Dilbert/ Scott Adams/ Purpose
Dilbert/ Scott Adams/ Purpose

Two months ago, I had dinner with fellow Integral Master CoachTM Ellen Sprenger, who was in India for meetings. Being in India, away from an ICC community can be isolating and I welcome opportunities to “talk shop” with ICC-ers in real life.

Over dinner, we spoke of our own visions, learnings and our interest in the power of somatics and other jargon.  I shared my plans for new business models and offerings that I felt I needed to venture into.  It was all rather nebulous and I was looking to brainstorm.

Ellen spoke of a Integral based, business model course she attended which she said provided her incredible clarity.

I looked it up later. It was a course in building a new business model from scratch – but a conscious business model.

You could be someone who is starting off a new business or someone well into the business cycle. But could still use this to tweak your course and offerings.  I whisked off an email to Brett Thomas from the Conscious Business Coalition who wrote saying he was offering a brand new 4 week course which he was running for the first time.

I signed up.

And it was one of my best sign ups as they went.

In the past 4 weeks, I have learnt one of the most significant things that I wasn’t able to enunciate along my entire journey as a professional.

(Besides the fact that using the term sales and marketing is dated and robotic – its all about advocacy and relationships)

I learnt to enunciate my purpose.

Over my life it has ranged from something as simple as “making money” to “making it big” to “making a difference” to “bringing long term change”.

And then, Brett put it simply.

  1. What are you naturally great at? Where does your talent lie?
  2. What are you passionate about? What gets you excited?
  3. What brings meaning to the World? What does the World need?

He asked we draw a Venn diagram with these 3 circles and find the point that intersects.

That would be your purpose, he said.

In your mid forties, it’s a bit unnerving to think about being “naturally” great at something.

I wasn’t sure I was clear since a lot of what I felt I was good at came from many years of doing it.

Should I be looking to my childhood strengths I wondered? I am not naturally a singer, writer, athlete, etc. and while I can do a bit of some what was my talent? What was my now elusive talent?

I thought long and hard and finally made some tentative moves on the Venn.

And from that point, the rest of my model flowed easily, with conviction and with it brought so much more meaning.

But wait; where was the money?

I read a post by George Kao that my friend Wendy shared which was also to do with purpose.

Kao said referencing Anais Bock’s venn,  the minute you add money, you make it about livelihood.

(See the Venn George referenced below by Anais)

Purpose - the purple dot/ Anais Bock
Purpose – the purple dot/ Anais Bock


I see merit in this too.

Money is a big reason many do what they do.

However adding the other three dimensions to money, makes it powerful.

Makes it a damn good reason for you to do what you do.

A great reason.

Gives life to the sometimes empty platitude, “Love what you do.”

I call Anais’ diagram the Magical Venn.

I wish I had discovered this when I was evaluating what I wanted to do with my life many years ago. Instead of evaluating myself on parameters like what I had accomplished every New Year (which got me depressed)

I wish I had evaluated my life every year based on this model.

Now, I shall.

And I hope everyone who reads this will draw their own magical Venn, and help young adults craft their own too.


George Kao has some interesting thoughts that you can watch in the video below on finding purpose in life.

Brett Thomas’ site:  www.consciousbusinesscoalition.com

Integral Coaching Canada: www.integralcoachingcanada.com

George Kao’s website: www.georgekao.com

Scott Adams for Dilbert: www.dilbert.com

The Venn by Anais Bock: www.meetanais.com

Recently read article (added 18 Feb2015) http://www.fastcodesign.com/3028946/find-your-passion-with-these-8-thought-provoking-questions?utm_source=facebook

My company – Zebraa Works: www.zebraa.in





  1. Kiran Manral


    Off to try this now. Have never ever sat myself down and wondered how and what I should do with my life. But this seems like something simple enough that could bring clarity.

  2. This is wonderful information, Aparna. Those three questions are fantastic. I was able to answer them quickly and easily though I hadn’t thought about it in those terms before. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I loved this blog Aparna – thank you for riffing so well with the notes that get played around you. Much love


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