by Carolyn Campbell, MA, CPPC

Last week, I heard an amazing interview with Biz Stone, founder of Twitter, on the radio program Fresh Air. I was fascinated to learn that Twitter came about while a group of folks were working on launching a different startup. When the project seemed to stall, they decided that some of them should take a break and work on something that really energized them.

Biz realized that his (and the team’s) emotional investment was not great enough to sustain the commitment that a startup requires. He and two of the other guys decided that they would spend their time on another small project, which came to be Twitter. Biz was interested in creating a system for connecting people across the world to what is most meaningful to them and facilitating the free and open exchange of communication. This commitment to creating an open exchange gave him the foundation to build upon.

In coaching, when we look at what is most meaningful for you and how that guides your life, we often call it the BIG AGENDA—or purpose—for your life choices. When you take time to really look at your BIG A, it will illuminate your path in the world. And so it did for Biz. (Be forewarned: It doesn’t necessarily make life easy…but it makes your choices clear.)

All too often I watch people “fighting” life by trying to get jobs, grants, or business when they haven’t dared to claim their purpose and values in life. Yeah, in business it’s essential that you do. By taking time to identify and state what you do, for whom, you begin to see life through a new lens. You go into the marketplace clear about what matters to you AND more centered on what is of value for your clients, employer, or coworkers.

I’ll give you a little secret. When you really honor your Big A, you become a leader in your life—and in the lives of others. As an employee, you become more valuable. As a business owner, you become more sought after. In relationships, you become more loving and discerning. When you honor the core of you, your actions will be infused with your passion. If you don’t, your actions are not aligned with the most potent ingredient of success—PURPOSE.

DEFINING THE BIG A(genda)

As Biz Stone revealed in his interview with Terry Gross, the people who dare to stake a claim for their life—who take a stand on their passion and purpose—become leaders for others.

  • They believe in their mission fully, so they don’t get side-tracked.
  • They identify others who share a similar vision and align with them.
  • They focus their actions to serve their mission and vision.
  • They serve those who want what they do.
  • They grow their community.
  • They grow their vision.

SO, LET’S CREATE YOUR BIG A STATEMENT!

You may be tempted to create a “POLITE” and “SAFE” statement that seems appropriate or sellable. I dare you…I implore you…don’t!!!!

Don’t try to change the world. Don’t try to be different. Just boldly, unapologetically say what you are here to do. This is FOR YOU in your personal life. You don’t really even have to think that far in the future.

What’s great about really owning your BIG A is that, once you do, it seldom changes. How you apply it might change, but the fundamental value of what you do won’t.

ELEMENTS OF A BIG A

There are three simple elements:

  1. What you are passionate about doing/creating
  2. Who you want to work with
  3. The impact you will have

Here’s how it might go:
I am here now to ________________________ (state the purpose of what you do)
So that ________________________ (it’s really helpful to know who you want to involve)
Can ______________________ (state the impact you want to have)

EXAMPLE:
I am here now to bring people more in touch with themselves, their gifts, their desires, and their personalities so that they can create more personal and professional richness in their lives.

After you know your core agenda, you will start to notice how it can be applied in the world around you. But let’s begin with what really inspires you. As Biz says so aptly, it’s really tough to move any vision forward. When you have your BIG A resolutely in mind, you can start noticing where you might employ it, and moving forward!

Write your BIG A statement once a day (or more) for 7 days. See what emerges. Then, make a list of people, organizations and businesses who have a similar purpose. Think about how what you do might help them. You’ll be amazed at the doors that open, the opportunities you claim and the new directions you take.

Interview with Biz Stone

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Carolyn Campbell has more than 30 years of experience working with non-profit and for-profit businesses. In creative and connecting ways, Carolyn melds her expertise in community outreach, education and business development to help clients expand their reach and increase their impact…using their unique approach to life. Her areas of specialty include leadership, visioning, outreach and community building.