Is Your Purpose A Lottery Number

If we are committed to what we believe, we are willing to restate our purpose repeatedly. We are OK with the quick pick option if we consider it a game of chance.

Which core values are you not willing to sacrifice because they are fundamental to your quest? Which tactics are considered a roll of the dice? If we are not playing the same numbers in every drawing, then we should recognize the outcome does not matter. We have signed up for the adventure, but the work that matters comes with dedicated effort.

So Close

If we miss an opportunity, are the ones where it is inches or seconds from success more challenging to absorb than the opportunities that closed miles or days before we reached the finish line? Our raffle ticket being one number off the winning number. We felt potential success until the final moment. A missed flight where the aircraft is sitting at the gate or a race when a medal is lost by tenths of second. Technically, these end in the same result but our ability to be approximate to our goal can change our mindset. It can motivate us or undermine our morale.

How might we embrace the the journey and experiences we encountered along the way that serve as fuel for our next adventure, regardless of the results? How might we recognize the journey is not over, even when the itinerary is altered?

Pitch It vs Place It

We pitch it to avoid the even ground that exists between our current location and the intended landing zone. We are hopeful that the momentum we embed into the projectile is sufficient to reach the goal. We place it when we intend to be more exact and/or the value of the object meets a threshold to be considered less replaceable.

Horseshoes are easy to pitch and it is a required part of the rules of the game. The consequences of an errant throw is usually minimal and the reward for a ringer are virtual points. Placing a Rodin sculpture requires a level of expertise. We would be held in contempt if we pitched a world class sculpture over the wall and left it randomly in a sculpture garden. We invest in the professionals who have appreciation, experience, tools, time, and financial security to successfully install a piece.

Which considerations should we address before deciding if our intended strategy is a pitch or place?

Helpful or Unnecessary?

When are our attempts to set others up for success redundant? Where should we allow for serendipity? How might we frame an opportunity without announcing the ‘moving sidewalk is ending, prepare to step forward?’ Do we need to sign every vantage point and are the moments that have been scripted as remarkable os those we encounter unexpectedly?

How might we allow for wayfinding without providing every adventurer the same script? Even the Wizard of Oz’s Yellow Brink Road presented numerous unexpected side quests.

Why and How We Retreat

Why do we schedule organizational retreats? Why must we gather in a different location to think differently? Why do we hire facilitators to guide the process? Why do we assemble differently?

Why did we go on field trips during our school years? Why was a field trip a remarkable moment during our academic journey?

We need space to assume a different mindset as we rarely plan effectively when we are in routine. If we seek to engage secondary and peripheral ideas and considerations, we must be willing to get lost in the wilderness. If we have our Magnetic North compass (articulation of purpose, vision, mission, and values), we will find our way and add dimension and depth to the space we occupy.

How might we intentionally make space to get lost so we might engage our wayfinding skills? We do not retreat to predict the future (anyone have world pandemic written into their strategic plan) but rather to prepare for the terrain that might lay ahead?

Hold On

When racing in a mass start event, should our primary focus be to hold onto the fastest possible competitors or be a contributor to the a pack’s success? Is it more rewarding to struggle and suffer to be the final member of a group to reach the finish. Or, is it more rewarding to have raced as an active leader, contributing at the front when possible?

I have spent numerous kilometers suffering to hold the wheel, skis, shoes, and draft of far superior athletes. They have dragged me to better performances than I might have managed during a solo effort. However, I feel a bit unfulfilled at the end. If I simply hung on at the back of the pack, I contributed little our collective success.

I have spent more time actively pace-making up front. I feel more of a reward at the finish and it aligns with my personal values. Even if a ‘hold on’ member of the group out-sprints us all at the line in a sudden burst of energy, I helped set-up our group for success.

If I measure results, the hold on method probably yields higher placings. If I reflect on personal satisfaction, the active leader yields better stories and deeper connections with those I supported.

No right or wrong. Just a reminder that individual choices and talents are not always visible on the result sheet.

Question of the Day

What if we start each day or meeting with a framing question? Something that provides insights and intention. Not a rhetorical question about how we can be more awesome but more on the generative side.

Yesterday, my question of the day was, ‘how might I find adventure while being in a mixed mindset that is trending towards adversity?’ An hour into my road bike ride and I was rolling on my rear rim at 12 mph, a victim of a second flat tire in a ten minute span. I limped towards a bike shop I found on Google Maps which was my last oasis before making the dreaded call for a ride home. Ben’s Bikes quickly outfitted me with two new tubes and air cartridges, plus the good karma of a bulldog who was clearly in-charge of all front door greeting operations.

Back on course, I was relieved to be riding and not headed home in a sag wagon. Quickly, I encountered another cyclist who was riding the same direction and we spent the next two hours sharing a great adventure. I able to guide through the less obvious sections of the bike path (my new cycling companion was on his first lap of The Loop in Tucson) and he provided great conversation and enthusiasm for being out for a ride.

Employing a framing question provided context for the day. I unexpectedly experienced both adversity and adventure. With a bit of focus, I was prepared to head a few more chapters into the journey when the plot took an unexpected turn.

How might questions created a more remarkable experiences?


How often do we start or finish our conversation (and meetings) with a point of celebration? Even our problems can be high quality challenges that 99% of peer organizations in our sector would be desperate to contemplate solving. Mindset matters and our attention and work follows. Celebrate, even if it is a rainy, cold, headwind. It might make you stronger and certainly provides the foundation for a remarkable story.