Wayfinding as a Reflective Practice to Find our Purpose #19 #cong22


Coming soon

Total Words


Reading Time in Minutes


Key Takeaways:

  1. Coming soon

About Barre Fitzpatrick

Coming soon

Contacting Barre Fitzpatrick

Coming soon

By Barre Fitzpatrick

Wayfinding consists of walking, storytelling and finding purpose.

When I began walking with my clients about 10 years ago, it was to escape from the office. I could see the benefits of taking the conversation outdoors, getting away from eye-balling each other across a desk to the wide-open spaces available to us. The environment became an important aspect of the experience. Why hadn’t I thought of doing this before?

Prof Shane O’Meara of TCD says that the power of this comes from our evolution. We spent 50,000 years as hunter-gatherers, and only 10 years looking at computer screens. This means that we are deeply formed by walking together in bands of hunters, paying close attention to our surroundings, and communicating with each other as we naturally synchronise our pace and breath.

That synchronisation is the sweet spot, and it is a natural occurrence.

Covid reinforced this. It became obvious that this is a healthy and beneficial practice. In a 2021 survey for the Claire Byrne Show on RTE, the number one favourite for younger people during Covid was to walk with a friend to reflect on their lives.

One of the things we love to do as a species is to tell stories. Where better to do that than walking outdoors? And the most interesting story is the one we tell of our own life, how we navigate through it, trying to make sense of it all.

The first stories were probably connected to foraging. The tribe would spend daylight hours gathering food such as berries and nuts, and bring it back to the cave. Ursula le Guin, the writer, talks about the Collection Bag Theory of Literature. It’s not hero-stories of killing a woolly mammoth that started it all, after all meat was an irregular treat. Their diet was mostly based on local foraging, and when you gather berries etc. you need a bag to collect them in. So the stories told around the firesides grew out of what had happened during the day, out of what was in the bag. A story is a bag of sorts.

Sometimes the walk is prompted by a decision with a deadline. An American philosopher, L. A. Ladd, says something interesting about how we make decisions. She points out that we think we do this by listing the pros and cons, and coming to a balanced conclusion. That’s how we might choose between chocolate and strawberry flavoured ice-cream, she says, but not the big decisions life faces us with. Like having a child, leaving the country, joining a religion or the military. The defining thing about all these is that, while we might ask others who have done it for their experience, it won’t tell us the really important thing which is: how this will feel for us. So we lack vital information to help us decide the really big ones. Major life decisions are more like revelations, she says. We throw ourselves into the unknown, hoping for the best.

Maybe purpose is like that, a revelation.

Wayfinding is 2 words, ‘way’ or path, and ‘find’ or discover, come upon. The opposite of a way is a cul de sac, a roadblock. My daughter recently called this ‘the bottom of the bucket’: we have all been there, and it is a humbling experience. And the opposite of finding is being lost. Seneca describes a state of distractedness, of mental agitation, where we change our opinion from moment to moment, and are turned towards the future, towards novelty, preventing us from providing a fixed point for ourselves. So wayfinding means finding that fixed point for ourselves, that sense of purpose. And it can be a revelation.

When Peers Meet On Purpose, For A Purpose #18 #cong22


TeachMeet is an unconference format in which teachers create opportunities to meet and exchange ideas at a convivial gathering.
Having spent the last few years exploring the TeachMeet phenomenon, one thing learned is a central experiential significance to those who partcipate is that it is PURPOSEFUL.

Total Words


Reading Time in Minutes


Key Takeaways:

  1. Do The Right Thing;
  2. Do The Thing Right;
  3. Make The Road By Walking;
  4. Don’t Wait For Permission

About Mag Amond

Mags Amond is a retired second level teacher who is in the endgame of her part-time PhD at the School of Education in Trinity College Dublin. Mags has been a long time volunteer in the Computers in Education Society of Ireland, a teacher professional network which celebrates its 50th year in 2023.

Contacting Mags Amond

You can contact Mags by email or connect with her on Twitter

By Mags Amond

As is CongRegation, TeachMeet is an unconference, a participant-driven event. It began in Scotland in 2006, now it is global. Imagine a hybrid of Barcamp and Pecha Kucha, rooted in Open Space Technology ( see openspaceworld.org). This is a social gathering overseen by an MC, at which nanopresentations on classroom practice are given by volunteers in random order, interspersed with conversation, optional activities and usually with refreshments shared. Although they are informal occasions, chaordic in atmosphere, there is a serious professional tone to the stories of participation I read and heard and analysed when I explored the TeachMeet phenomenon. Yes, people were there to meet socially with peers, but they also had deeper motives – seeking to improve themselves; offering to share practice that had worked for them; arranging to bring the same opportunities to other teachers.

The experiential significance of TeachMeet for participants, from analysis of interviews with participants, show that it is personal, practical, political, and purposeful. The first TeachMeets were driven by early adopters of technology enacting a pioneering spirit of innovation, in order to share knowledge with peers. Over time, other participants were compelled to organise events to counter their discontent with formal CPD experiences. For many, their purpose arose as a moral imperative to do whatever it is they can do, without waiting for permission. In essence, the clue is in the name – TeachMeet – which was chosen with intent in 2006 – peers meeting on purpose, for the purpose of teaching and learning with each other.

What is the Stars? #17 #cong22


I dont know what Purpose is.
I dont know if its about the way or the target.
It seems to connect from the self to the community.
A stretch purpose is hard.
But worthwhile.

Total Words


Reading Time in Minutes


Key Takeaways:

  1. Know thyself
  2. Be comfortable with growth
  3. Connect and develop with your tribe
  4. Ad Astra per Aspera

About Alan Costello

Venture growth and investment @ ResolvePartners

Natural Capital and Biodiversity at NaturalCapitalIreland.com

Arts and culture to challenge mental health stigma at FirstFortnight

Contacting Alan Costello

You can contact Alan by email or follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn or see his work with Resolve Partners.

By Alan Costello

What is the Stars?

Boyle: An’, as it blowed an’ blowed, I ofen looked up at the sky an’ assed meself the question — what is the stars, what is the stars?
Joxer: Ah, that’s the question, that’s the question — what is the stars?
Boyle: An’ then, I’d have another look, an’ I’d ass meself — what is the moon?
Joxer: Ah, that’s the question — what is the moon, what is the moon?

“Juno and the Paycock”, Seán O’Casey (1924)

  • What is the purpose of something
  • What is the point of it
  • What is its reason to be
  • What is mine

Why haven’t I used question marks in the above? Likely because I’m neither intellectually nor conceptually fit to treat them as questions that I can answer.

Although of course, I do think that your brain can be ‘fittened’ up to any new task.
(thats not a derivative of fattened….)

Am I nihilistic in thinking. No, nor am I hedonistic or feckless.

To have a Purpose, that capitalised Purpose, is to have a goal, a true north, an outcome or an output as to where you want to go. Thats written more of a statement than the question that was in my mind – is Purpose the where, the why or the how? Should you focus on the destination or the journey – every Instagram philosopher will suggest the obvious.

Where Society might expect you to aim a purpose – a question of self versus a wider directive?

What might you need to know about me:

  • I’m planet aware – pollution, temperatures, nature
  • I have no kids – so dont give me that procreation malarky. Bad for the planet anyway.
  • I’m maturing – or else the effect of being married to a psychotherapist for 15 years.
  • I’m getting better at being her partner.
  • (Dont forget, even good wines can mature too much – enjoy yourself)

I’m getting better at being me. (but oh boy, has that been learned in life lessons)

I love my work – its helping, supporting, platforming, driving, knowledge sharing. Although that sounds like it could be vocational, I support startups to raise investment and grow. Not every startup, usually the ones who are trying to make the world a better place.

I love learning – its one of the best side effects of my work.

I dip in and out of hobbies, go deep and then move on to green fields

Religion is dangerously broken. Especially since it damages the potential joining in a wider community belief and purpose.

Day to day, year to year and probably decade to decade is sorted.

Good health lives in my family.

I am content, happy and comfortable in seeking more life.

So what about Purpose?

Here’s an odd coincidence

This year, I started a programme with Common Purpose – a leadership programme that blends folk from public/private/arts/charity sectors and supports their mutual learning and personal growth from each other.

Thats kinda cute. Personal growth and development through others.

Have a look at CongRegation.ie. Hover over the submission tab. See its evolution from a digitally aware, technology consumptive group to a society and leadership orientated community.

Could Purpose for me be about personal growth, development and enrichment, through and with others. And everyone else might be similar, I hope? Sounds like a great old world

(Factfulness, Hans Rosling)

Should our world have a Purpose. Other than allow its inhabitants (virus-like) to consume itself within the normal lifecycles of its current primary species? I’m not so into Gaia, but should our Society co-contribute to a Purpose – a better, more even humankind, greater diversity, and then to explore further beyond our little rock in the Universe.

Ad Astra per Aspera – to the stars through difficulty.

John James Ingalls coined the motto in 1861 stating, “The aspiration of Kansas is to reach the unattainable; its dream is the realization of the impossible”

We’re not in Kansas anymore (allow me some of the cheese the moon is made of!), but lets stretch and strive for a better Purpose for all of us and the land on which we inhabit.

Rather than a terrible state of chassis, Boyle from Juno and the Paycock might agree.

The Troubling Question of Purpose #16 #cong22


Coming soon

Total Words


Reading Time in Minutes


Key Takeaways:

  1. Coming soon

About Gerard Costello

I am a Community Alert Development Officer for Muintir na Tire, advising and supporting Community Alert Groups in the Western Region of Clare, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon and Longford. I went back to collage as a Mature Student and studied Community and Family Studies for four years.

I am involved in various community committees.

Contacting Gerard Costello

You can contact Gerard by email.

By Gerard Costello

The Definition of ‘Purpose’ – the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists:

Without you Eoin, would anything get done or created? We all need a reason and a purpose to exist in life. The word Purpose is very powerful, like all words it has different meanings and must be understood in each aspect of its use.

Synonyms associated with the word Purpose provides a large bank of words linked to previous topics Community and Leadership. Synonyms like : motive, motivation, grounds, cause, impetus, occasion, reason, point, basis, justification, intention, aim, object, objective, goal, end, plan, scheme, target, ambition, aspiration, desire, wish, hope, advantage, benefit, good, use, usefulness, value, merit, worth, gain, profit, avail, result, outcome, effect, behoof, boot, function, role. Very important words to help with life.

Take Purpose in Life – Everything has a Purpose and in Death – Everything has its Purpose also. We all need a Purpose to do and to live. To psychologists, purpose is an abiding intention to achieve a long-term goal that is both personally meaningful and makes a positive mark on the world.

When the Purpose of something / everything is established, documented, explained and reviewed it makes achieving an outcome easier to understand, follow and achieve Goals. Documenting your purpose and reading the Purpose of other things can help to make life better for you and others. Documenting the Purpose of a Task or Project gives direction and guidance to help achieve Goals. Being aware of the Purpose of a Task or Project is very important to achieve Goals.

The goals that foster a sense of purpose are ones that can potentially change your life and the lives of other people, like launching an organization, researching a disease, or teaching kids to read. The Purpose of anything must be understood and respected. But purpose and meaning is not something that can be determined quickly.

In your everyday activities – You need a Purpose and to know what that purpose is and the same in business activities.

Congregation has a Purpose – what is it? For me the Purpose of Congregation is:

  1. Learning – Life Long Learning from the experience of others in a huddle.
  2. Meeting – Different people in the relaxed and natural environment of Cong.
  3. Establishing – New thinking
  4. Sharing – Stories, Concerns, Issues and Contacts.
  5. Reflecting – On the word and the way others see a word.
  6. Finding – What I didn’t know.
  7. Achieving – More Life Hack’s to carry me over another winter, spring and summer until another Autumn for Congregation.

Your Life Purpose:

Your life purpose consists of the central motivating aims of your life—the reasons you get up in the morning.

Purpose can guide life decisions, influence behaviour, shape goals, offer a sense of direction, and create meaning.

For some people, purpose is connected to vocation—meaningful, satisfying work.

For others, their purpose lies in their responsibilities to their family or friends.

Others seek meaning through spirituality or religious beliefs.

Some people may find their purpose clearly expressed in all these aspects of life.

Purpose will be unique for everyone; what you identify as your path may be different from others.

What’s moreyour purpose can actually shift and change throughout life in response to the evolving priorities and fluctuations of your own experiences.

Questions that may come up when you reflect upon your life purpose are:

  • Who am I?
  • Where do I belong?
  • When do I feel fulfilled?
  • Will success bring happiness or will happiness bring success?

Taking the steps to find your life purpose:

Finding your life purpose is a lifelong journey.

It’s OK to take it one step at a time.

It’s normal to pause and re-evaluate long term goals regularly. And it’s OK to feel overwhelmed.

Nothing worth doing is easy, and this will not always be easy to understand.

You will encounter frustrations and challenges along the way. Some days, you’ll throw your hands up in the air in defeat. But then, you’ll remember what drives you to keep going.

You’re driven to solve this problem, and for some reason, you won’t let yourself give up.

Why is it so hard to find our life purpose?

There certainly is no short supply of problems in this world that need solving. There is no limit on the number of people whom we could help, or inspire, or support. There is no cap on the number of passions we could pursue. Yet, our life purpose often feels hard to pursue.

There are many reasons why you may not know your life purpose.

Sometimes it’s because the world’s problems seem too big. Or we seem too small. Or maybe we are just exhausted from life and don’t know where we’ll find the energy to fight for what really matters to us.

But finding and living our purpose is key to having a meaningful, fulfilling life, so strive to help people insert purpose into their lives.

Some of the Key Steps to get started exploring your purpose.

Step 1: Find out what drives you.

One way to find your purpose is to ask yourself: What pain or injustice or unhappiness, have you witnessed that you just can’t live with? Is there anything that touches you so deeply that it drives you? Often, a powerful purpose can come from powerful pain.

Step 2: Find out what energizes you.

You can burn out your life purpose if you pursue it in the wrong ways — ways that deplete rather than energize you. It is not enough to know the problem you want to solve; you have to think carefully about the way you want to solve it.

So to find your life purpose, ask yourself: What energizes you?

Step 3: Find out what you are willing to sacrifice for.

When you find something that you are willing to sacrifice a lot for, you know that you’ve found your purpose.

So ask yourself: What are you willing to sacrifice for?

Step 4: Find out who you want to help.

To find your life purpose, ask yourself: Who do you want to help?

There are many ways to chip away at the same problem, and it’s up to you to find out who you want to help. By figuring out the specific person or people you want to help, you can more easily find your purpose.

Step 5: Find out how you want to help.

Ask yourself: What do you love to do? And how do you apply this passion to your purpose? To find your purpose, you need to figure out how you can best use your passions and skills to achieve your unique goals and solve your unique problems.

To conclude:

Congregation provides a fantastic purpose to stop and think about a word, about life.

Congregation has a Purpose to stop me thinking about everything and starts me critically reflect about one thing. However, that one thing critically reflected ‘Purpose’ broadens the mind and starts fresh thoughts.

Congrats and well done to you Eoin.

Sorry I am not attending this year.

As said, absence makes the Heart grow founder – My absence has started growth, knowing I will not be attending Congregation 2022. However, your Theme ‘Purpose’ as always has prompted me to do something about something I had forgotten- Thinking – Critical Thinking.

Congregation is like my annual medical check-up or my NCT.

Thank you and best wishes to you and all with the event.

Gerard Costello.

Purpose #15 #cong22


Purpose is a  multi-faceted idea but a large part of it can be made concrete through the use of psychometric testing. These tests don’t resolve the question of what purpose you may have but they provide a bedrock of self-knowledge from which additional information and self-knowledge can be derived.

Total Words


Reading Time in Minutes


Key Takeaways:

  1. A sense of purpose can be derived from self-knowledge
  2. One isn’t obliged to follow one’s purpose
  3. Psychometric testing can reveal insights into the personality
  4. One can intuit one’s purpose or once can derived it from self-observation

About Tom Murphy

Classics and Philosophy student at NUI Galway.

Contacting Tom Murphy

You can follow Tom on Twitter

By Tom Murphy

The word purpose has a good few meanings, and many connotations. Fit for purpose, for instance, is a way of expressing appropriateness while the word ‘purpose’ itself can have the stand alone meaning of a proposed destiny. It is this latter meaning that I want to devote the rest of this essay.

Purpose in the conventional sense of pre-ordained function – the purpose of a car is to transport you somewhere – gives us a sense of potential completion. It doesn’t automatically follow that because something has a purpose it will be fulfilled. We see this most clearly in others. We all know people who have great potential but fail to take the appropriate steps for the realisation of their apparent purpose.

One’s life purpose, if indeed there is one, is the outcome of a conglomeration of personality traits which are well understood in the psychological community. These professional psychometric tests have the potential, in the absence of self-knowledge, of providing insight into one’s personality and one’s motives. They can provide the means from which a purpose in life can be derived.

Determining what one’s purpose in life is a bit like hitting a moving target. In many cases what would suit us best is determined not only by our natural proclivities but also our circumstances and life experiences. But at the back of it all most of us have the feeling that there is something that we should be doing and that we won’t be truly happy until we are acting in congruence with it.

In many ways having a purpose in life is a luxury. I often think of the Irish men who went to be navigators in Victorian London. Many of them had beautiful minds and hands capable of great artistry but their potential to fulfil their purpose was thwarted by the circumstances that they found themselves in.

So having the time and ability to fulfil one’s purpose is a great thing. Of course, only a few of us are ever going to devote ourselves to our life purpose come what may. We have families, jobs, responsibilities, and obligations. But for the lucky few we do live in times when many things are possible.

I would suggest that purpose is not fulfilled in the completion of specific achievements, but that success is a by-product of purposeful activity.

However, purpose is not about worldly achievement. For instance, while more than one Formula driver has claimed that it is his purpose to drive fast one could also argue there is no need for grown men to race cars around fast tracks for millions of dollars. The fulfilment of purpose must exist outside the worldly realm. One can have the good fortune to be able to race fast cars through personal disposition and opportunity, but it can only ever be when our personality traits match the circumstances.

In many ways, purpose can equal destiny but that is based on having a good understanding of oneself. A deep dive into one’s character and granular knowledge of the facets of that  character such as derived from self-examination protocols such as the NEO-4 allows one to determine how one faces and deals with life. Such an exploration can reveal new things about oneself as well as act as confirmation for other attributes of character that one is already familiar with.

The attempts to attend to and adhere to one’s purpose can act like a unifying force on the personality. If you are good at certain things, then doing those certain things can have a reinforcing effect on the pursuit of one’s purpose.

I am not suggesting that we form our perceptions of ourselves or of the world through the wonders of psychometric testing alone. We all have pluses and minuses in life. What I am suggesting is that a modicum of self-examination can produce illuminating results.

When dealing with the concept of purpose these insights from the field of psychology can tell you whether you are on the right track or acting on a misperception of who you really are and what you are really about.

Obtaining accurate information about one’s character can tell one in great deal about what works for you and what doesn’t. I am assuming that a prerequisite for a life of purpose is greater knowledge of oneself. With greater knowledge comes the opportunity to focus one’s valuable time on what works for you and ameliorate what doesn’t. The sum of these facets of personality can add up to what, are very strong pointers, to having a purpose in life.

It may sound simplistic just to say, ‘do what you are good at’, but the point is to use this information as guidelines pointing in the direction of what your purpose may be. It is better to travel through life with better and more useful information than just noise.

What the psychometric tests reveal is that our brains are only wired together in so many ways but with a great deal of variance within those parameters. One doesn’t have to adhere to narrow definitions but are expandable to suit the needs of one’s circumstances.

Ultimately, psychometric testing can provide a valuable short cut to self-knowledge and the results can be incorporated into one’s sense of purpose to act more effectively in the world.

Purpose? #14 #cong22


Like everyone who has ever lived,
I wonder if there is a reason why.
Realising that I cannot find any real answer,
I am confronted by the need to find a personal reason.
Who defines us? Who decides for us? Who assigns the score?

In the end, it is what we choose it to be.
And the only judge is ourselves.

Total Words


Reading Time in Minutes


Key Takeaways:

  1. Mortality is inescapable
  2. Religion, ideologies and myths are excuses
  3. We alone define our purpose
  4. Ultimately, we are what we do.

About Ronan Kelly

Another Irish guy, living abroad, and dreaming of places that never were.

Contacting Ronan Kelly

You can reach Ronan by email.

By Ronan Kelly

We have carried it, this egg, since we first awoke. Clutched tight to our souls, hidden deep, all our lives. Unbreakable and cold.

The aching emptiness of a fundamental truth. Always known.
A burden beyond doubt. Beyond prayers, portents, pleas and all the other lies.

All that lives, is transient, and dies.

All that you, I, we, have thought, have seen and been, used and made, all of it … will all fade.

The Sun lights, the day after our deaths, a world without us.

And not just the you of you and the me of me, I mean the whole of the We. Big ‘H’: Humanity.
Birds will sing, after the last city, falls silent. Bats snatch insects from an unmarred sky.
The myriad creatures will entwine in their endless games, freed from troublesome man. And Woman before she smiles.

Then further along, as time flows, the rain will wash the fields, the forests and the old stones,
back to the sea; to be rethrown repeatedly, over the shoulders of new lands.
Until the sun exalts, and spends itself, searing our skies.

In the face of this wind, which will eventually scour all the ME of me, away; What can I say?

Whom should I assail? Will the Starmaker consider an appeal?


Cowards that we are, faced with this fact, shriven and cold, we always evade.

Flee to children’s games. Of things, that never were. To stories told, as comforting lies.
Symbols, sigils, signs, in the Seas, Sands and Skies. Distractions, delusions, dreams.


I try to be brave. “Turn and face the blast”. Lift my eyes and gaze into the Harsh. Bleak but clear:
The purpose for which I live, is a choice, made by me, for me, against eternity.
It exists nowhere outside my mind, means nothing, and will be unmade as I will be.

Those before us, weighed their burdens well. Explored the ways.
Followed or fled, to purity or pity. Hid in hedonism, or drowned in dread.

All choices. All valid. In the maze of our minds, all ways lead to the hollow central dell. Empty.

So, I considered their paths. Found one which appeals. I tried to peer through Nietzsche’s eyes.
And found an answer which would perhaps work for me.
Namely, in a World of Dark: Why not pick up a torch and try to spread some light?
Though the substance is unchanged, the light at least warms the mind.

And I should. I must. I must admit, that I am now changed.
While the System of the World remains the cage, I see now, in the dim light which I hold,
those who are here with me, entangled and entwined. Their lives have become precious to me, and cruelty, the only sin, must be opposed.

I met the Sionnach in the Snow, and it stared long, with eyes bright, into mine.
This life will be taken away. There are no exits, no escapes. I accepted my fate.
It is all, so, so, so … short. So little time. And less time left (where did it all go?!).
For me, for you, and for everything that lives. And for those, once dear, already reposed.

I will lift that candle, hold that torch, and try to bring some light, though feeble, to the murk.
Even if only, for a little while.

Why not try Mercy, Empathy and Solidarity, against that void?

Not for you. Not for them. Not for gods, reason or hope.
But for family and friends.
The fallen, forsaken, forgotten.
Even our foes.

And for me.

Ronan Kelly
Vienna, 2022.

The Journey of Life is to Find Purpose #13 #cong22


Defining your purpose in life is a journey that takes time, reflection and failures.

Total Words


Reading Time in Minutes


Key Takeaways:

  1. Purpose-fully designed goals can drive our lives
  2. Living purposefully can have ripples that expand beyond our immediate circles.
  3. It has taken me a long time to clearly articulate my life’s purpose.
  4. Living our purpose is the journey of our lives.

About Ger Mulcahy

I’m a dad, husband, technologist, leader, professional people manager, executive coach and author. I’m an avid reader, a raging but masked introvert and a reluctant public speaker.

Contacting Ger Mulcahy

You can connect with Ger on LinkedIn or see his work on Amusing Mulcahy

By Ger Mulcahy

What a massive topic this is. I’m a recent addition to the Congregation unconference, but it has been so thought-provoking for me, and this year’s theme is no exception. It is a bit daunting to take on such a broad subject. Do I write about corporate purposes? The broader meaning of life? About porpoise, through a Monty-Pythonesque misunderstanding? (That would probably constitute a cross-purpose.)

To narrow the scope, I’ve been thinking about the articulated purpose of my life; and how long it has taken me to arrive at what I want to achieve with my time.

“Purpose” is one of those words that often gets conflated with other concepts when it comes to people. When we think of an object’s purpose, it’s much more straightforward. For example, a claw hammer has limited functions – to drive nails in or pull them out. You can use a claw hammer for other reasons, but it won’t emplace screws very well or help you cut wood.

People are a whole different matter – we are multi-purpose creatures with an almost unlimited ability to adapt to changing circumstances. It is one of the reasons why when you ask someone what their mission in life is (forgive the conflation), they will often give you a blank look. So many of us go through life myopically focussed on the few steps in front of us. Thoughts about grander themes seem frivolous when you don’t know how to pay the bills or feed your family. Maslow’s hierarchy writ large.

When we’re younger, we may be advised to “find our purpose” or “pursue our passions”. Both of these are challenging pieces of advice for any young person to follow, in my opinion. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, my passions were definitely not focussed on my work life. As to conversations about anything grander? Best of luck with a partially formed pre-frontal cortex. I would have been hard-pressed to tell you what I wanted from my college experience other than an antidote to my school years.

It took me until my early forties to clearly state for myself what my purpose in life is. I recognised early on that I would never be someone who transformed the world in a macro way. I am not wired like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk (for which I am thankful). I am content to change the world in a more localised manner – although I did realise that I do want to change the world.

My purpose is to improve the lives of the people I interact with. That’s it. That is what drives my management and leadership practices. It is why I act as an individual and group mentor. It’s the reason why I am a certified and practising NeuroLeadership Institute coach. And it is why one of my (purpose-driven) goals is to be the best dad I can be. I believe that if I can help other people be better versions of themselves through these different avenues in my life, I will have an incrementally improving impact on the world in a series of expanding ripples. It is why when new managers ask me for advice, my first response is often “treat people as people”.

The opposite of this also holds. When I fail to follow the goals derived from my purpose, I act out of character. I forget to smile and greet the security guard who lets me into the building at 6:15 am. I lose patience with the person queueing ahead of me who can’t produce the correct change at the till. I don’t take the time to acknowledge the person in the lift with me and ask them how their day is going. All missed opportunities to improve someone’s day (and potentially make it worse instead) – thereby creating a different set of ripples. An anti-pattern to my purpose.

Like everyone on their life’s journey, I stumble, dust myself off, and try again. But, by having purposefully-driven goals and by continuing to look for opportunities to improve, I continuously serve my purpose. And by serving it, I serve others. This way, I become more like a human Swiss Army knife than a hammer

Purpose, Whose Purpose #12 #cong22


Make sure the purpose you choose for your life is truly your own, not imposed by any other person or institution.
Be glad your economic circumstances allow you the freedom to choose the central, motivating aims of your life.

Total Words


Reading Time in Minutes


Key Takeaways:

  1. Look after yourself, so that you can engage with and enjoy a shared existence on this planet.
  2. Contribute with kindness and support to the wellbeing of your family members and friends in particular.
  3. Get involved creatively in community-building and politics which support Democracy, Human Rights, and…above all, the Sustainability of Life on Earth.
  4. Don’t take demeaning or destructive criticism from anyone, especially if their personality is self-focussed and self-important.

About Alec Taylor

After Radio in Germany and TV in the UK – working as an announcer, presenter, and interviewer – I switched to Corporate Video. This led to a career as a consultant, coach, and trainer in Communication Skills and Creativity.

My latest coaching-service “MAPIO” (Making A Professional Impact Online) seems to be meeting a widespread need.

Contacting Alec Taylor

You can connect with Alec via email.

By Alec Taylor

How many of us make a truly autonomous decision about our life’s purpose….and can afford the luxury of making it?

In the early years of our lives, for many of us growing up in Ireland, Religion played a big part in moulding our purpose for us, as did family and social customs, “Serve God and serve others, especially those in need”, was the imposed mantra. No mention of oneself.

Speaking personally, it was many years, more than half a lifetime, before I felt in a position to draw an unfettered conclusion about what the purpose of my life might be. And, even then, did the purpose I was choosing for myself refer to both my personal and professional lives? What about Society and the Planet?

To be prepared to sacrifice one’s own life for the sake of others, was drilled into many of us throughout our schooldays by religious zealots. In my case, it was only after a long period of personal distress (PTSD) and mental strain that I was forced to take account of the price I was paying for trying to reach ‘sainthood’.

At long last, “Take care of yourself…only then can you help others!” was urged upon me. Self-compassion was presented as the new wisdom. Some of us began to focus on a purpose of our own choosing.

Meanwhile for those who struggle every day simply to survive….without a home, short of food and healthcare, often responsible for children and their needs in a time of distress…for such people establishing a purpose in their life is a choice they do not have.

What are the criteria then for reaching a decision about our purpose – for those of us who are fortunate enough to be above the poverty line?
I suggest:
• We are one global community but not yet acting like one
• The fierce gaps in life-experience are there for all to see
• Time is running out to ensure the sustainability of life on Earth
• Conflicts are diverting vital resources
So, let’s re-introduce the concept of the ‘Common Good’…. of sharing with all of Humanity, of Nature, of this Earth (to whom we belong, rather than the other way around.)

With me, it’s been a ‘work in progress’ for far too long. So, it’s time I achieved a breakthrough and the following definition via Google is helping: “Your life purpose consists of the central motivating aims of your life,”
So, here’s my best shot at those central motivating aims:

1. Look after myself, so that I can engage with and enjoy a shared existence on this planet:


2. Contribute with kindness and support to the wellbeing of family members and friends in particular:


3. Get involved creatively in community-building and politics which support Democracy, Human Rights, and…above all, the Sustainability of Life on Earth:





Alec Taylor
November, 2022

Flagging A Global Purpose #11 #cong22


An idea to move us from purpose washing to unifying under a global flag

Total Words


Reading Time in Minutes


Key Takeaways:

  1. Purpose-washing is alive and well
  2. We need collective identity
  3. We can transcend boundaries and border
  4. A global identity for a global purpose

About David Gluckman

David Gluckman was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on 1st November 1938, the day that Sea Biscuit and War Admiral fought out the Race of the Century at Pimlico Park, Baltimore.  Educated in Johannesburg, he joined a local advertising agency after university and soon fell in love with business. He made the pilgrimage to London in 1961 and worked as an account executive on the introduction of Kerrygold butter into the UK.  Always a frustrated creative, he escaped into brand development in 1969, met a man from a drinks company called IDV, and his life changed forever. A lover of cricket, he considers his greatest achievement bowling the West Indian legend, Joel Garner, first ball in a pro-am 6-a-side tournament.

In 1973 David invented Baileys, the world’s most successful cream liqueur, which has since sold over 1.25 billion bottles.

Contacting David Gluckman

You can connect with David on LinkedIn or see his book ‘That Sh*t Will Never Sell’

By David Gluckman

There’s a lot of talk about purpose by brands these days.  In a way it reminds me of ‘sportswashing’.  People will forget about torture and abuse as long as they have the opportunity to love their local football team, whoever owns it. And if it’s winning, people conveniently forget who the owners really are.

I suppose purpose is a convenient way of helping people forget about the real issues.  If a gambling company offers to become carbon neutral by 2030, does that become their purpose, rather than persuading the less well-off to part with their hard-earned money in a futile bid to get rich.

Everybody knows the house ALWAYS wins.  So carbon neutrality is all very well, as we make our way to the food bank.

One of the more exciting takes on purpose cropped up a year or so ago when I had occasion to have a Zoom conversation with a 30-something Swedish fellow called Oskar Pernefeldt.  Oskar had come up with a brilliant idea.  A world flag.

Think about it.  Religion has a flag that enables it to transcend borders and boundaries.  It may not always be comfortable, but you can be Catholic in Buenos Aires or Budapest.  Or a Jew in Johannesburg or Jeddah. Your religion is the flag that binds you together.

I heard an eminent scientist the other day say that even if the UK can become carbon-neutral by 2050 or whenever, all it takes is a couple of mega-cities in China or India to cancel out all our efforts.  Or another mad Putin war.

We need a collective identity that makes us all feel part of a Global whole.  Jews feel that.  Catholics and Muslims too.  And there has been some success in uniting the Gay community across the world.  They all have flags of a kind.

 So why not all of us?  When will we begin to feel we are citizens of the planet?  We have a common cause now that will affect the survival of everyone.  We have to band together to reverse Climate Change.  A global identity to which we all espouse is a great start.

You definitely have something there, Oskar.  Build it and they will come.

Discovering and Sharing your Purpose #10 #cong22


This is a story about finding my purpose.

Total Words


Reading Time in Minutes


Key Takeaways:

  1. You can discover your purpose
  2. If you don’t know yet, make decisions that keep your options open
  3. Take some time out – travel, study, read books – find out what you value
  4. When you find your purpose, share it with others

About Cronan McNamara

Cronan is the founder and CEO of Creme Global. Creme Global is a data science technology company delivering data management, scientific models and predictive analytics. Cronan enjoys technology and innovation and is driven to deliver world-class products and services, from Ireland, that make an impact globally. Cronan is also an Adjunct Professor at UCD and in his spare time, he enjoys playing competitive tennis and spending time with his family.

Contacting Cronan McNamara

You can follow Cronan on Twitter, LinkedIn or check out Creme Global

By Cronan McNamara

Discovering your Purpose

You get one go at life, so my thinking is that you may as well try to achieve something great and work on something you enjoy as you do it.

What your ‘something great’ or the ‘something you enjoy’ is up to you. And while you’re thinking about what yours is going to be, I’ll tell you about how I stumbled across mine.

You could describe it as discovering your purpose. It is not something that happens all at once, and perhaps you can only really join the dots looking backwards (as Steve Jobs once famously said), but I would argue that you probably know it deep down, somewhere in your intuition, from a fairly young age.

It is not something we think about a huge amount every day. But, of course, there are some crucial life junctures like – should I go to college? Should I take a year out or start a full-time job? Should I start my own company? What should I study? What industry would be good to work in?

These can be daunting questions and the options may seem overwhelming. As a young person, you are unlikely to be sure of the answers. So, if you are unsure, I would suggest you make decisions that keep your options as open as possible. The lean/agile philosophy – just plan your next step based on what you know now.

To help get some perspective, take some time out, do something different like travel, read books, take up a new study course or a new hobby or sport. Use the downtime and new experiences to daydream about the vision for your life. This may help you to uncover the things that are important to you and that you are really interested in.

During school, I had an aptitude for maths and science, so I chose to study science at UCD and picked Physics, Maths, Mathematical Physics and Chemistry in first year. In second year, I dropped Chemistry and then in third year, I had to make a choice (from those remaining three subjects) of which field I wanted to specialise in for my degree.

I was struggling to make a choice and I bumped into one of my friends, he said to me … “yeah, you’ve limited yourself, if only you had studied some biology in 2nd year, you would have more options”. Instead of this statement depressing me, I immediately feel better, as I realised I didn’t want to study biology, I love physics!

It immediately reframed my situation and I felt confident that I knew what I wanted to do. I chose Physics as the subject to specialise in for 3rd and 4th year and haven’t looked back. I had followed my gut in the past in choosing my path in an agile way and even when I doubted myself, I realised that the decisions I made in the past were sound and were working out OK.

I always loved to build things and during college, I found building computing models to simulate real-world situations to be very interesting. I also loved the challenge of competing in various sports, especially tennis, which is still something I do to this day.

So, from a creativity, challenge and competition point of view – the idea of starting my own business appealed to me. And naturally, the business that I wanted to create related to science, maths and computing. This was the ideal outlet for me. I found it to be a calling worthy of my efforts. You could say I found my purpose.

Sharing your purpose

I wanted the company to succeed and to be built to last. This meant two things: 1) the company must be highly aligned with my interests, so that I would be interested in it for the long term and 2) I would need a team to help me.

To build a team of like-minded individuals, it is important to articulate a purpose (vision and mission) so that others: customers, team members, stakeholders, etc. can understand and buy into it.

So, I articulate the purpose of Creme Global as clearly and as often as possible – in both my words and what I spend my time focusing on at work. A mentor of mine says ‘you have to be relentless and boring about this stuff’ so that it fully percolates through to the culture of your organisation.

Being the founder and CEO of the company, I was able to build a company whose purpose is highly aligned with my own. It provides me with fulfilling work and allows me to set a clear vision, mission and strategy for me, but more importantly for the team I work with.

To describe the purpose of our company, we articulated the vision, mission and values of the company. These are all built on the foundation of the company’s purpose.

That’s how I discovered my purpose and how my purpose became our purpose.