Kobe Bryant, dead at 41, along with his 13-year-old daughter and 7 others in a helicopter accident. So sad. There have been accolades from many people since the news of the tragic accident that occurred on Sunday morning in the hills of LA. There has also been an occasional comment on how this larger-than-life basketball star was not a perfect man. Of course, he wasn’t, none of us are perfect. But Kobe Bryant was well-loved and respected by many, and there have been many examples of that. Gone too soon.
I love basketball; it is my favorite sport. And I knew who Kobe Bryant was. But I did not really follow his career and did not know much about his life since he retired from the game, or even that he had retired. Since his death on Sunday, I have learned a lot about the man and his legacy. I will not recount those, since those reading this have probably been inundated with those facts, and do not need anyone else to repeat what is probably now common knowledge. My focus of Kobe Bryant is the main message he leaves us, what his life shows us. Things he did not verbalize but lived.
Kobe Bryant was a man of Passion. His Passion for the game of basketball and the life it offered him is without question. It is obvious in the photos of him playing the game and being interviewed about the game. Passion is obvious on his face and in how he said what he said. The presence of Passion in Kobe Bryant was so obvious. It emanated from his pores. He was one of the fortunate ones. He found what he loved to do and built a life around it. Even with his death at such a young age, he did not die with the music still in him. The rest of us should be so fortunate. That is the legacy Kobe Bryant leaves us.
Passion and Purpose are closely connected. To live a life of Purpose requires that we find our Passion and have the ability to express it often. It is possible that some reading this need some help in understanding Purpose and Passion, and how to live a life filled with those.
Purpose can be defined as why we exist, the reason we are here. When you think of Purpose, think of what gives your life meaning and happiness. Purpose is different than a career or a job. Those are ways we express our Purpose, or don’t. If you dread going to work on Monday, you can assume that your job is not helping you live your Purpose. While all jobs have bad days and things about them that we do not enjoy, if you rarely look forward to going to work, it is time to consider doing something different. Before it is too late.
When thinking about Purpose, ask yourself the question, “What would I like to have the power to change in the world?” You just might find your Purpose in the answer to that question. Once you answer the question, you can then begin to determine if you are able to spend much of your time living your Purpose. If not, it is time to make a change. And yes, this is easier to think about and talk about than to do.
Living a life of Purpose can be found in one’s personal life, not just professional life. But if you have answered the “Purpose” question and find that it is lacking in your life, if it isn’t present anywhere, it is not possible to live a life of meaning and happiness. Before it is too late, do something about it. Purpose gives our lives a sense of direction and helps us to focus our time and priorities.
Passion can be thought of as what we do naturally, without even thinking about it. Think about who you are and what you care about. One good way to uncover your Passion is to think about what you would do if you didn’t get paid for it, or if there was no external incentive to do it. In our Passion(s) we find our energy, that about which we feel most alive. Passion must involve action. If we are passionate about something, we must do it.
An example of Passion and Purpose from my life. I am passionate about helping others to be their best and improving things. That is why I am often telling others what to do! It is also why I have written a weekly blog for 5 years. In my leadership development business and in my personal life, others ask my opinion on how to improve their lives. It is not uncommon for others to refer to me as “inspiring.” I also love antiques and antiquing. But my Passion is not found in “stuff,” as much as I love it. Stuff does not thrill my soul; seeing others improve and be their best does. My Purpose is improving things by helping others to be their best self. This involves individuals, teams, and organizations. My intent in mentioning this is not to brag, but to give a concrete example of Passion and Purpose.
What about you? What are your Purpose and Passion? Are you living a life of meaning and happiness? If not, you still have time to change that. If you need a reason to get serious about this, think of Kobe Bryant and the other 9 people on the helicopter whose time ended on Sunday.
RIP Kobe Bryant.