Around the Institute

The 7 Habits of Highly Purposeful People

July 23, 2014  • First Mover Fellow Connie Chan Wang, Guest Blogger

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.

I never considered myself a very spiritual person, but having spent the last few days surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty and boundless passion, I have to say that I was moved. I had the honor and privilege of attending my first seminar for the Aspen Institute First Movers Fellowship , a program focused on developing leaders who are driving positive social change within companies, aka social intrapreneurs.

The common thread among all of the Fellows is that each one of us is on a mission, as I’m sure many of you are. And we all know we can only be effective leaders if we lead with passion, purpose, and intention. Of course, this is much easier said than done. Like anything else in life, it has to be deliberate, requires a ton of practice, and will never be perfect. But the earlier we develop these habits, the better. Here are some habits I picked up over the last several days that I plan to integrate into my life:

  1. Reflect – We started each morning with poetry to help us put our work and lives into perspective. The valuable insights that came out of each discussion reinforced for me just how important it is to carve out time regularly to step back and reflect on whether we’re living the life we want to live.
  2. Disconnect – To explore our surroundings, a naturalist led us on a short hike along Castle Creek, but it was no ordinary hike. Rather than walking together as a group, we walked 30 seconds behind each other, in silence. Surrounded by nature in all its glory and free from distraction, my senses were heightened. I noticed how loudly the river rushed, how shrilly the birds chirped, how prominently the purple of the Rocky Mountain columbine stood out in a bed of green. This hike reminded me to disconnect more often, to be in the moment, to hear more, retain more, live more.
  3. Look for opportunities to learn – Each day of this seminar, I met some of the most passionate, purpose-driven, innovative people I’ve ever met in my career. No matter their industry, company, or job function, I found that I had something to learn from everyone. Learning opportunities are everywhere, we just have to be open to seizing them when they come our way.
  4. Lead with passion – When someone leads with passion, it’s contagious, and I caught the passion bug with each Fellow I met. I couldn’t help but be inspired by their enthusiasm, energy, and knowledge.
  5. Live with intention – On our last evening together, we told stories around a campfire about our life purpose. Each person shared incredibly personal and heartfelt stories of why they believe they were put on this earth. We are all here for a reason. If we’re lucky enough to have figured out that purpose, we should live everyday to fulfill it.
  6. Connect deeply – Learning about what people were passionate about and their life purpose led to more authentic and deeper conversations. Imagine how much more deeply we can connect to those around us if we took the time to learn what makes them tick.
  7. Be grateful – Lastly, I feel so incredibly lucky that my life purpose and professional purpose are so well aligned. I have the opportunity everyday to connect people to resources, knowledge, and relationships that they need to be successful. For this, I am forever grateful.

Have you found your life purpose? If so, what are some habits you’ve developed to dedicate your heart and soul to it? Please let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @cheesycons.

Connie Chan Wang is a First Movers Fellow and leads global media strategy at LinkedIn.