Find Your Path via Alignment

Steve Pavlina, at his website, StevePavlina.com (Personal Development for Smart People), covers a lot of deep and practical approaches to growing as a conscious human being. To find your purpose in life, he first advises you come to terms with your actions and beliefs, not what you think you believe or think you should believe. This is your context. If you want to change your context to a more empowering one, you first have to accept what you’ve got for a world view and what you really value.

I’m going to skip a few steps and get to something really juicy. He proposes the concept of living congruently, where each aspect/category of your life (work, family, fun, spirit, etc.) is in alignment because they follow the same set of values. In this sense, you are also living with clarity because once you’ve identified values that ring true with you, all aspects of your life work together towards your life purpose, the big example being what you do for work is also something you enjoy.

To get to this point, your answers to the following four questions should ideally be the same.

  • What SHOULD I do?
  • What MUST I do?
  • What CAN I do?
  • What do I WANT to do?

Align the answers to these questions, and you have alignment in your life.

Find Your Path via Unique Ability

The concept of ‘Unique Ability’ by Dan Sullivan was introduced to me via watching/listening to the DVD program ‘On Being A Man’ by David DeAngelo. David mentions this as one way to find your heart-centered purpose / path / mission in life. Just by going over how it’s defined here has seriously helped me confirm mine.

  • It Is A Superior Ability – other people notice it and value it
  • You Love Doing It – and want to do it as much as possible
  • It Energizes You – and others around you
  • You Keep Getting Better At It – there are always possibilities to improve

The next two posts will cover other sets of questions that have aided in uncovering my vision for myself, strategically critical as a Product Owner.

OK, so let’s read those four bullet points again.

Now… did you feel that? That click? That slight internal shifting of realization?

You know your unique ability. You know what it is.

Can you accept it?

Create & Connect, Supply & Demand

I just finished writing up my notes from ‘The $100 Startup’ by Chris Guillebeau. One of the points he stresses is the sequence of creating something of value, followed by connecting with people to share it.

The thing of value is something in which you are skilled, or is fully engaging, or elicits your passion, or is a combination of the three (ideally, no?). The connecting is sharing, or teaching, or somehow helping others, specifically helping others feel better (or less worse, he actually goes into this a little bit). And yes, this thing you’re sharing should also be what some others would want – go find your target market (…he later goes into it not mattering how many people don’t get it, but how many people do…).

This reframing of ‘Supply & Demand’ I find more… welcoming. Can you feel the humanity? You are no longer in a flea market.

Party A: Cool-looking old books, here! Man, do these suckers smell great, and they look damn vintage, too. You don’t even have to flipping read them – impress your friends when they check out your mantle!

Party B: Why, hello there, good sir! I was just passing through and recalled that my bookshelves do seem a little peckish. I will have five. And here, take some Shillings. There. Good day to you.

To ‘Create & Connect’ connotes effort and is more personal. Somebody created this thing. Somebody put time and energy and focus into making this thing, and now that somebody – me – I’ve manifested something that once wasn’t, and I want to make a connection with you. That’s right – I’m looking you in the eye – hey there – shake my hand. (Let’s bond over the possible commonality that is this thing I’ve created and you’re buying. Have you seen my mantle?)

Yes, ‘Supply & Demand’ allows for much easier plotting of curves on 2-D graphs, but ‘Create & Connect’ adds a human factor to the concept of exchanging value. You might make a friend. Hell, maybe a fan.

My Vision Sources

This ScrumOfOne adventure has repeatedly given me a great appreciation for the role of a Product Owner. Yes, as a ScrumMaster, I maintain and grow a well-oiled machine that produces business (personal) value, transforming stories into functionality and their associated benefits.

Which stories? Which benefits? I’m saving up for my CSPO.

To this end, that of discovering my vector, vision, direction, bliss, heart-centered purpose, drive, excitement, or any of the other ways of describing this happiness-related concept, I have been exploring a number of sources.

  • Tribes by Seth Godin
  • The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
  • Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  • On Being A Man by David DeAngelo
  • Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
  • StevePavlina.com by …um… Steve Pavlina
  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
  • The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

From my study of the above, my goal is to determine and execute a method that will result in giving me what I need as a Product Owner – vision for the product of me, and my various facets. This method may be an intersection or union of the relevant sections from the above… I have yet to decide.

Happiness

In ‘Tribes’ by Seth Godin, he essentially states:

happiness = initiative

The book is about leadership and creating movements where he encourages you to become a heretic – create something people will criticize because you so passionately and fanatically believe in challenging some status quo… and you’re most likely not the only one. Congrats – this makes you a leader, you suddenly charismatic sonuvagun, you. You feel that fire burning in your chest, driving you forward? That initiative? Seth calls that happiness.

In ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ by Timothy Ferriss, he essentially states:

happiness = excitement

The book steps through his method for nixing the deferred-life plan of typical retirement and designing a luxury lifestyle that values freedom in time and freedom in mobility. Once you set yourself up with more time and a greater ability to travel… now what? He argues that answering “What do you want?” and “What are your goals?” are insufficient for filling this new void and nailing the essence of what we are all after. Drawing on the analogy of indifference being the opposite of love, not hate, he submits the opposite of happiness being boredom. Playing the ‘opposite game’ again, we get the opposite of boredom being excitement. (This is confusing on first read, but if you sit with it a while, it should make sense.) Tim calls that happiness.

When I now hear the phrase, “Follow your passion/bliss,” I can see how this thing called happiness, that oh so sought after goal/state, would entail an element of “Yee-haw!” excitement, and “Get out of my way or join me: I’m on a mission!” initiative.