Take your purpose to the next level and become deliberate in your work
We hear so much now about purpose in our life. What’s your purpose? What were you meant to do, what were you born to do? It can be a real dilemma for a lot of people. Once you discover your purpose, it becomes a very rewarding thing to find meaning and purpose in your life. So many people today are just existing and not fulfilling a purposeful life. In this article, I want to take purpose to another level.
I have meditated and thought for a long time on purpose and meaning in my own life to try and figure out what all I am missing. My life is very good and I do purposeful work. I don’t always love the work but I love to work. That’s what really gets me out of bed. Some days I just keep thinking, “How I can make my work even deeper and more meaningful?” One day while in the shower I was thinking about how to do my work even more meaningful. I figured out that I needed to actually assign a word with deeper meaning than just “purposeful” to my work.
The word I came up with was deliberate! I then asked myself, “What are you being deliberate about in your work?” That was it! That’s how I am going to discover a deeper side and a more fulfilling angle on my work. What am I going to be deliberate about in my work?
How I came up with this word was reading an article about professional golfer Ben Hogan. Ben was said to have the perfect golf swing and could master the game like no one else in the 1950s. He had what everyone called “Hogan’s secret.” It was later discovered as sports science evolved over the years that Ben’s secret was actually Ben practicing his swing insatiably every day and far, far more than other golfers. Ben would break down his swing into smaller section and improve each section. This made it easier to hone each section to perfection and put it all together for the perfect swing.
Like his swing, Hogan also studied and broke down each course he played and assigned yardages to each of his clubs according to his swing. Golf wasn’t just his purpose in life, he was being deliberate about it and accounting for all the details!
Ted Williams was one of baseball’s greats in the 1940s-60s. Ted was also thought to have “The secret.” Even his coach of the Red Sox wasn’t sure how Ted was becoming the greatest hitter of the time. Ted would asked his coach if he could have all the beat up game balls after each game. His coach said, “Sure, what are you doing with them, signing them and giving them to all the kids in the neighborhood?” Ted said, “No, I want to practice hitting them.” Teds coach didn’t quite believe he was taking the balls home and hitting them. One night after the game, coach drove through Ted’s neighborhood and saw that he was hiring kids to shag balls in an open field as Ted hit them late into the night. Some of the stitching were coming out of the balls because Ted had hit them so much.
Ted also walked with one eye covered up to strengthen his sight. Then he would switch eyes and do it again. He believed that concentrating all of your sight to one eye would give you better vision. Ted never went out for beers with his fellow team mates after a game. He went home, gathered those neighborhood kids and would hit balls all night! Baseball wasn’t just his purpose, he was deliberate about it. Using as many details as he could possible find to improve on.
Clearly Williams and Hogan were living a purposeful life playing the game they loved every day. But so did everyone else on the team and the ones they played against. But we don’t study the actions and lifestyles of players that just hit balls on the driving range when they felt like it or players that went out for beers after the game. We study the actions and lifestyles of people who are not only purposeful in what they do, but deliberate in how they fulfil their purpose.
I understand that it’s hard enough to find your purpose in life, let alone becoming deliberate about it. We all have bills to pay and the fast pace of our modern lifestyle seems to suck up all of our time. As kids we were educated in a system that focused on being well-rounded and a master of nothing. We have a hard enough time getting a job that fits our interests and is relevant to our educational background. Just being employed and surviving is considered a win. Social media is incredibly time consuming and has put most people into a completely connected and envious mind set making them desperately feel they are not achieving anything. Is it any wonder most people are not deliberate anymore?
If everyone would just stop and slow down for just a while, and take the time to really feel the purposeful side of your work maybe they would see this differently. If you could figure out why you do something, you will being to see a deeper side of your character. The side of why you do what you do. Simon Sinek wrote a book called Start with Why. I highly, highly recommend anyone looking to find their purpose to read this book! This book has created more purposeful moves in my own business that has resulted in far more success, (Yes, I made more money!)
Whether you know it or not, you are seeing deliberate work going on all around you from the devises you use to the shoes your kids are wearing in basketball. Virtually everything that you experience that is making your life better or has become a household name of success was done with someone being very deliberate in their work to bring it to you. I use sports a lot as an example. Kobe, Michael, and Keven Durant all have shoe lines you purchase for your kids. No one was more deliberate in their work than these guys. In business, if you drive a Ford or a Tesla, or use and iPhone and have a General Electric refrigerator, all of these thing were brought to you by the deliberate practice of successful people.
We’re not talking about showing up, working hard each day, and going through the motions to just get practice in or the work done and be done. No, anyone can show up, work hard and learn fast. What we are talking about is showing up and pushing the limits of one’s ability until you reach the failure point. Then, start all over the next day and try and push past where you failed the day before. And then do it again the next day!
These things are not just a purposeful self-fulfilling prophecy. They were done and practiced with incredible levels of intention so that you could experience the greatness for yourself! This is call, deliberate practice. Deliberate practice, or also called, intentional practice is taking one’s craft to the ultimate level and seeking excellence through detail. With that level of detail, daily failure is inevitable. In fact, failing each and every day is the whole idea!
This kind of practice requires one to pull back into themselves and get a better and more focused look at the work and finding any improvements or edge that can be had no matter how little or mundane the detail are. Here’s an example of what I mean. Jiro Ono is arguably the world’s best sushi chefs in his restaurant in Tokyo. He masters one tiny part at a time throughout the entire sushi making process. Starting with how his kitchen towels are washed and the very delicate methods he has developed for wringing out the towels before using them. He has developed such and elaborate and time consuming method for even how the towels are wrung out before he even starts cutting the meat or cooking the rice! Can you imagine how ostentatious the rest of his sushi making process must be if even the towels have to be washed and wrung out a certain deliberate way? I would love to watch this guy sharpen a knife! Not detail is overlooked and no detail is to minor according to Ono!
Believe me, if Ono can take something like making sushi to the highest level of excellence to become the best, we all can find that perfect process of tiny details to make our purpose far more significant and meaningful if we start being more deliberate in our work.
People come from all over the world to have Ono’s sushi masterpiece, people thought for years that Ben Hogan, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Ted Williams were just genetically gifted. Apple customers thought Steve Jobs was a nice guy and a beacon of emotional intelligence and empathy and not the iron fisted tyrant of perfection in Silicon Valley he really was. These people were deliberate in not finding their purpose but in the finer details of seeking perfection. Like Vince Lombardy once said before a game, “Gentlemen, I’m not interested in just being good.”
Daniel J Bockman