Leading a Purposeful Life

December 30th, 2011 by Kelly Kienzle

I read a story this morning about a woman who was killed in an elevator accident.  She was going to work as she always did, likely feeling safe and unthreatened. Yet, her life took a sudden and dreadful turn.  How could she have known?

What were the warning signs? How can we learn from her story? The answers are a disturbing nothingness.

Yet we want to learn. And so we may try to control our lives through exercising caution, maintaining healthy lifestyles and having a support network around us. Yet, most other factors are beyond our control. When we look for ways to control these other factors, what do we see?

For those of us who cannot foresee the future, we can only see the present. So perhaps the answer lies there. We must live in the present and live in it as fully as possible. For it is truly only the present over which we have ultimate control. We cannot control the past, it has already happened. (Although we can manipulate the narrative of the past, but that is a topic for another posting.)

So, if we can only truly control the present and must therefore live it fully, why do we not? I would offer that it is because our society is too much focused on the achievement of goals, milestones, future improvement and competition. Yet is having aspirations bad? As a coach, I am actually an ardent believer in setting goals. So, I would suggest that the answer is a “both/and”. Yes, we must both have goals and live within each moment as we move towards our goals.

I like to think of it as frames in a movie. If our lives are a movie, then each moment of our lives is like a single frame from the movie. To achieve a truly great movie, the producer must be attentive to each frame. Indeed each element in each frame should receive careful consideration. Because when all of the tiniest frames are bound together into a single, flowing story, then the result captivates our attention.

And so as we consider the goals that we will set for the coming year, I suggest that we also live each frame of our lives with purpose and attention, for that is truly within our power.

If you are eager to live and lead with attention to the present as well as the future, I would be happy to help you.


“Wherever we stop is the summit.” Mark Nepo

2 Responses to “Leading a Purposeful Life”

  1. January 02, 2012 at 3:33 pm, Sharon Keys Seal said:

    I love the metaphor of our life as a movie, and the importance of each frame, which represents the moments of our lives. I will remember this blog post as I envision the “movie” I want my life to be in 2012, and what I want to include in the individual frames, and why. Thank you!


  2. January 03, 2012 at 3:58 pm, Maryanne Honeycutt said:

    Being an avid fan of movies, this is a great way to look at the new year and considering the both/and concept. Thanks for the inspiration.


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