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The Purpose Awakening

6 elements for navigating the complexities of the future

As a systems change leader, it's no secret as one begins to navigate institutions, organizations, networks and communities of influence of all shapes, scales and sizes, you begin to notice some interesting patterns. Following the systemic challenges within the spaces of #futureofWork #futureofEducation #futureofPhilanthropy #futureofMoney reveals one clear thread: We are starving for purpose.

The numbing effects from the deficit of meaning has created a system where we collectively live a life of the grind and get through our days following the next trend and a perpetual problem-react-solution way of life #firstworldproblems. While that might have been the dream after the horrid years of our global wars of the late 20th century, the complexities that have stemmed from our collective behaviours has started to open our eyes and begin to question: "Why do we do the things we do now?"

At the individual level might mean: "I want to do something with more meaning" / with workforce disengagement still hovering at the 70-80%, "I want to find love" / where half of marriages end in divorce, "I want to be healthy and happy" / when our staple foods are filled with hormones, pesticides and pollutants and are nutrient-poor, "I want to be better informed" / sensationalism and fake news, "I want more money" / when modern-day capitalism continues to polarize the rich and poor.

Collectively, we are clearly seeing what we fundamentally want is very different and almost opposite than the reality that our systems have created. Accelerated by our socially-centered technologies, this global phase of realizing these collective personal insights is what I call:

the Purpose Awakening.

"We are now living in the Purpose Awakening"

If you look at the bigger picture, it's no surprise that in shorter and shorter amounts of time... how we live has gotten much more complex. What do I mean by complex?

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Within one lifetime we've moved from solving problems very prescriptively: I have a cough, drink some cough syrup. My car isn't working, identify the broken part and fix it. I'm too lazy to shop in stores, shop online. I have this problem, apply this solution.

It's helped us, being predominately the developed industrialized nations, within a century reach a level of material prosperity that we haven't experienced before. At the same time, we're discovering quickly that the challenges we now face can't be solved in the same way. Poverty and escalating debt. Pollution and environmental degradation. Cancer. Addiction and mental health. Gender inequality. Terrorism. Donald Trump (totally kidding, regardless of political views, it's just a funny example watching American politics like reality TV).

Many would argue, if these are human-made choices and conditions, that our way of living has created these problems.

While we may not all consider ourselves as geniuses... this deep level of awareness has been shared by the greats...

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As we are becoming more and more connected, and more global... we are absorbing more information per day compared to years that people have a generation ago. With all these viewpoints, the individual person is now more empowered to make better choices.

The confusion and overload of information has shifted the way we seek solutions: from seeking solutions from the external world towards exploring solutions from our own internal world, in other words, asking ourselves what we really want, the deeper purpose of it, and what that would mean to best fit our own needs.

From the rise of social entrepreneurship, collective movements, geo-political exits, and advances in our technologies deemed the Fourth Industrial Revolution, there has been some amazing-sauce, where leaders have been doing some incredible things that demonstrate how to solve today's complex challenges very differently.

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While Elon Musk, touted as the real-life "Iron Man", might be a popular example, what's most important is to recognize that what he does and why he does it can be modeled to enable all of us individually and as a community to better solve tomorrow's complex challenges today. Modeling success with many other leaders and practitioners in this space reveals many patterns.

At the Phinklife Institute, we've modeled, curated, and developed our programs around six design elements around the future of leadership along-side practical frameworks, tools and skills needed to address many of tomorrow's complex challenges today.

These elements include: Higher Values, Respecting Worldviews, Aligning Passion & Skills, Calling to Mission, Culture and Inclusive Mindset, Meaning and Money

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Higher Values: How we understand what deeply drives us, shift away from our values that create problems, and align ourselves to express our creativity at our highest intentions.

Respecting World-Views: Learning the communication skills, emotional intelligence and empathy to connect deeply with people, resolve tensions and come to agreement around what is important to us the most. Navigate different world-views, beliefs, traditions and learn the skills to help people let go of limiting decisions.

Aligning Passion & Skills: Not just about the paycheck. How to get engaged with your inner-creativity that energizes you (vs. drains you) and align that to the skills you need to learn, develop and further to make the meaningful impact you desire.

Calling to Mission: Clarity, motivation and decision-making processes that enable you to create the positive future and appropriate strategy, resources and steps needed to create and realize the idea/product/solution

Culture and Inclusive Mindset: Developing the mindset, skills, and ability to create rapid rapport with people, align values, and collaboratively solve problems and leverage shared economies of scale and more effectively use resources.

Meaning & Money: Skills to better recognize and realize the value exchange and the meaning behind your impact, and the value it adds to those you positively affect.

As you're looking to develop yourself, or your organization, remember to also consider skill-building for the top 10 skills for 2020 as presented by the World Economic Forum's Future Job Report: Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity, People Management, Coordinating with Others, Emotional Intelligence, Judgement and Decision Making, Service Orientation, Negotiation, Cognitive Flexibility.

Our flagship starter-program is just about to come online. It's a 12-module program that takes you step-by-step to discover who you are and get you to life calling. From there, take on the world!

If you're interested and want to learn more about it and how you could complement and integrate it into your organization, feel free to sign-up at to get updates, or contact me directly. You'll also get a free resource to help you get started.

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#KeepthePassionAlive #thePurposeAwakening #StartYourImpactJourney

P.S. And as always, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and share your thoughts and feedback! I am always happy to meet passionate people from around the world. If you find that I have overlooked an issue of importance to you, or that you want to share some of your experiences, I welcome your feedback.

P.P.S. I like the idea of sharing knowledge, therefore, please share this post with your network.

A little about me... Hi! I'm Duncan So, the Founder & Chief Catalyst of Phinklife, a Systems Change Agency, and the Head of Global Education at the Phinklife Institute for Social Impact empowering leaders for social impact.

Want to heed that call to adventure and make a profound impact, start here at: