Finding your purpose
How to live usefully.
Everything I’ve touched I’ve taught. Well, not quite everything – there are some things that many of my friends are glad that I avoid, like singing and cooking.
The author Robert Louis Stevenson once said: “I consider the success of my day based on the seeds I sow, not the harvest I reap.” and that’s a saying worthy of some thought and reflection. Rather than focusing on income, maybe we could focus some energy on investment, of time.
“I would rather have it said ‘he lived usefully’ than ‘he died rich’.”
~ Benjamin Franklin.
In 2016 I was a participant in a self-development program that focused on finding your purpose in life. It was an online webinar, and to be honest I attended initially more out of an interest in the technology and teaching method than of the content, however before the event had even started I was invited to lead a breakout group, and then to deliver one of the sessions.
The topics that the program covered were to help you to identify your personal strengths and values, and combine those with the lessons learned from your personal timeline. I found the contribution from my personal timeline to be a fairly unusual element in the process, and actually one that revealed an interesting feature for me.
I noticed that over the years I have found myself professionally teaching a number of diverse topics including ice-skating, skiing, cycling, violin, piano, guitar, IT, project management, leadership and personal effectiveness. History has taught me that whatever I become interested in learning, becomes an avenue to help others to learn too. I also discovered that one of the best ways to learn any subject is to teach it to others!
I remember becoming interested in leadership topics when I was a frequent traveller with work, as I was spending quite a lot of time in stations and airport lounges. It started off as a casual interest, and then became more focussed as my work involved leading larger teams, mainly in a project management role delivering control system refurbishment projects for the UK nuclear industry, and later when I launched my own business.
One particular project in the voluntary sector took my interest some years ago and remains an ongoing passion. It has resulted in my involvement over several years in the leadership team for an online community with some 300+ volunteers in 40 countries.
Roger is a proven leader who’s able to lead through change across cultures. His effective communication skills and ability to inspire others are marks of a great leader. Roger is also a team-builder and has demonstrated time and time again the ability to bring people together under a common mission and purpose. He has been invaluable to our team.
~ Rafael Abreu
It was the combination of these two threads from my personal interests and timeline that were coming together to point to a new direction that was to emerge for me and has become a particular passion and purpose. I was reminded of a quote that said: “It’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years” and for me, that resonated with this newly identified purpose in life.
John Maxwell calls this “The law of contribution” in his book “The 15 invaluable laws of growth” where he observes “If you’re not doing something with your life, it doesn’t matter how long it is!”. It turns out that am not alone in finding personal fulfilment in helping others learn from my journey, and I have found that my greatest reward comes from knowing that others have found value in something I have shared.
Roger has a great ability to get a high-level view of a system or situation and provide a fresh perspective and helpful next steps to make it better. He helps provide leadership for over 300 volunteers in nearly 40 countries. He’s a big asset to our organization and I’m excited to work with him more!
~ Steven Roberts
I am fortunate enough to have learned from those that have gone before me. From some I have learned through reading their books, from others it was the talks they have delivered or from online learning platforms. In many cases, I have been able to learn by putting ideas from other people into practice, and in other cases, I have been able to learn from the mistakes that I have made along the way. Oftentimes it is the mistakes that have yielded the best learning experiences and certainly the most memorable.
“We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours.”
~ John of Salisbury
About Roger Fairhead
Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.
He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.
“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.
Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.