Recently while delivering a training course on How to Be Purpose Driven to a global company I asked the participants the following question:
“Why do you do what you do?”
Most of them responded with answers like “needs must”,Â ”I don’t know”, “earn some money”. And these are allÂ fine, if that’s what we want our lives to be about. HoweverÂ if we think at this level it’s unlikely we will use anywhereÂ near our full potential and indeed enjoy fulfillment in ourÂ work and personal lives.
So how can we be more “Purpose Driven”? Well here’s a story about someone who was clearly purpose driven, purpose driven enough to change the lives of many many people.
In early 2006, I was sitting in my office one Tuesday morning when I received an email about a conference entitled “Inspire Scotland” which was on the very next weekend! I clicked on the link to the website and had a browse.
It looked really interesting with some amazing speakers including Sir Bob Geldof. As I read about the conference a thought came into my head – “do they have a bagpiper to welcome Bob Geldof? Of course they must, it is Scotland after all!” Or so I thought!
Well when we get these little nudges from the universe I believe it’s good to follow up on them, you never know what can happen!
So I emailed the organiser of the conference, a great guy called Mike Berry and asked him had he got a bagpiper for the conference? Within about twenty minutes Mike phoned me saying “believe it or not we don’t have a bagpiper, would you come over and bagpipe for us?”
There’s only one response we need to give when these things happen to us in life … Say Yes! So that’s what I did and it felt great!
The keynote speaker at the conference was Sir Bob Geldof and I had the honour of bagpiping him into it.
Just as I was about to bagpipe him in I thought I’d play a Scottish tune, given we were in Scotland! I asked him just to be sure – “will I play a Scottish tune or an Irish tune?” He looked at me as only Bob Geldof can with his messy grey hair and said as only Bob Geldof can in a gruff yet friendly tone – “play a f…ken Irish tune, will ye!!!”
So I did and off we went into the conference to one amazing reception! After the cheers and applauses quietened down Bob began to give his keynote speech.
During it he spoke about Live Aid and how it all started back in 1985. He said that when he saw the starving kids in Africa he was moved to action, moved to massive action! The initial financial goal Midg Ure and himself set was to raise $75,000.
During his talk he also quoted the famous quote by the Scottish Mountaineer, W. H. Murray (1913-1996)
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!
Was this true for Live Aid? Absolutely. As Bob Geldof continued he said “yes we began with a goal of $75,000 but now (2006) $220million dollars later we’re still going!”. Needless to say many millions of people have been fed because of this.
Such is the power of aligning our purpose, whether that be a personal purpose, a business purpose or any organisational purpose, to a cause that is greater than any personal egotistical agenda. We never know how far it will go and how many people or positive causes it will benefit. When the purpose is for a greater good, it’s amazing what miracles can happen. Create one, commit to it and “providence will move too”!
Here’s a video (3.33 mins) of part of Bob Geldof’s speech at the Inspire Conference in 2006:
Sean M Kelly