- the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
- person’s sense of resolve or determination.
With time on our hands, we are reflecting more than ever on some of the bigger questions in life: What is the purpose of life? What is the purpose of humanity? What is our purpose as individuals?
This time to pause, to think, to process, has come at a pivotal time for me. I read Simon Sinek’s Start With Why many years ago now, and I use his Goldern Circle: Why? How? What? to structure my thinking.
Let’s start with why. Why am I an educator?
I fell into teaching after studying for my BA Hons in Post-Colonial Literature, although I have teaching in my genes from my Grandmother who was a primary teacher and my Mum who was a Nursery Nurse. I was told often as a child I would make a great teacher, I fought it, but in 2002 I felt a shift and I applied. 18 years on I have had a great career in schools, I have now moved into Higher Education.
Let’s move to how. How do I have impact?
I am a driven person and I have a strong work ethic. I have worked in a number of schools, and I have started two start-up schools as a founding Headteacher. My impact is with people – I invest in relationships, I recruit great educators and I empower them to fulfil their potential. I love connecting with people and driving collaborations. Nurturing others, especially vulnerable children is where I can see the difference I make.
Let’s finish with what. What is my legacy?
I am proud of the school improvement work I have been involved in throughout my career – playing pivotal roles in driving up standards and moving schools from Inadequate to Good, and Requires Improvement to Outstanding. I have led the improvement of results in various subjects through my strategic leadership of teaching and learning. Outside of school I am proud of co-founding #WomenEd and #DiverseEd.
Another way to think about your purpose is to reflect on your Ikigai:
Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”. The word refers to having a direction or purpose in life, that which makes one’s life worthwhile, and towards which an individual takes spontaneous and willing actions giving them satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life.
What is your profession? Education. I am no longer a teacher, I am now an educator.
What is your vocation? I thrive on empowering people to lead change in self and others.
What is your passion? I care passionately about diversity, equality, flexibility and wellbeing.
What is your mission? I am committed to helping others make a difference, to leading systemic change.
What do you love? I love organising events, facilitating training, presenting ideas and writing.
What are you good at? I am good at connecting people and ideas, seeing the bigger picture and developing collaborative partnerships.
What does the world need? The world needs hope, optimism and change makers.
What can you be paid for? Mentoring, coaching, facilitating, training, speaking and possibly writing.
So if you are feeling lost right now, which many people are, anchor yourself by returning to your core values and do some exploration through reflection on your raison d’etre. Revisit your core purpose and have a go at answering the questions I pose.