Sitting down to write contact emails to potential business partners can sometimes err on the painful side (I’m not the most gifted “formal proposal letter” writer), I came across an FB post on a quote by Michel de Montaigne, a 16th century French philosopher who lived at a time when France was wracked by civil war, famine and disease.
Much as the quote is in the image, I want to share it again, and share my thoughts a little on what this means for working with people as a coach/guide.
“The great and glorious masterpiece of man is how to live with purpose.”
When Michel was thinking about this statement of intent, I’m going to risk a mind-read and suggest that he wasn’t talking about a particular goal. Like cleaning the basement? Improve work performance to get that promotion? I don’t think so. Such examples might best be considered as particular goals, ie. they have a fairly well-defined beginning, middle and ending.
So we might go so far as to interpret Montaigne’s wisdom as referring to some grander, greater, visionary-like intent that spans a stream of goals, as way-points that honour that purpose.
A purpose is a vision, not a clearly definable end-point. A purpose is multi-layered, embedding our attitudes, values and their meaning in our lives. A purpose inspires and ignites the “Soul”, which seems to me to be that ineffable, timeless, deepest – and mostly unconscious – sense of self we each encounter in those moments in life that define us. Do we follow those old, trusty ruts in the track, following everyone else for the sake of acceptance, or do we ask deeper questions of ourselves?
A purpose as a vision is (hopefully) not about “me”, it is about “we”. Through synthesising our mundane goals in service of a greater purpose – whatever that purpose may be – the road before us, and of our intrinsic trust in life, we acknowledge the Call of Self, our deepest, highest selves.