As part of client gig in San Francisco last year, I had the chance to write a piece about the principles I stand by and want to take a moment to share it with you today.
All of them are principles that eventually served me as litmus tests in the past and helped me to bend, not break in moments of doubt and fear.
Let’s get to it:
For me, principles are the mental frameworks that allow me to unleash my personal potential and the potential of those I love, serve and/or work with.
In this regard, three principles stand out:
1. Purpose Strategy
While purpose is an important element when aiming to unleash potential, it’s also become one of the most misunderstood buzzwords of our generation.
In the best-case scenario purpose presents two opportunities:
1. To wake up inspired to follow a life and career path that feels right, a path that enables us to pursue what lights our souls on fire.
2. To make sense of the paradox of choice, by filtering and focusing the endless stream of opportunities and advice life has to offer fortunate, educated young people today.
Understanding your guiding force — what makes you tick — is a fantastic funnel for personal focus. It enables us to cancel out noise, seek out the right mentors, and listen to contextually important advice rather than the overabundance of advice the world wide web offers us.
That guiding force for me — my purpose — is to unleash my potential and the potential of those around me. I consider myself fortunate enough to have realized early that purpose by itself is a dead-end road. When I was just getting my start, overcontemplating my purpose made me feel lost and confused about what I wanted out of life. Even in moments when I thought I had it all figured out — my big why — I still struggled to understand where my time and energy might best invested. And certainly, purpose alone has never helped me to get shit done, and therefore feel fulfilled for having pursued my own purpose (pardon my French).
A few years ago — after many conversations with my wise father (God Bless you, Dad!) — I realized nothing beats the combination of a character that brings the vision, passion, purpose and strong business acumen to the table. On a very normal day, after a long yoga session in Ho Chi Minh City, Purpose Strategy “fell off my eyes like scales” as we say in Germany. All it means is, Purpose Strategy was born, and with it a new sense of drive, momentum, and clarity. By understanding purpose as the most important type of strategy I will ever build, I had found a new framework to combine my desire of contributing to things bigger than myself with getting shit done. Behind every sound strategy stands the ambition to outgrow it; as such, one must keep perspective and balance, between action and patience, between detail-oriented work and the big picture, between the goal and the path.
I feel so happy that this framework has inspired a lot of my friends, colleagues, and clients to re-think their approach to life, both personally and professionally.
2. Thoughts Become Things
The concept of Thoughts Become Things has nicely complemented “Purpose Strategy.” In 2013, I met a young man who had an uncanny awareness of how important it is to use your visionary thoughts as the ultimate navigation of your actions. It created beautiful conversations between the two of us after all. Although I thought his approach wasn’t that different from my personal Purpose Strategy concept, it created awareness for something I’d known before but was never able to put into words: the hygiene of your thoughts is the only way to the path less traveled.
The reality is that reality hits us right when we get out of our cave of strategizing about our purpose. As we learn how to use Purpose Strategy, we face a lot of obstacles; it is only through a healthy relationship with ourselves that we will be able to make our visions and ideas a reality.
Truth be told: Thoughts Become Things is a principal of mine, because in a very difficult time of my life it helped me to move from a state of disillusionment and anxiety to a state of waking up and high fiving my day!
You are what you eat — the same applies for the thoughts you consume every day.
3. Fall 7, Celebrate the 8th Time Getting Up
This last concept is one that reminds me where I am coming from; it reminds me about my DNA.
It used to be our family’s motto when I was little and we applied it to anything ranging from learning how to ride a bike, not doing better in school or a missed loop during a skiing contest. It reminds me that I am utterly proud of my humble background, and while we didn’t always have a lot and were faced with many challenges, we had a fantastic time together.
We were the coolest little gang in the entire world simply because we had us and would keep each other moving.
For as much as we can set ourselves up with purpose and its according strategy; for as much as we should keep our thoughts clean when walking the path less traveled to find the meaning we want for our life, there is an authentic beauty in life we can never deny: life is life and while our nature is a complex, beautiful beast, it will fail on us sometimes.
I’m not sure how you guys feel about it, but there is a certain great simplicity in accepting that we are going to fall while we walk — just like a child who learns to put one feet in front of the other. The child falls over, stands up and then usually is very excited to keep discovering, especially after the first tears of the initial shock have been wiped away by the parents.
What does this mean for us? While we ultimately will fall along the course of the path we have chosen, we should not only get up, but in fact we should party.
Yes, and: We should give ourselves the benefit of the doubt.
We should give ourselves the benefit of leaning on someone too that wipes our tears away to stand up again and continue to celebrate life.
But above all, we should let ourselves be reminded that one of the greatest magic ingredients to a fun, meaningful life is human connection (apart from the fact that a good dance is always a good idea 😃).