How do you find your purpose and transition to a better life? Especially if you’re “older” and you need and want to transition and transform your life into something better. Something you deserve to make the years ahead your best.
Author, speaker, and internationally recognized thought leader Richard Lieder offers incredibly insightful, useful, and actionable information and perspective to help you transform your life into something more meaningful, satisfying, and filled with purpose.
Purpose is something we must have as humans. Something beyond responsibilities and obligations. It’s having a purpose that gives our life meaning, relevance and fulfillment.
In this New Way Forward interview Richard shares:
- Rethinking priorities
- The four key ingredients we all need in our life
- How the need for purpose is literally wired into our mind, body, and soul
- In times of crisis, we go higher and deeper and how we can benefit from that
- The Overview Effect discovered by astronauts that changed their lives and can change yours
- The daily habit that is so simple yet so transformative
- He offers his 6 Step Process for Life Reimagined
A better and more fulfilling way to view and approach the latter phase of life What Richard offers in this interview is life-changing for people of all ages and there has never been a better time in life and in our world to hear it.
Richard Leider is the founder of Inventure – The Purpose Company and is one of America’s preeminent executive-life coaches. He is ranked by Forbes as one of the “Top 5” most respected executive coaches, and by the Conference Board as a “legend in coaching.” He is a thought leader who has worked with over 100,000 leaders from over 100 organizations and has written 10 books selling millions of copies in a multitude of languages including The Power of Purpose…Repacking Your Bags: Lighten Your Load for the Good Life, and the eleventh which will be out soon, Who do you want to be when you grow old: The Art of Aging on Purpose. Get out your pen and paper because Richard will be giving you not only the perspective but the real and the methods to help you pivot and live your life on purpose.
Reach Richard at www.RichardLeider.com
You’ll also be interested in:
Podcast Transcript: How to Find Your Purpose – Transition to a better life
Speaker1: [00:00:00] Time to rethink, reboot, reset our priorities in certain ways with anxiety in times like this, we tend to go higher and deeper, and when we go higher, we tend to pull back and look at the big picture. And when we go deeper, we tend to look at ourselves and how we’re going to react to that. I think part of rebooting or repacking is to look at, am I living in a place I love? I with the people I love, the tribe we talked about. Am I doing the work I love? Do I have a reason to get up in the morning? Do I have a sense of purpose? I call it the life reimagined process. But let me give you a caveat or a warning. The process works unequivocally. The process works if
Speaker2: [00:00:50] You work the process, helping you find your new way forward to the best years of your life. This is a new way forward podcast with your host Paul Long Purpose, Purpose, Purpose, Purpose Live on purpose, live with purpose. What does that mean? How do I do it? Well, in this interview, Richard Leider will take it from the esoteric notion and make it very real, along with the benefits and along with the methods and processes with which to achieve it. Richard is the founder of Adventure The Purpose Company. He’s ranked by Forbes as one of the top five most respected executive coaches and by the conference board is a legend in coaching. He’s a thought leader who’s worked with over one hundred thousand leaders from over one hundred organizations written 10 books selling millions, including The Power of Purpose and the PBS companion television show. Also repacking your bags and he’s working on his 11th, which is who do you want to be when you grow old? The art of aging on purpose? So get out pen and paper and get ready to take notes because this is going to be incredibly useful and insightful for you. And we start out with his take on how to deal with these incredibly chaotic and disruptive and fearful times.
Speaker3: [00:02:07] There is so much uncertainty, so much even helplessness that so many people are feeling. In their lives anyway, or certainly in this latter phase of life, when you learn that there’s a lot more to it than you thought there would. But now you add on everything from the coronavirus pandemic and the massive changes that are affecting us right now. And we’ll long term, but also the situation with George Floyd in Minneapolis, with all of the protests that are going on around the world. Going back to that uncertainty and powerlessness, what do you do about that? How do you handle that?
Speaker1: [00:02:50] Well, when in times of change, the way that I view it. And I think we all, by the way, we all have anxiety regardless of our situation. It depends on where you live, what your experience has been like, what you make of it. I mean, it’s everybody’s an experiment of one. But with anxiety in times like this, we tend to go higher and deeper. And when we go higher,
Speaker4: [00:03:18] We tend to pull back and look at
Speaker1: [00:03:20] The big picture.
Speaker4: [00:03:22] And when we go
Speaker1: [00:03:23] Deeper, we tend to look at ourselves and how we’re going to react to that. And so when you go deeper, if you haven’t done much reflection and you’re not clear about purpose and values and what you really stand for and things
Speaker4: [00:03:38] Like that, it’s more difficult
Speaker1: [00:03:41] Because the only certainty you can have is your own choices. It’s like I spent a week with Viktor Frankl, the concentration camp survivor who wrote Man’s Search for meaning, who said the last of the human freedoms is choice to choose what you want your life to be about, regardless of the circumstances. And he was using the concentration camp, obviously. And he said between stimulus and response,
Speaker4: [00:04:08] There is a gap or a
Speaker1: [00:04:10] Space
Speaker4: [00:04:11] In that
Speaker1: [00:04:12] Gap is our freedom to choose how we’re going to react to that stimulus, what our reaction is going to be.
Speaker4: [00:04:17] And that’s what is up
Speaker1: [00:04:19] For people now, all of us. And there’s anxiety. It’s like between being between two trapezius where we’re letting go of something on the one hand and we’re reaching out to grasp for something that hopefully is certain and we can hang on to, on the other hand.
Speaker4: [00:04:38] But it’s not certain, and the ending is
Speaker1: [00:04:40] Not certain, either. We don’t know what the future
Speaker4: [00:04:42] Is going to be like. They talk about the new normal.
Speaker1: [00:04:45] Well, it’s going to be. It’s not going to be the new normal. It’s going to be the new abnormal or the new something. It’s not going to be
Speaker4: [00:04:53] Like a new version of
Speaker1: [00:04:55] Normal. I don’t think it’s going to be that way or I don’t see it that way, everybody. As I said, it’s an experiment of one. So one of the things to do is this
Speaker4: [00:05:06] Isolation is fatal.
Speaker1: [00:05:08] Being in that middle of a trap to trap pieces, don’t go it alone. Have minimally a committed listener or a sounding board somebody to talk with so that you’ve got some sense of that. You’re not in this alone and that we’re trying. We can hopefully figure this out together.
Speaker4: [00:05:29] And every politician,
Speaker1: [00:05:31] Every preacher today says we’ll figure this out together. I think that’s true, but we have to all decide
Speaker4: [00:05:38] What together looks like and who we’re going to
Speaker1: [00:05:40] Be with in that together. So there’s a lot of ways to go, but I’ll just say that I find myself my own life has been a mixed bag during this time period. I mean, I write about this, I studied this. And yet when I’m in the middle of it, I’m experimenting with my own practices and shifting to working at home. It’s pretty easy, but I truly miss the physical presence of being with people in the nuances of that. And so anxiety is there. And I’ve never since I was 15 years old, I’ve never been without a job. I’ve worked since I was 15. Well, now you could say, I mean, I do certain things, but it’s really not the same. And I don’t know if it’ll ever be the same again. It remains
Speaker4: [00:06:30] To be seen in terms of the
Speaker1: [00:06:31] Real work that I love to do and got me up every morning to do so. There’s got to be a new reason to get up in the morning now.
Speaker3: [00:06:40] So. I think of I think of people in a lot of these situations in terms of what what do I how do I even get started? How do I even sort this out? I mean, what’s my first step? Yes, great. I can get with somebody, but I don’t even know how to begin. Now, what would be your suggestion for just a starting point? That first big step?
Speaker4: [00:07:04] Yeah. Well, I
Speaker1: [00:07:06] Think there are three
Speaker4: [00:07:08] Steps that I or
Speaker1: [00:07:09] Three points to unlocking or to to remember when the lockdown ends or now both. It’s it’s it’s both. Number one is to is this to have a reason to get up in the morning? And only you can choose choose that when we get up. We want to be happy, right? We want to feel good, we don’t want to have anxiety and to be happy when you look at all the happiness research. It boils down to two things to belong and to matter. So to get up in the morning, we need to feel like we belong and we connect with others in some way and that we matter. We’re doing something that makes a difference. So we need something to look forward to. If you want a good night’s sleep, have a good reason to get up in the morning. And so one of the things to do is to show
Speaker4: [00:08:06] Gratitude
Speaker1: [00:08:08] To others, to thank somebody with that reason to get up in the morning. If you say, Oh, how do I get up in the morning? You know, why do I get? Focusing on others reduces your anxiety. Focusing your attention on others reduces depression. And and so and reduces worry and stress, so if you want to stay sane and aid your own
Speaker4: [00:08:36] Pandemic recovery,
Speaker1: [00:08:38] Be grateful and have make a difference in
Speaker4: [00:08:41] Somebody else’s life.
Speaker1: [00:08:43] And so having a reason to get up in the morning is really what purpose is all about. Purpose is our aim, what our life is about and so when we get up in the morning. What are the choices like Victor Frankl said the freedom? What are the choices we’re going to make and if we make a choice outside of our own anxiety outside of our own self-absorption to to reach out to somebody else? Anxiety tends to reduce doesn’t go away, but it’s it tends to be manageable a little bit more easily. So that’s one thing. So does that make sense, you want to go anywhere else? Oh, well,
Speaker3: [00:09:22] That does make sense. And I also I on my own, I’m going to throw in what your intention and when you talk about Victor Frankel and what he did and and what this reminds me of is Esther peril. If I’m saying her last name correctly, who’s Belgian and her parents were Holocaust survivors, and she lived. She grew up in a in a community of Holocaust survivors, and she she just made the stunning point to me. She said there were there were two types of Holocaust survivor. There were those who survived and there were those who went on with their lives went lived right as a result of their survival. And and that just strikes me as as a point that we all have to make, especially in troubling times. But heck, even in our own lives, are we just going to be? Victims, however, justified and
Speaker4: [00:10:17] Being a Holocaust survivors. A lot of
Speaker3: [00:10:19] Justification, or am I going to do something with it, right?
Speaker1: [00:10:24] And I know Esther and I know her work, and I’ve talked with her as recently as last January, and I agree with that notion. And what does it mean to thrive or to not just survive? And part of that is not just living a good life, a fulfilling life, a happy life. Those people got together, they had dinners together, but they supported each other. They were there for each other. They saw that sense of
Speaker4: [00:10:53] Thriving
Speaker1: [00:10:53] As being connected and not just the good life. You know, I’m just going to enjoy my life like a bucket list or something like that. It’s it wasn’t that. And so that aim. You know, as E.B. White said, I arrives in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. This makes it hard to plan the day well for those people they both saved and savored. They wanted to savor life because it was precious and they knew it, and they survived in many millions that didn’t. But they also wanted to save, not in a literal sense, but in a making a different sense with others. And they saw that that’s really the essence of community.
Speaker3: [00:11:38] Yes, a tribe which is so important for us and even goes back to your point, and I love it of being being on the two swinging trapeze extensions
Speaker4: [00:11:49] And right
Speaker3: [00:11:51] Here. So are you going to have somebody there to catch you or are you going? Or are you going to be the just survive and
Speaker4: [00:11:58] Just stay on
Speaker3: [00:11:59] That one thing which is pretty damn boring after a while? Yeah, right?
Speaker1: [00:12:04] So the second one, then? Oh, please, no, please. Yeah. So I said there were three, but the second one is is the bookend to the first one. And that is so the first one is have a reason to get up in the morning. The second one is have more purpose moments,
Speaker4: [00:12:20] Which is really what I was driving
Speaker1: [00:12:22] Into a purpose moment is where you step in to make a difference in someone’s life. There are fourteen hundred and forty one purpose moments in the day. If you take sleep, that reduces that radically,
Speaker4: [00:12:34] But we need
Speaker1: [00:12:36] More emotional contact, not emotional contagion. What we have now is emotional contagion. You read the news and it’s like, Oh, the sky
Speaker4: [00:12:47] Is falling, which it
Speaker1: [00:12:48] Is,
Speaker4: [00:12:49] But emotional
Speaker1: [00:12:50] Contagion is where we then pass it. You know, we pass on our stress, our worries, our anxieties to others.
Speaker4: [00:12:57] But we need more positive.
Speaker1: [00:12:59] Make a difference. Emotional contact with others. So a purpose moment is that emotional contact where you give somebody else a kind word a listening, a crust of bread. As Viktor Frankl back to him said in the concentration camp, he could give others that kind word that crust of bread that slurp is soup that hope for the future, that dream, even humor. Helped him in them survive in certain ways. So the number one stress buster that beats all the others. Number one, stress buster that beats all the others is that emotional contact. It’s that make a difference for someone and get out of your own way. And social media, you know, doesn’t always bring us closer. Now we’re we rely on it just like we are now, but people often curate what they’re saying and as opposed to being vulnerable and all of that so hard to know exactly how to get this emotional contact right now with social distancing and physical distancing
Speaker4: [00:14:06] And
Speaker1: [00:14:08] And all that. But we do know this. That purpose is a verb. It’s compassion in action. It’s that emotional contact in in action and
Speaker4: [00:14:23] Isn’t as an
Speaker1: [00:14:24] Introvert myself on the Myers-Briggs or anything else or a self. Described Introvert, I have a newfound appreciation for emotional contact after being self-quarantined or being isolated for this time. For those in-person get togethers, we we had a I live in a small community out rural in Minnesota and there are nine homes and we had a Zoom annual meeting of the nine homeowners on Saturday. But then we all went out and walked on our driveways
Speaker4: [00:15:05] Or our our rural road here, maintaining
Speaker1: [00:15:09] Social distance and talked with each other. It was so good to see people in person, even though we know we weren’t hugging or we weren’t. But we all brought up a glass of wine and had our own and kind of toasted each other from afar. And just that just being in the same physical space was kind of a big breakthrough. So have more of those kinds of purpose moments knowing that isolation is fatal. That’d be a second thing. And number three. Number three is really controversial, have less stuff.
Speaker4: [00:15:45] Have less stuff we need,
Speaker1: [00:15:48] We need less stuff than we think I have found. I don’t wear any of the clothes that I that are in my closet right now, I shouldn’t say any of them, but hardly any of them, I’m wearing the
Speaker4: [00:16:00] Same thing most days
Speaker1: [00:16:01] Doing things. I’m looking at all the clothes
Speaker4: [00:16:04] And I’m not a clothes
Speaker1: [00:16:05] Horse, so I don’t have. But I’m just and I look at stuff and say, How much stuff
Speaker4: [00:16:10] Am I really need?
Speaker1: [00:16:11] So it’s time to rethink, reboot, reset our priorities in certain ways. And that pandemic, I think, has has driven for many people, obviously
Speaker4: [00:16:23] Out of work. There’s I’m not
Speaker1: [00:16:25] There’s a lot of anxiety around this, but just the
Speaker4: [00:16:27] Whole notion of what is the
Speaker1: [00:16:29] Good life. And you know, you and I have talked about this before, but I wrote a book, co-authored a book called Repacking Your Bags, Lighten Your Load for the good life and the good light. Lighten Your load, is what I’m suggesting here. And, you know, studies on happiness studies have found that kindness, generosity,
Speaker4: [00:16:53] Kind of purpose
Speaker1: [00:16:54] Moments that we are talking about make us happier than buying stuff. Nothing’s wrong with stuff, but it doesn’t
Speaker4: [00:17:02] Really fit the bill, and so
Speaker1: [00:17:05] My
Speaker4: [00:17:07] Notion here is
Speaker1: [00:17:08] Consume less, give more. And when I look at the good life. I look at unpacking and repacking is so to unpack when we wrote the book The Good Life, which is sold a million copies in 20 languages and continues to sell. Lighten your load! There are four ingredients to the good life beyond health and money, which are obviously big anxiety producers for people and big notions. But beyond that, there’s living in the place you love. With the people you love. Doing the work you love with intention, with purpose. So I think part of rebooting or repacking is to look at, am I living in a place I love? Am I with the people? I love the tribe? We talked about my doing, the work I love. Do I have a reason to get up in the morning? Do I have a sense of purpose? So I think when I say have less stuff, it’s about really rebooting or relooking, stepping back and looking at. So what is your vision of a good life? And are you living it? And if not, is there a reason to reprioritize at this point and maybe consume less? Give more.
Speaker3: [00:18:25] Now I can I can almost imagine some people having a minor anxiety attack going, he’s right. It is these four things. No, no, no, no. O-m-g, what the hell am I going to do? Or even if it’s one or two or three and it’s just like, but it’d be monumental. I’m so committed to this or I have to be here. I’m a big believer in concentrate on on the first one percent rather than the whole thing, because if you think about I got to lose 100 pounds, forget it. But if I think about today, I’m going to lose an ounce. How would I move forward with this, especially if my mind is screaming at me?
Speaker4: [00:19:07] No way.
Speaker3: [00:19:07] That sounds nice, but there’s no way you can do that.
Speaker1: [00:19:11] Yeah. Well, here’s the process. I call it the life reimagined process. But let me give a caveat or a warning. The process works unequivocally, the process works if you work the process. So in other words, you can’t just. Think about it, you got to do it. Act. So here’s the six steps in the process. First is reflect when and you can reflect on your priorities. Second is connect, connect and talk about it with somebody, have a conversation, have a team, have a process, have a tribe. Third is explore and that is, get out and start with the internet and eventually as we get. Moving here and post-pandemic, if whenever explore your options to get out and look at things and visit people who are doing what you want to do or places you want to go or jobs you want to have. There’s no way to do it just by sitting on your hands. And then the fourth step is to choose over your explorations. Where is one or two things you want to make a deeper dive and really get into and make a commitment to try it out? At least that one percent you’re talking about that one small step. And the fifth thing is to unpack. And that is to say, Well, that’s nice, but I don’t have the money. Well, you have to look at your budget and say, What do I? What can I let go of here? Or can I reduce in order to have and not easy?
Speaker4: [00:20:50] This is not or calendar.
Speaker1: [00:20:53] I don’t have the time. Well, maybe something’s got to go in your calendar
Speaker4: [00:20:57] Or so unpacking.
Speaker1: [00:21:00] I know when I did the PBS special and went out to cities across the country on the power of purpose,
Speaker4: [00:21:06] I found
Speaker1: [00:21:07] So many people who and I recommended this to people. I said, What do you mean by Unpacked? And I said, You see what I mean?
Speaker4: [00:21:14] You got this vision
Speaker1: [00:21:15] Of the good life. Go home and take one drawer or one closet in your house and go through that. Let’s just pick a drawer, go through that drawer and
Speaker4: [00:21:25] Say everything in that
Speaker1: [00:21:26] Junk drawer. Let’s say, do I need this for my next vision of the good life? Or is this just stuff I’ve accumulated? And so you start to put three boxes in front of, you need this, don’t need this, can’t decide. And you put everything into one of those three boxes. And if you if the need list goes back in the drawer, if it’s the not need list. Sell it or give it away. If it’s the can’t decide, put a date for a year or six months from now and relook at it later. Well, I had people from all over the planet tell me after the PBS special when I said that people in the audience is 500 people people live in, the audience laughed when I said that. Then they went home and did that,
Speaker4: [00:22:10] And they’ll say, Well, I started with a draw,
Speaker1: [00:22:12] Then I moved to a closet and pretty soon I sold my house because I realized I actually wasn’t living the way I wanted or where I wanted. But it started with something
Speaker4: [00:22:20] Real, tangible. So repack
Speaker1: [00:22:22] Means to
Speaker4: [00:22:24] Unpack certain aspects.
Speaker1: [00:22:25] And then the final six step is is to act
Speaker4: [00:22:28] Is to actually move
Speaker1: [00:22:30] So you can start anywhere in those six. But generally, there’s a pattern there that when I coached people, I try to help them figure out some sort of map of where they are or what they need to do and process works if you work the process. But it’s not easy. And does that help?
Speaker3: [00:22:50] It couldn’t have been better. Take a cup of flour and so on and so forth, and you will have brownies and so you did give a recipe. I mean, that’s solid. That is really that’s what I love about it is that it’s not this esoteric. Follow your passion. Do your dream. You know, you gave me something. I can hang my hat on. I work.
Speaker1: [00:23:09] It’s hard work and there’s blocks all along the way. But without that, you’ll end up living somebody else’s vision of the good life and you’ll wake up when you’re 40, 50 or 60 in a midlife.
Speaker4: [00:23:22] What used to
Speaker1: [00:23:23] Be called a
Speaker4: [00:23:23] Midlife crisis
Speaker1: [00:23:25] Now called a later life crisis or slump, and you’ll wonder why. And then you’ll you’ll unpack at that
Speaker4: [00:23:32] Point and it
Speaker1: [00:23:33] Could be oftentimes like a pandemic. Cancer or illness, disability? Job loss. I mean, something will trigger unpacking one way or another.
Speaker3: [00:23:48] And I can imagine a lot of people either concerned about the discipline of doing something like that, I say I’m a big, big fan of James Clear and his atomic habits, which is don’t think about the whole think about the one percent. If you if you’re going to go work out the gym every day for the next 30 days, don’t think about the next 30 days. Think about at noon today and putting my shoes on. You know, I’m getting my keys. I’m going to show up for 15 minutes. Don’t worry about the rest. But I also think about the fear thinking, Oh, you know, I’m going to have to deal with all this stuff. And, you know, in my life transition to this phase of life and doing pro boomer, I had to really go back, say, where is some of this baggage, emotional baggage, mental perception, baggage, where to come from going back to child’s going? That’s why I’m. But I got to tell you, I’m a little fearless anyway about that kind of thing. I can imagine a lot of people who had maybe traumatic childhoods and such. But it is. It is worth it because once you get past it, once you even just realize what it is, it’s almost a cause for celebration.
Speaker1: [00:24:59] Well, and if the bag is packed, there’s no room for new things to go in. It just adds more stress like, I don’t have time. So something’s got to give.
Speaker4: [00:25:09] Along along the
Speaker1: [00:25:10] Way. And so I I find there’s a distinction
Speaker4: [00:25:15] Between transitions
Speaker1: [00:25:17] And changes. Changes are happening on the outside to us all the time. What’s happening in Minneapolis right now, what’s happening with the pandemic, what’s happening with aging? But transition is what’s happening inside ourselves, the choices we make and everyone’s an experiment of one. This is not an easy
Speaker4: [00:25:35] Thing, but it is a choice. And it’s a choice that,
Speaker1: [00:25:40] As you said, very clearly to be a victim of it or to be a, you know, to to activate, to thrive, I like your word. It has a lot to do with our mindset, what our vision is of the good life. And you know, we’ve added three decades, three decades to life. When you look at just pure raw data and so pro
Speaker4: [00:26:02] Boomer mean those
Speaker1: [00:26:03] Boomers have 30 more, maybe 40 more years. So what’s the purpose of greater longevity? What am I to do with this time, is it just an extended vacation or extended retirement or is there something else? Well, that’s a mindset choice thing. But the biology of it is, is we’re wired for purpose and it’s not going to go away. And so I mean, I’ve been in the neuroscience labs. I’ve been with astronauts and the chief of. The primary caregiver, the chief of medicine for the astronauts and their families at the Johnson Space Center. Who is helping astronauts make the transition from walking on the moon to walking into the next phase of their life, so to speak?
Speaker4: [00:26:56] And he tipped me
Speaker1: [00:26:58] Off to something that I have since studied called the overview effect. And the overview effect is that. We just had a lunch that went to a private space lunch that went up to the space station. But he said that almost everybody who went into space came back with a shifted perspective. They they I mean, can you imagine standing on the moon and looking into the black except for this beautiful blue orb? And maybe the Sun or depends on the time and they came back and as they looked at that blue orb called Earth, they saw no boundaries. They saw somehow a fragility. They saw a fragile planet and they wanted to come back and make a difference to do something to that planet. I think that’s what. Aging is about that’s what Pro Boomer is about in certain ways is not just enjoying and savoring life, that’s a good thing, but also saving making a difference in certain ways. And so the overview effect is that shift in perspective that happens. It face, but it can happen on Earth in a whole variety of ways, and crucibles are one ways where that overview effect happens. The pandemic,
Speaker4: [00:28:16] I think, is an overview effect type of thing
Speaker1: [00:28:19] You see is showing us the entire. Action, the integration of all humanity.
Speaker3: [00:28:26] And this seems, by the way, one of my favorite quotes of all time, and I’ve always been a space buff, but Apollo eight, which was the first time mankind had left Earth Earth’s orbit, that was the mission in which they circled the Moon. They did not land. And it was and it was Bill Anders who was on that crew who who said, we came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing we discovered was the Earth.
Speaker4: [00:28:59] And and besides the literal.
Speaker1: [00:29:01] That’s exactly what I’m talking about.
Speaker3: [00:29:03] Exactly. That’s the overview effect. And and translate it for us in terms of and of of what’s going on with the crucible of what’s happening in Minneapolis around the world with the pandemic situation, but also these phases of life. I mean, for instance. My understanding is throughout human history that that you reach this third phase of life, which several hundred years ago was 40, now it’s 80, the whatever that you really do start thinking about the big picture. What’s my legacy? Have I made a difference and things of that sort? The challenge of these things do it as well. What do I do with that? How do I? For lack of a better way of expressing it, leverage that to lead me toward these other things where I feel more purposeful with what I’m doing with my life.
Speaker1: [00:30:05] Well, I mean, it begs, as I keep saying, everybody’s an experiment of one. But I do believe that we’re only as good as our practices. We’re all who’s practicing something. But is it getting you what you want? Whether that’s in the area of health, work money, you know, we all have
Speaker4: [00:30:25] Practices and so
Speaker1: [00:30:27] The universal practice of purpose. Is that? Grow and give. So I tell people if they’re struggling, I said, look, let me give you a default purpose for a week and try it out and see. What happens, you say, OK, and then I give them some sort of a science. I say we’re wired for purpose and and if they’re saying, what does that mean? And I’ll tell them about the telomere effect or about the neuroscience of the hippocampus and all of that stuff,
Speaker4: [00:30:59] Just to show that
Speaker1: [00:31:02] Every idea goes through three steps ridicule. Violent opposition. And then it becomes self-evident. I said purpose is now self-evident in science. Science can now explain purpose, and it’s getting every day new, new insights. So, OK, I’m with you and then I say, What do you want me to do, coach? And I’ll say, I want you to take out a post-it
Speaker4: [00:31:29] Like that and write down
Speaker1: [00:31:31] Two words grow and give. What does that mean that means if you get up in the morning and you ask yourself the morning practice, how am I going to grow and how am I going to give today? And then at the evening, you ask yourself at the end of the day. How did I grow and give?
Speaker4: [00:31:54] Today you hold
Speaker1: [00:31:55] Yourself accountable, it’s just one of those, another one of those practices where you hold yourself accountable. It’s not just a thought, it’s an action, it’s a verb. It’s something you did that day to grow and to give. And then let’s talk at the end of the week and tell me how that worked for you.
Speaker4: [00:32:12] And people will
Speaker1: [00:32:14] Say, Well, I started to look for ways to grow and give. I said, that’s the power of purpose when you start to be intentional about what it is you want. You start to live life in a direction. And I gave you the direction. But you know, you need to figure out what really gives you direction. So purpose is an aim outside of yourself.
Speaker4: [00:32:36] And this is one way
Speaker1: [00:32:38] To to look at that, that aim, and it’s a very, very simple way. And the ultimate practice, obviously, is at the end of life as we get older and we maybe have an illness, I just did a story for my new book with a fellow who has ALS Lou Gehrig’s disease, who was living perfectly solid life. The way the good life, the way he wanted it. And then all of a sudden, age 50 seven. Yes, he stopped doing what he’s doing and pay attention to his new vision of life with with ALS. And he and he said he said this. He said, I know that I’m dying, but this is not new knowledge. And it is not ALS. It has always been, so disease only changes the circumstances and the speed. So we’re always dying, we’re always kind of the ultimate is that to live a good life is to live a life where you’ve left a legacy. Every single person I’ve interviewed. Paul, thousands of people over and written about it over time, mostly people over the age of 60 or sixty. Ask him what would they do differently? And one hundred percent said they want their lives to matter. And everybody had a different definition of what that meant.
Speaker4: [00:34:05] It wasn’t about big legacy thing.
Speaker1: [00:34:08] And I see all those awards on the wall behind you there. It wasn’t necessarily about those awards. It was about relationships. It was about
Speaker4: [00:34:16] Making a dent on the planet in
Speaker1: [00:34:18] Some way that that outlived you and that you’re here for a reason. And I think we’re wired. For purpose and so spend your life wisely, and so that’s what we’re really we’re really talking about and then we get sidetracked by some are derailed by things like this pandemic and we need to recalibrate and
Speaker4: [00:34:41] Re relook
Speaker1: [00:34:43] At things and. And deal with our anxieties.
Speaker3: [00:34:47] You know, two big things that you brought up. First of all, at the beginning of it, of your of your last response when you were talking about what to do with it in the ultimate practice, and you’re right, once you get going, you know, when you get momentum and where you know the old cliche of where tension goes, energy flows, it’s true. You start thinking about it and you start thinking about it without trying to think about it when you’re
Speaker4: [00:35:16] Driving or when you’re brushing your
Speaker3: [00:35:17] Teeth or taking a shower. Right? The second thing that especially comes up with Ed Wrap and ties into so much of what we’ve been, who was the gentleman with ALS who started
Speaker4: [00:35:28] His effort right?
Speaker3: [00:35:30] And with so much
Speaker4: [00:35:31] Else
Speaker3: [00:35:33] That’s going on, what is it that when we’re in this crucible or we’re facing death or we had that near death, we’ve got cancer or something like that and all. And we so often hear somebody says, Oh my gosh. All of a sudden it became so clear to me what’s really
Speaker4: [00:35:49] Important, what
Speaker3: [00:35:51] Really matters? A lot of us realize that, or at least aware of it. Why can so few
Speaker4: [00:35:57] Of us do anything with
Speaker3: [00:35:59] That that ultimately leads to this growth in this give and this purposeful life?
Speaker4: [00:36:06] Well, I would
Speaker1: [00:36:08] Say more and more people are not in that kerfuffle or that in between when I talked. It used to be that if you wanted to have a conversation about purpose, talk to somebody 40 or over who had lived through enough experiences and enough pain and enough ups and downs that they had a sense of. The broader perspective on life is what we’re talking about here. Now, if you look at millennials or younger people want to live purposeful lives, they want to live a new vision of a good life, though, I mean, a lot of the older things are changing, but the winners are not. They’re still wanting to belong, and they’re still wanting to matter in certain ways. And so I think that is not changing so much, and I think they’re making tough decisions about about the economics of things. I’d rather try my own thing than work for somebody else doing something that I don’t believe in or I don’t I don’t feel connected or I don’t feel worthy of my time on this Earth. So I don’t have any easy answers. I have a lot more questions than I have answers. It’s a mystery in a lot of ways. It remains a mystery in a lot of ways, but ultimately
Speaker4: [00:37:30] People
Speaker1: [00:37:31] Want their
Speaker4: [00:37:32] Lives to matter. And I know
Speaker1: [00:37:35] That you’ve seen this. But for for
Speaker4: [00:37:40] That, I
Speaker1: [00:37:42] Was back way way pre-pandemic. I was teaching and I got a message that my mother had. I had a stroke at age 78 and was in intensive care at St Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, and I was about four hours away by a car doing a speech workshop and was about four or five o’clock in the afternoon. And so I left and I drove home and the music sounded different and the sunset sounded because I knew my mother, I thought was doing quite well.
Speaker4: [00:38:15] She had had breast
Speaker1: [00:38:16] Cancer surgery 10 years earlier, who had taken very good care of herself and but had a massive stroke and was in intensive care and wasn’t expected to live through the night. So I got to intensive care and. Got into the room where she was and asked the and she was taking deep gasping breaths, really fighting for life, certain ways, if you will. And I asked the nurse who was there, if she could just leave me alone and I just lost it.
Speaker4: [00:38:46] I didn’t know what to do.
Speaker1: [00:38:47] I’d never been in a situation. And then I chose. I made this choice. Which to this day, I think is the right choice, but I got up on the bed and I picked her up and I said, Mom, thank you. It feels like it’s time to go. And when I said thank you. She opened her eyes and took two more breaths and died right there. I think all of us and I even get goosebumps saying this now years later. Um, I think all of us want not necessarily to die that way, but we want to feel like our life, we can be grateful for our life. I think she wanted some sort of completion that she’d done OK. And then her boys, there was two boys. I was one of them. The other one wasn’t there at the time would be OK. And so she was a stay at home mom and that was her deal.
Speaker4: [00:39:39] And so that was her completion. I think we all
Speaker1: [00:39:42] Want some sort of completion in our lives to feel like we mattered and that we mattered
Speaker4: [00:39:48] To somebody.
Speaker1: [00:39:49] It doesn’t have to be just our family. It could be the
Speaker4: [00:39:51] Broader or bigger
Speaker1: [00:39:52] Community in certain ways. But it does not have to be about awards and about fame or money or any of the other things. It’s very simply about relational emotional connection in that way. And I think that’s what we all want. And when I interview adults over the age of 60 or sixty five, they’ll say that in one way or another.
Speaker3: [00:40:15] And for me, that’s the biggest goal, I mean, you’re right about all of this. This was prompted by young minds when they were young teens saying, Get it out of my closet now, it’s my credibility. While, Oh, Paul must know what he’s talking about. But you’re absolutely right, and that’s all past. My number one focus is in those final days. I don’t. I must admit it’s initially avoidance, I don’t want to feel like I blew it, like I didn’t go after it like I did. Didn’t mean anything. Right? And then I want that. I want to have a smile on my face about that. So wonderful, wonderful story and busyness.
Speaker1: [00:40:58] We can all stay busy. It’s kind of keep death at arm’s length or keep our anxiety at arm’s length if we’re busy. But busyness is just a distraction in certain ways. What are you busy about? There’s nothing wrong with being busy, but just keeping busy is a way to distract yourself from feeling and really feeling what it is that is there, or acknowledging and seeing what the realities are. And I so I think an authentic, fully lived life has to confront death and dying, but it also has to confront the realities of that. We’re imperfect and the world is impermanent,
Speaker4: [00:41:38] And so we deal with
Speaker1: [00:41:40] Our imperfections and it’s impermanence and we do the best we can.
Speaker3: [00:41:45] And know from from an earlier conversation, you said, how can I be? How can I be so bored when I’m so busy, right?
Speaker1: [00:41:53] Yeah, I do I do hear that from retired people.
Speaker3: [00:41:57] Yeah, and then then then to me, the greatest realization that I’ve had in not, you know, when I first started looking
Speaker4: [00:42:05] Into getting into
Speaker3: [00:42:07] This space and doing this effort years ago, a lot of it was seeing these possibilities and the longer lifespan and the longer health span and this chance to make it my turn. What I didn’t realize until I got into it was how many people were miserable and seeing how alcoholism and drug abuse and depression and divorce and things of that sort were on the rise. And so much of it is
Speaker4: [00:42:31] Losing relevance,
Speaker3: [00:42:33] Not having a purpose. Precisely. And some people say, I just I don’t matter anymore, even to my kids. It’s kind of like watching your
Speaker4: [00:42:42] Kid play soccer.
Speaker3: [00:42:44] You can sit there and root for them that you’re not in the game, right?
Speaker4: [00:42:48] They are. Yeah, I want to be in the game. I want to play.
Speaker1: [00:42:53] And, you know, healthy people. Who are unhappy? And, you know, unhealthy people who are happy,
Speaker3: [00:43:01] And I know poor people who are happy and rich people who are frigging miserable.
Speaker1: [00:43:08] Right? So what does that tell us? It tells us that there’s a mindset. There’s a choice in this. Being poor is not or unhealthy is not what we’re choosing. But if that’s what it is that then we we work the process to get healthy or to get more wealth or whatever. But the fact is that we have to live our lives. It’s a we’re penciled in here for a short time. And that’s what everyone says is that when as they get older, wow, we’re that that go. I’m still the same person inside, but look at my look in the mirror. That isn’t me, is it? And I mean, I look different. Well, when the rest of us, we all look different.
Speaker4: [00:43:52] But the key is
Speaker1: [00:43:53] What’s going on inside with that difference?
Speaker3: [00:43:57] And remember, we’re we’re all in this together and nobody gets out alive, so. Exactly, exactly. Yeah. Richard, outstanding useful information.
Speaker4: [00:44:09] And I know we’re going to be
Speaker3: [00:44:11] Talking a lot more. Great start. Thank you. Take care. Be safe.
Speaker1: [00:44:17] My pleasure. Thank you for the privilege of doing is. I’m really enjoying it and I look forward to the next steps in our continued series of talks.
Speaker2: [00:44:25] If you like this, there’s a lot more on YouTube. Also, there’s even more on new way forward. That’s new way fwt. There you can subscribe. You’ll get a free newsletter regularly, you’ll get special updates and you’ll get a free download to help you step by step. Get going on your new way forward.
How to Find Your Purpose – Transition to a better life