In an OCF staff meeting last week, we discussed a recent proposal we'd begun circulating. When it came time to decide what steps were next, Jen (our Executive Director) asked me directly to “Make 5 slides!”

My first response was confusion, as my mind immediately jumped to: “For what purpose? What's the goal?” and I was even mildly frustrated that such an important note could be overlooked.

That conversation was on my mind yesterday as I was reading a book by Tim Elmore, when he gave an anecdote from a goal-oriented experience with his wife:

I wanted to get her from Point A to Point B in a fluid manner; my pathway was to be the shortest distance between two points. It was then that I recognized we were pursuing our mutual goals in an entirely different fashion… She was enjoying the process, while I could only find enjoyment in accomplishing the purpose. (emphasis mine)

That's when I realized that this is exactly what was going on in that meeting!

I needed to know the end result before I could justify the action. I'm a lot like a dog, in that if you point one direction and urge me on without pointing out the goal in sight, I just angle my head at you and look confused. Once I've set my sights on the goal, however, I'm usually focused and proceed to run towards my target as fast as I can.

I've always been a goal-oriented person, but sometimes I forget that not everyone works that way. I've found that it's incredibly important for you and I to identify how we think, process information, and where we thrive so that we can take this into account in everyday interactions with others.

For me, this hasn't just meant learning how to work with others. This has been an incredible opportunity to examine the strengths of my approach, but also to confess my weaknesses.

There's a beauty to the process of anything, and that can easily be forgotten in light of the goal. Goals are important—whether to align your actions as a team or to direct your focus as you work alone—but they are nothing without the process. The journey of life is not simply a series of destinations, it is a continuous walk- one step at a time.

I walked away from this experience with a new appreciation for the process that ultimately leads to the goals we set before ourselves, but also a better understanding as to how the minds of other people differ from mine. This wasn't just about PowerPoint slides; this was about relating to others, by pausing to work together on every step of the journey of life.

Question: Do you consider yourself more of a process or purpose-driven person? You can comment by clicking here.

2 thoughts on “The Purpose of Process

    1. Yes, the book I quoted actually said that most men are purpose-driven and most women are content with the process! I didn’t mention that here simply because I know there are exceptions, like our very own Christina.

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