Make 2024 the Year to Live with Purpose!
In order to live the purposeful life you desire, over the next four weeks, we will explore the Four Stages of Fulfillment—a framework for understanding the motivation behind what you do daily. We begin here with a graphic of the brain science that underlies our understanding of our decision-making process.
Training the Primal Brain to Serve Your Purpose
It can be difficult to live with purpose. When we are busy doing, we receive short-term energy through stress hormones like adrenaline, endorphins, and dopamine. Supportive in small doses, they push and prepare us to act. They drive us to meet our primary needs to gain a feeling of physical and emotional fulfillment.
These hormones, along with our ego, keep us focused on our needs in the short term. Each of us has intentions that go beyond our actions, but do our actions create the better future we desire?
To keep things simple, we look at our brain as having two parts: the primal brain protects us by acting on instinct to evaluate threats, while the wise brain continually develops to enable us to look into the future and see what we can do today to make tomorrow better. When deciding on the right thing to do, one of these brains is dominant over the other. Let’s respect that we face this challenge with all decisions we make, especially when under pressure.
As babies, we operate from the primal brain, and it will always be our safety default, but with practice, like any musician or athlete, we can train the primal brain to STOP and defer to the wise brain before acting. There is a delay—yes, very small—between receiving the stimulus and responding, but that delay permits us to teach the primal brain that the noise we just heard was not a gunshot but the kids slamming the door coming home from school.
By training the primal brain to delay and recognize the long-term threat, we create greater safety and security for ourselves and others. We then feel the effects of what some call the happiness hormones—the stress blockers oxytocin and serotonin. Then, we appreciate the sacrifices and delayed gratification needed to create the safety and security we desire, and the incredible feelings become reinforcing!
It isn’t always easy to stop and consider why we are doing what we do—or always connect it to our life’s purpose. We can feel discomfort when we ask ourselves or are asked by others why we are doing something. It’s easy to become accustomed and desensitized to the toll that endorphins, dopamine, and adrenaline take on us as they keep us in motion. We don’t stop and think about why we do what we do, even when it may not feel right. We in America take great pride in putting our noses to the grindstone; we get about taking action and staying busy. We are energized by checking off items on our to-do list—to always keep going. We are wired for short-term gratification!
Using the Four Stages of Fulfillment to Live Life on Purpose
We present the Four Stages of Fulfillment to you as an invitation to step away from the stress cycle of doing. Instead, we can think about our motivations/intentions and connect them to the meaningful purpose of our actions. What Stage of Fulfillment are we seeking? While this may be the most challenging part of our life’s purpose-filled journey, it unlocks the door to living the meaningful and fulfilling life we each are seeking.
After the first day of a two-day retreat for twenty leaders on Unleashing Your Foundation of Greatness, one of the participants exclaimed, “We have no idea what you are talking about!” He was confused about the challenge to take time—time he did not have—to think about the motivation behind his actions. He was part of a group seeking greater flow in their work. He was confused; he did not have enough time in his day to think about why he was doing.
After the second day, a light went on for all of them. You could see each of them slowing down and reflecting on this issue: Why do I think we will be more successful and productive simply because I am busy?
There is a deep and meaningful purpose that resides inside each of us. We have primal needs that must be met for sustainability, but how do we delay some immediate gratification for that deeper, more meaningful life we desire? We hope our work can help you with a deeper connection to your own purpose. Here’s to starting 2024 on Purpose!
#Leadership #ShiftFromMeToTeam #Purpose #FourStagesOfFulfillment