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Are You On The Right Train?

by Keerat

By Dr Lizzy Bernthal – Sixth Sense Consulting

 

Are you on the right train, on the right track going to the right destination?

Why are you here on this planet?!

Have you even thought about this or ever dreamed that you could love work so much that it doesn’t feel like you are working at all?!

So, what is your train, your track and so your purpose and the legacy that you want to create?

This is both individually and as part of this extraordinary collaborative community of Collaboration Global.

 

Do you jump out of bed each morning excited about what you are going to create? Or…. ‘‘Alright for you, impossible for me, a pipe dream– just need to get through my day thanks!” Are you feeling a little burnt out? I thought and felt like that too until I found my purpose. So how did I found my train and track – my purpose and the legacy that I want to create. How can you find yours? ‘WHY’ is it important?

 

 

So, what does ‘purpose’ mean in this context?

A sense of purpose means dedicating yourself to a cause beyond yourself. It’s a goal that fuels your motivation in life, giving your life meaning and direction, inspiring you to make a significant contribution to the world.” (Rose, 2021)

The great news is that resilience comes naturally once we know our ‘why’! Want success? Great news! Individuals and businesses that have been successful during Covid-19 are those that have such a strong sense of purpose that they have ensured they have continued to fulfil it no matter what they are faced with, even if they have needed to pivot in the process to meet it.

 

So how did I come to define my purpose?

I never thought of my purpose or what train I was on during my 25 years serving in the Army as a midwifery Nursing Officer and researcher in resilience, psychological well-being and ethical decision-making. All I knew was that I wanted to be on the train that made a difference and to be on the track of being an advocate for others when they were feeling vulnerable – whether it be my patients, my team, my research participants or all the military nurses I met globally.

 

What about the values carriage on the train?

I had been brought up as a child in an environment in which having a great sense of justice, respect for others, integrity, loyalty, selfless commitment was paramount. I had no idea that these were the values of the Army. No wonder, as I became 8th generation Army with both my parents and 3 uncles having served, 2 uncles of whom I never met as they were killed in Action before I was born.

We have commissioning scrolls from every sovereign back to Queen Victoria in our hall. You might think it was inevitable that I joined the Army, this was not the case. My parents never influenced me, my father had left the Army when I was 6 years old, In fact it was only after I had worked in Hong Kong as a midwife that I came across the Army again and thought maybe it was for me at the tender age of 26. It was my choice entirely.

 

 

It wasn’t until I was approaching the end of my military career when I was thinking about what next that I reflected on my career to date. I acknowledged the common thread of my ‘purpose’ train, my passion to support others to find their voice, creating opportunities for nurses to advance academically present, present at conferences, get their work published and to fight their corner so they felt heard in a male dominated, rank, medical focused hierarchy. I felt so privileged to be able to support so many extraordinary inspiring individuals.

However… when I was back in the office with my boss, I felt intimidated, and looking back, I felt a victim, happily standing up for others, not for myself as I felt a little broken. I felt like a little 8-year-old girl being told off by the teacher – ‘see me’ written in red at the bottom of my homework. I put on my Army uniform every day as it was my body armour and helmet that I had worn in Afghanistan. Yet it was not protecting me from feeling like a victim, only I could protect me, to take full responsibility for my thoughts, feelings and actions. Until one day when my boss had gone behind by back, enough was enough!

 

I felt angry, really angry – very rare for me, always the hard worker who got on with the job. We had our monthly meeting, the issue of the research project in which he had undermined me came up. It was my defining moment, I woke up – enough no more! I stood up, said my piece, there was an awkward silence, I continued. From previous conversations I knew I was saying what the others had not risked saying that had to be said, they thanked me afterwards for speaking up.

In that moment suddenly my life made sense, I owned who I was, stood tall, found my voice, never to be walked over again. I found the right train, my purpose, my vision of what I wanted the world to look like, my ‘why’, my passion, the difference I want to make in the world in line with my values. I realised I wanted to support leaders to get on the authentic leaders standing tall train.

I wanted to create an express train where they could find their confidence that is already within them, even if they did not know yet, to own all of who they are as victorious authentic innovative leaders, no need to wait for the slow train like I had done. I wanted to be the one to help them to travel 1st class by plucking out their weeds in their metaphorical garden so that they could realise how awesome they are. However, to do this I had to pluck out a few of my own weeds – a whole garden and train full in fact!

I found a coach and decided to qualify as a coach myself for my next career, set up my own business – no uniform after 53 years (I had started wearing uniform at the age of 3 at nursery!). When it comes from your heart, nothing else matters, nothing is right or wrong, a sense of freedom, without fear of judgement, criticism, comparison to others. The excitement of being able to wear pink nail varnish every day not just on holiday – so liberating!

 

Magic started to happen; I knew I was on the right train. I started to sleep better at night, I had more energy, I ditched the medication, I started to feel I was living again. It wasn’t until my farewell Army regimental dinner (that I had originally been reluctant to attend as did not feel it appropriate to be the centre of attention!) that one of my team who I had led 15 years before came up to me to thanked me for my legacy. I was shocked – I had no idea I had created one!

He thanked me for fighting the corner for nurses to study at PhD level for the 1st time, for making it mainstream for nurses to study to Masters level, for creating a culture where 1 nurse was funded annually to study for a PhD, my work to support military nurses’ empowerment globally, for giving them a voice in publications and at conferences that I had created for them. It highlighted to me that we never know who is watching our train from the sidings!

 

So how to define your purpose, find your train?

Simon Sinek reminds us that finding our ‘WHY’ is the one constant that will guide us towards fulfilment in our work and life. We cannot separate our business from our life if we have our vision and purpose correct. Sit quietly and ask yourself the question ‘WHY am I working?’ and ‘what’s the benefit of this?’ at least 7 times, until it hits you with emotion like it did me that day – then…you know you are on the right train on the right track. Then tell friends and family, see their response of ‘WOW!

 

So, what is your train that is unique to you and what is your track?

Once you have found it, you are not worried about the destination because you are so enjoying the journey. I’d love to hear how you get on as you create your purpose driven life! Collaboration Global is an extraordinary express train to be on – the wanting to make a difference and create a legacy train! We are on this journey together!

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