Taking time to reflect on your life meaning and purpose

Natalie MuyresArticles

By Eleanor Finger

In June 2021, the Human Venture Associates participated in a reflection exercise using questions adapted by Laura Kennett and Mark Hopkins from the Presencing Institute and which they had used as part of their work as Fellows at the Energy Futures Lab. The exercise was meant to help us take a moment to assess our current context, what challenges we were facing, and help us re-connect to the essential purpose of the Human Venture.

We are sharing the questions, in the hope that they may be a useful prompt in your thinking and reflection. As a reminder, the purpose of the Human Venture, and what we hope all community members are inspired by, is the following:

We exist to create and support a mutual learning community that will generate:

  • Increasing numbers of increasingly resourceful, resilient, responsible life-ranging human beings with diagnostic and design capabilities for reducing ignorance and error, waste, suffering and injustice at all levels, from individuals to civilization. 
  • The creation of institutions, cultural and societal resources, leaders and ecologies of influence (locally and globally) that support the development and maintenance of systemic-adaptive capacities.

Reflection Questions

  1. What are the 2 or 3 most important challenges or tasks that your personal and/or professional life currently presents?
  2. What are 2 or 3 important accomplishments you have achieved or competencies you have developed in your life (examples: finishing your education; being a good listener)?
  3. What are your most vital sources of motivation and inspiration?
  4. When have you noticed in yourself any one of the following three “voices” kicking in, preventing you from exploring the situation you were in more deeply:Voice of Judgment: where you found yourself downloading instead of inquiring.
  5. Voice of Cynicism: where you found yourself disconnecting instead of relating.
  6. Voice of Fear: where you found yourself holding on to the past or the present instead of letting go.
  7. Over the past few months, what new questions and ideas about our Human Venture purpose are occurring to you?
  8. Who may be impacted by your work on your life commitments and striving?  Choose two people with different perspectives and write down their hopes of you.
  9. Emerging Self: What 2 or 3 important aspirations, areas of interest, or undeveloped talents would you like to place more focus on in your journey (examples: new collaboration, new projects, new social movements)?
  10. Imagine you could fast-forward to the achievement of Human Venture’s purpose (a long time from now). Looking back, what would you want to say were your greatest contributions?
  11. From that (future) place, look back at your current situation. What advice would you give your present self?
  12. Returning to the present, what do you hope to accomplish in your work with the Human Venture or in the wider community in the next 3-5 years? Describe as concretely as possible the images and elements that occur to you.
  13. What in your current life or context provides the seeds for the future that you want to create? Where do you see yourself beginning?
  14. What might you have to “let go of” in order to bring your vision into reality? (e.g. assumptions, “being right” vs. “getting it right”, perfectionism, etc.)
  15. Over the next three months, if you were to prototype a model of the future to learn by doing something new, what would that prototype look like?
  16. Who can help you make your vision of the future a reality? Who might be your core helpers and partners?
  17. Action: To bring your intention into reality, what practical first steps would you take over the next 3 to 4 days?