You’re more likely to engage in your community if your community empowers you to pursue your calling or purpose in life.
Welcome back to the SCTF blog where we share resources, stories, lessons and updates supporting our goal of building community.
When looking at building community, researchers often measure community attachment. Attachment is feeling like you belong, you’re doing the work you’re meant to and are actively contributing to the world around you. You’re invested in what’s going on and feel positively about your circumstances.
The Safe Communities Task Force recognizes many populations in our community do not feel such attachment including minorities, the disenfranchised as well as many of the young people we serve.
Sometimes these individuals (or any of us really) can feel stuck, overwhelmed or frustrated as though the pieces just aren’t fitting together as they’re meant to. The goal of this blog post is to support you in this feeling and get you into a place where you feel more attached to your community. You’re more likely to engage in your community if it empowers you to pursue your calling or purpose in life.
My colleague Josh Beaman spoke to me about the Eulerian Destiny; a process by which a person fills in the blanks that guide them toward their calling or purpose in life. The SCTF uses this tool when mentoring youth through their career choices and I want to share it with you today.
Print the handout, find some alone time or quiet space to think. Some can complete this in twenty minutes while others may require more time for sorting their thoughts.
You’ll start at the top left with “upbringing.” Here you fill in the space with words or experiences describing what you grew up around. Reflect on your early life experiences, environment, community, home life and more that may impact or influence what makes you you.
Consider the following:
- Childhood memories
- Environment: region, neighborhood style, housing
- Quotes, phrases, words to live by
- Lessons learned from watching the people you grew up with
- Things you dreamed of doing before society pulled the plug on your imagination
- Instincts and inclinations
- Learning tools and opportunities available to you
- Unique experiences you were exposed to
- Privileges or lifestyles that shaped you
- Refer back to Aligning Actions with Values. What values did you learn in your early childhood?
Also commonly referred to as “the last 10 years,” consider what you’ve been up to lately. What have your recent experiences been leading you towards? Acknowledge you’ve been doing something meaningful regardless of your role and reflect on how you can leverage this to discern your future. You don’t have to use job titles or labels but instead think of the skill, category or talent underlying the job or role itself.
Consider the following:
- Underlying themes of your work
- What drives your current experiences?
- What skills have you picked up along the way?
- What are recurring motifs or challenges you continually face/overcome?
- Job titles or work fields you’ve found yourself in
- What causes do you volunteer for and what does that say about you?
- Types of roles you most enjoy
- Work style, environment, schedule or more you most enjoy
- Duties you repeatedly find yourself doing regardless of role
On the handout I wrote “feedback” but really it encourages stranger feedback. Here you will write how a stranger would describe you. Sometimes people we love most are biased thus we ask people who have little attachment to us for this information. You should document both positive and negative descriptors, true for all quadrants.
For this section, consider:
- Complements you’ve received
- Feedback on your work whether solicited or otherwise
- Recognition or awards people have nominated you for
- Little things people say during first impressions like, “Wow, you’re so _______,” or “You seem really _______.”
- Words people use to describe your personality, style, drive, energy, motivation or more
Notice what you’re most enthusiastic about in life. Write the things that bring you immense joy, fill you up and you could go on talking for hours about.
For this section, consider:
- Your eyes light up when someone asks you about this topic
- Time flies when you’re talking about this
- Your heart is filled and life feels wonderful when you’re doing this
- This makes you forget your worries and lets you be in the moment
- People come to you for help with this (caveat: and you enjoy being their go-to)
- This is something you’ve studied, learned, participated in, an experience, talent or more
After you’ve completed all four quadrants, now fill in the four smaller ovals which overlap between the four categories. Where do you see commonalities between two overlapping categories? How do you see your responses coming together? Record these ideas, bringing you closer to discovering your Eulerian Destiny.
Discerning Your Call
I use the word call because destiny feels both overwhelming and a tad cheesy. Regardless, it’s time to synthesize all you’ve filled out into your final statement. Your Eulerian Destiny should boil down to 10 words or less describing your purpose in life. These words should clearly articulate the role you play in the world and what you are meant to be doing. This destiny should not be a job title but instead something you can incorporate into any job. For example, if your Eulerian Destiny is “helping people understand their purpose in life,” you can do this at home, at the mall, in the park, as a Barista, at McDonalds, as a business executive, policymaker or more. It should be an overarching theme that is flexible yet specific.
Afterwards, use this to guide you in your choices. If you’re in a position that currently doesn’t support your Eulerian Destiny, perhaps you can find spaces outside of work to fulfill your destiny. Consider finding aspects you can control about your work or environment and take small steps closer to your call. If there is absolutely nothing you can control, reframe your thinking through the lens of your destiny and start building practices into your daily routine that get you closer to it. If you can’t find ways to do any of this, perhaps it’s time to switch gears and find a new job altogether!
The SCTF believes if a person is familiar with their true calling and their community is able to empower that call, they are more likely to feel attached to their community.
“Cultivating light and empowering people to rise.”
It doesn’t need to be specific nor does it need to be a poem. Mine is one sentence that can be incorporated into all I do. It explains my passion, approach, drive and goals.
Your Eulerian Destiny isn’t written in stone. It will likely change, adapt and grow as you do. You may later find words that more fully and authentically capture your purpose and all these quadrants (except for upbringing) are subject to change at any given moment, which is kind of an exciting thought!
I am not the first to write about Eulerian Destiny. Nothing in this post is groundbreaking. Below are a few other thoughtful posts about Eulerian Destiny if you’d like to hear it from someone other than me! Additionally, I’d like to thank Josh Beaman for coaching on this topic. He’s the real pro.
Thank you so much for visiting the SCTF blog. I hope this has helped you find direction in an all-too-directionless world.
We are better because you are here- remember this for me.
Sending my best,
Christopher Belisle at SCTF