«Welcoming the Change — how can purpose help us navigate uncertainty?»

A blogpost accompanying the podcast Episode 1 of «It's the Purpose, Dear!» - by Nadja Schnetzler

· Podcast,Purpose,Change,Navigating Change


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Why is change often so hard for us?

We all experience it – change. It is often hard or at least not much fun. And even if we are masters at going through change, it can still feel uncomfortable, distressing and hard, even after many years on this planet.

And change has become so present, so ubiquitous in all areas of our lives, that I am at times gasping for air and wishing back calmer times with less big, scary changes that happen every day. Without everything being so interconnected, so complex, so overwhelming, so frightening.

Welcoming change is especially hard if we have no clear reference point while we go through that change. We wish for something stable, something to hold on to, something unchanging, lasting. This is maybe why many people wish back the «good old times»; they were not that good, after all, but nostalgia paints everything in a soft light. So we imagine those good old times to have been more stable, more predictable.

The good news is: You can define and use your purpose to solve all of this.

A purpose can help us navigate change

A purpose can be exactly that stable thing you have been craving all along. If we have a clear purpose, whether as individuals, as groups or as organisations, this can be our north star that stays true no matter the circumstances. A purpose, as we at Generation Purpose describe it, is a short and bold affirmation of what drives us, what is important to us, what we care about.

When we are confronted with change, we are often overcome with emotions, more often than not unpleasant or challenging ones. If we have no reference point, these emotions and the focus on negative things can suck us down a rabbit hole, where we spend a lot of time thinking about why this change happened and what could possibly go wrong next. In other words, we spend time in the past or the future, and that keeps us from focusing on what we can do now, in the present moment. With a purpose – especially when it is written down – we can better detach from these emotions and focus on what we truly care about.

The reason a purpose is a powerful tool to navigate change is exactly that: A reduction to what truly drives us, matters to us, what we truly care about. It describes the WHY, the motor of who we are and what we do. And because it is boiled down to a few crucial phrases, it also has longevity. It will not change quickly, but accompany us for a long time. You can always renovate your purpose, by the way – you will grow and change, and your purpose will adapt with it, but in most cases, the broad strokes of it will stay with you in the long run.

A purpose serves us as a constant that helps us make sense of what is happening around us. And even if there is no or little stability, the purpose can serve us to come back to what is truly important to us. Think of a purpose as your very own superpower that helps you cut through the noise and stay true to yourself. This way, you can listen to yourself and not pay more attention than you want to to what others expect or what circumstance seems to dictate.

You can compare having a purpose while there is lots of change around you with being in the eye of the storm, where it is calm. Around you there may be mayhem and chaos, but you stay grounded and calm because your purpose guides you.

Put on those purpose glasses and learn to be courageous.

Having a purpose is also like putting on new glasses: The world around us stays the same, but we look at it with a new clarity. Things become less important or more important depending on the purpose we want to follow. You see things that match with your purpose while things that don’t fade away, and the people you meet will click with you more (or also less) based on your purpose. With purpose glasses on you automatically do more of what matters to you.

In addition to a completely new view of the world, a purpose also gives us courage. Fear is a bad leader and leads us to do things we don't want to do, it holds us back and restricts us. A purpose calls us to be bold and unafraid. Because a purpose is not a plan but an ambition. If we are truly driven by it, we will take different decisions, even when we are in stormy waters. Because when we really want to support our purpose, any situation creates opportunities, even when the situation is difficult.

Of course, purpose does not «make us» instantly and magically courageous. We need to practice listening to what our purpose is telling us, to filter out all the noise that is not related to it and to take bold steps. They can be small at first, and become bigger as we go. This all takes habit-building and practice, but so do all new things we want to do. A purpose is only valuable to you if you make it work in every day life, or as a team, in every day interaction.

Purpose helps individuals, teams and organisations navigate change

Whether you're an individual, a team, or a whole organization, a purpose can be your guiding star. As an individual, you have the power to define your own purpose and chart your own course. As a team, you can come together around a shared purpose and create something truly meaningful and impactful. And in an organization, you can connect with the purpose of the company and find ways to contribute to it in your own unique way.

So let's all find and pursue our purpose, and together, let's welcome the change!

Don't forget to listen and subscribe to our Podcast, «It's the Purpose, Dear!». It's the perfect mix of inspiration and fun, with a dash of purpose-driven glitter.