What can we learn from Grey’s Anatomy about purpose?

Knowing what you want

So I’m a bit of serial drama addict.  I love getting immersed in the latest instalment of a really good story.  I also seem to have a tendency of being behind everyone else.  The beauty of video streaming is you can watch what you want when you want and my current tipple is Grey’s Anatomy.  I think I’m on season 8 now but still a number of years behind the rest of the planet.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about then just know it’s a hospital drama set in Seattle.

One of my favourite characters is Christina.  I love how she is so clear about becoming a cardio-thoracic surgeon.  She is fully committed to her chosen field, she makes decisions based on this and she lights up when she has the opportunity to practice her skill.

For me, this is at the heart of personal leadership.  Knowing what you want.  Having clarity about what is right for you.  Living in alignment with that.  Being on purpose.


For Christina, this comes easily, she is laser-focused on what is important to her, sometimes to the detriment of those around her.  For those of us who don’t have such innate clarity, it can be difficult to find our North Star, that guiding light illuminating the way to a fulfilled life.  Many of my clients come to me for help in figuring out what they want.  So what’s the starting point?  Where do you even begin?

Unlike Christina, it’s taken me the best part of my working life to figure out what I want.  Having that clarity has made such a difference to me.  It’s taken me on a journey of switching careers and setting up my own business.  Whilst that in itself has been a rollercoaster I know deep inside that I’m doing work that fulfils me and has the impact I want to have on others.  It lights me up.

A radical act

So how did I get here?

Well, it wasn’t an overnight thing, although there was one powerful question that really made me stop in my tracks and revisit everything in my life.

“If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I do?

In other words, what’s the radical act I would take?

Achievement, success, career progression and a comfortable lifestyle had all become so ingrained for me that I’d forgotten to really think about what I wanted.  When I removed the fear of failure and gave myself permission to get clarity a whole new world opened up to me.  I’m still creating that world for myself, it’s often a scary place to be, but I have a clear picture of what it looks like and where I’m going.  It’s frightening and exhilarating all at the same time.  I’m alive and I’m where I’m meant to be.

So my challenge to you this week is to sit with this question: “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

Allow yourself to be creative, brave, playful and imaginative.  A world of possibilities lies before you.


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