A letter to yourself

Last week as I sat listening to the remarkable line up of speakers and experts on SPECTRA, I would not help but notice the emphasis placed by many of them on the purpose of the organisation. ‘A purpose bigger than the bottom line,’ so said Jonathan Adashek, Chief Communications Officer, IBM. On a similar note, Andrew Pharoah of Mars emphasised ‘Purpose can be the engine for business success’ wherein Deia Campanelli mentioned that ‘Purpose unites people.’ Nitin Mantri, Group CEO, AvianWE, nailed it when he shared that ‘Corporate purpose will be the key contributor to the criticality of PR interventions.’

This made me reflect. It is very good to work and identify with an organisation that has a clear purpose outlined and one that resonates with our deeper self. But, what about our own purpose in life?

If you were to write a letter to yourself, what would you say? How would you define who you are? What is your purpose in this life? 

Most of us usually do not know what we really want. We are so wrapped up in our day-to-day existence that we often do not even live in the present and/or not enjoy the moment. 

Time is fleeting by…before you even realise or become aware of what you want, may be the opportunity has already disappeared. A key aspect to ponder and ask of yourself is – what is really important to you?

How do we even get to that? How about beginning with your purpose? To many, this very first step can be a daunting one. This question has nothing to do with finding a spiritual purpose. It is about being mindful and conscious of who you are. What you are good at. Being able to identify what gives you joy and happiness. Recognising a cause that you are passionate about. Moments that make your heart soar. Relationships that provide a deeper meaning to life. Values that you hold dear and which identify who you are as a human being.

What has kept you away from knowing the answer to your life? Perhaps your own inherent fear of failure? We prefer to surround ourselves with these fears because they give us a sense of comfort. After all, they have been our companions for so long. Little wonder then that we feel uncomfortable exploring ourselves and are often in a conflict with our own soul. This is best seen in professional situations when we have a new unknown opportunity in front of us and we shut our eyes and say, ‘no, I can’t do this. I don’t know anything about it. I am not good enough’ We no longer dream. 

Self-awareness is all about noticing your actions and thoughts and realising where they come from. It is about understanding your own operating system. What values do you reflect when you behave in a particular manner? What do your words tell about who you are? Do you operate from a growth mind-set or do you operate from fear? Fear that does not allow you to experiment and take chances…fear that makes it very difficult for you to say ‘no’ to something because you believe that you need to please others or else they won’t be around….all this sounds familiar, does it not? It does, because many operate from some fear or the other. 

Navigating our demons and our own fears calls for a deep understanding of our own self and what we really seek to make of our life. To a professional, irrespective of the sector or job one belongs to, self-awareness plays a pivotal role in shaping future choices and harnessing opportunities that come by.

So, pick up a pen and draft that letter to yourself. Articulate your purpose. Define your values. Understand your own operating system. Once you do that, nothing can stop you from accomplishing your dream. 

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Sarita Bahl is an alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the Swedish Institute of Management Program. An experienced and versatile leader, she comes with nearly four decades of professional experience. She has over the years successfully overseen the communications and public affairs function and led the corporate social responsibility strategy for Bayer South Asia, Pfizer, and Monsanto, among others. Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, the public sector, trade associations, MNCs, and the not-for-profit sector. Her areas of interest include advocacy, stakeholder engagement, sustainability, and communications.

As an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and Senior Practitioner (Mentoring) from the European Council of Mentoring and Coaching (EMCC), Sarita specializes in career transition, inner engineering and life issues. Sarita enjoys writing and is passionate about animals, books, and movies.

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