, certified executive & business
times in life, people take stock of where they are and where
they want to go. Deciding what is important to us in our
life's journey, including where we may be stuck, is the way
to begin this life planning. The gift of knowing who you are
and what you are meant to do gives you the energy to
transform your life.
of life is a life of purpose." Robert
matters to you in your personal and professional lives? How
do you want to live your life?
"I'll be happy when...."
is the way many people think they are living their lives.
Yet, happiness is not something that happens to you.
Happiness is inside you now. You are motivated from within.
You only have to allow happiness to surface.
= K (knowing who you are) X D (discovering your life's work)
X L (learning not to tolerate what's not
That's the formula for
happiness--know yourself, your true calling and that you get
what you tolerate.
Only when you know your
values, assumptions/beliefs, guiding principles, vision and
passions are you able to bring your true self to your
professional and personal lives. Your LifeSignature
is the tracing of the talents we are given and how we
express them in our lives.
medicine you look at how "well tolerated" a drug will be
related to its side effects. At work and at home, many
people evaluate new opportunities related to what can be
well tolerated. Yet after life, most people don't want their
tombstone to read, "He tolerated stuff for other people
because they paid him." Especially, when we realize that we
can make more money and have more fun doing work that
engages our passions. Life is too short for doing work you
don't enjoy for people you don't respect.
secret of success is constancy to purpose." Benjamin
If you are now taking a "well tolerated" approach to life,
don't make another major life decision until you have
learned about theLifeSignature
Our life work or LifeSignature is the tracing of the talents
we are given and how we express them in our lives.
the intangible "inward" stuff (your signature talents,
assumptions/beliefs, values, vision and guiding principles)
is what it takes to become more aware of one's identity.
Once you know who you really are, and articulate your
"purpose," you can cross the bridge to a tangible action
plan that gets you where you want to be.
people make the mistake of developing tangible action plans
without first discovering their unique identity, signature
talents and life purpose and then wonder why it is so
difficult to move forward.
who succeed in revealing themselves to another find the
dimness receding from their own visions of self. Like people
awakening from a dream, they slough off the accumulated,
ill-fitting trappings of unsuitable lives. Then the mutual
fund manager may become a sculptor, or visa versa; some
friendships lapse into dilapidated irrelevance as new ones
deepen; the city dweller moves to the country, where he
feels finally at home. As the emotional brain clarity
emerges, life takes form.
A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis M.D., Fari Amini,
M.D., Richard Lannon,
you decide to discover your life purpose alone, here are
Become aware of your "inherited or habitual purpose" before
attempting to come up with your true life
inherited purpose (which flows from your unconscious
beliefs) tends to have these characteristics: is based in
fear (your need to survive in the world), is your default
mechanism, operates in the background (where you are not
aware it is there) and is lacking in
One way to think about
this habitual purpose is to visualize a "gremlin" guiding
you through each day. Your gremlin whispers in your ear,
"Don't do that. Remember what happened when you tried to do
that before? You know that you don't want to go there again.
Right?"....or..."What would your Mother say you should do?"
....or... "Are you good enough to do this--especially, being
on your own with all those responsibilities and
By just "noticing"
(without making meaning) when your gremlin is speaking to
you, will allow you make conscious choices. Rather than
acting unconsciously under your default mechanism, you begin
to tame your gremlin.
For more background,
read the book, "Taming Your Gremlin--A Guide to Enjoying
Yourself" by Richard Carson. Click here
"Once the fear of death is transcended, life becomes a
transformed experience because that particular fear
underlies all others. Few people know what it is to live
without fear--but beyond fear lies joy, as the meaning and
purpose of existence become transparent."
The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior by David R.
Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.
If you are stuck, get unstuck. Here's how. Use this four
column exercise to become aware of what "big assumption" you
a. Complete the statement,
"If only, ________________________." This is a complaint of
why something is not happening for you.
b. After you have written
the complaint, determine what commitments or convictions you
hold that are actually implied in this response. Then write
out the statement,
"I am committed to the
value or importance of________________________________" in
the first column. This allows you to transfer the
"complaint" into a statement of "commitment." The language
of complaints tells us what we can't stand; the language of
commitments tells us what we stand for. Where there is
passion, there are possibilities for
c. Write down in the next
column (next to the listed commitment) what you are doing
and/or not doing that prevents your commitment from being
fully realized. This process allows you to move from the
language of "blame" to the language of "personal
d. In the 3rd column, next
to each "doing" or "not doing" statement, write down what
you are "protecting" -- by recognizing a competing
commitment or value: "I may also be committed to
____________." This helps you to notice any contradiction
that is showing up which is keeping you from honoring the
previous commitment. This step will help you understand why
your "immune system to change" is working against getting
you where you want to be. This step allows you to move from
the language of "New Year's Resolutions" to the language of
e. Now in the last column,
next to the competing commitment you have identified, write
down the "big assumption" that is the basis for the
competing commitment that you are protecting. "I assume that
if __________________ ." This step allows you to move from
the language of "big assumptions than hold you back" to the
language of "assumptions that you hold."
Now you begin to
understand why this change business is so difficult and
discouraging at times. To effect significant change, we must
continuously notice whenever these competing assumptions
show up and test whether we want to hold on to our big
assumption. Remember that the process of living a life of
discovery and continual self-awareness and learning is
important but difficult.
This exercise is taken
from the book, "How
the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We
Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey (Jossey-Bass 2001).
After the "big assumption" holding you back has surfaced,
and you have written out your values and guiding principles,
you are ready to work on your life purpose statement.
The components of your
purpose statement, held together by the glue of your
a. Who you are (your
assumptions/beliefs, what you know about yourself, your
gifts and strengths and your desire to be
b. Your core values and
The articulation of your
life purpose becomes your "go to" statement when making
choices (as to what is purposeful for you). When you are in
alignment with your life purpose, you begin to achieve a
sense of well-being, focus your energy and enjoy being in
the "flow" of life.
For more background
on life purpose and business direction, read, "The
On-Purpose Business" by Kevin McCarthy.