There is a lot of talk about how purpose is key for men. Without it we are rudderless. Well, here is a TED video of Jacqueline Novogratz, the founder and CEO of the Acumen Fund, speaking on the power of men immersing themselves in their purpose.
From the TED site –
We each want to live a life of purpose, but where to start? In this luminous, wide-ranging talk, Jacqueline Novogratz introduces us to people she’s met in her work in “patient capital” — people who have immersed themselves in a cause, a community, a passion for justice. These human stories carry powerful moments of inspiration.
Jacqueline starts out speaking about the fundamental choice – change versus fear. I know as a man I am often put into a situation where I need to choose between being controlled by my fears and the problems of the day, or taking a stand for the change that is needed. Do I immerse myself in the problem so much that I transform it as my body transforms the food I ingest?
“Our job is not to be perfect, it is to be human.” I see myself and other men lose our power in the moment by focusing on the fear of not being or doing the perfect thing. You can hear in Jacqueline’s talk how the people of the undeveloped world don’t have the privilege of perfection. They are immersed in survival – making it work, perfect or imperfect as it can be. As Seth Godin would say, they are shipping.
She also reminds us that change happens with a cost – sacrifice. When you have nothing to lose you aren’t sacrificing much. When you were given or created the ‘perfect’ life there is a lot at risk. As much as we may not want to admit it, our privileged life can be at risk if we stand for change. Yet, as Jacqueline admits, what is the cost of not trying? For 30 years I have seen men who sacrificed change for that privileged life only to wake up feeling the pain and cost later.
There may not be anything more depressing than to realize your 40 years of hard work took you to a place of not being alive. When you look in the mirror do you see a man of purpose? Do you see a man of success? Don’t get me wrong – I am all for success. When you immersed yourself in a world that was not yours to achieve that success you paid a huge price. Your misdirected efforts have left you with the material rewards, but does your soul grieve for more?
Jacqueline’s story about Native American elders looking back from the point of view of seven generations in the future gives you perspective. As she says about these elders; you naturally become stewards of your dominion so these future generations will have what they need. You and your purpose create a legacy that not only gives these future generations a future; it gives you the remuneration of standing in your purpose.
Honor the past to build the promise of our future.
Even with all the recent talk of how investing in women in the third world produces a better return, Jacqueline champions the need to support men and boys. “Monsters exist in all of us – maybe it is broken parts of us… it is easy for demigods to pray on those parts. Young men are the most vulnerable. We have to remember… where men and boys are disempowered… where they feel there is no possibilities…status comes from a uniform and a gun.”
“We yearn to be visible. People want to celebrate what is beautiful.” There is the portal we can travel through to find our place and to effect change, to raise the moral standard together. I always have to allow my ego to sit down from wanting the immediate attention and recognition of creating change. Hearing the stories of how many of her “fellows” left a privileged life to immerse themselves in a third world environment reminds me that if we are going to effect the change we want it will be individuals acting independently producing that change collectively.
Over the weeks, months and years of sitting weekly we see with the men in our men’s groups the tremendous deep change that only occurs over time rippling through each man’s family, work and community. This immersion in our lives in this way to create the change we want.
What does this video inspire you to do?