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November 7, 2011 / mike54martin

Walking With Purpose

There have been many books and stories told about the importance of having purpose to your actions and to your life and for the most part I think that people are generally effective at doing this, at least for the most important things, and at least for short bursts of time. But I have to confess that sometimes my “purposeful life” is very short lived as I use my internal power to achieve a particular goal or solve a difficult problem.

The challenge therefore is how we maintain our long term focus on our purpose in the face of our short term memory on this subject. One of the answers is to go back to what was working for us in the first place. For me that means re-acquainting myself with some of the masters. These include the all time favorites like the Dalai Lama and Wayne Dyer but also some new thinking, like BerticeBerrywho I had the opportunity to hear a few years ago. She may be young in years but she is wise in wisdom. Dr. Berry earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from Kent State Universityat the age of 26 and is a sociologist, author, lecturer and educator.

The theme of her presentation was “When You Walk With Purpose, You Collide With Destiny” and althoughBerrybelieves that purpose doesn’t come by formula, there are some steps we can follow. Here are some of her suggestions:

Reclaiming Diversity

Berry cautions us not to be trapped by the labels and stereotypes that society may place on us. We should allow our thinking and beliefs to evolve as we grow and not be ‘boxed in’ causing societal beliefs to limit our purpose. Embracing diversity doesn’t mean that we see the difference in others, but that we join with others to achieve our purpose.

Living Your Life in Thirds

“Living your life in Thirds” is her way of saying that we shouldn’t get too focused on one part of our lives at the expense of others. We are whole consisting of three different aspects: work, family, community. Thus our purpose must involve all three parts as well. Her view is that our purpose does not involve only one aspect. We need full and balanced lives to be truly successful and our purpose in life will not come from only from work, but  also from social interaction and community involvement.

Being Well and Staying Well

Dr. Berry points out that we have to maintain a balance between our body and spirit in order to stay focused on achieving our purpose. This involves eating well and exercising often, and it also means feeding your brain by engaging in continuous learning.


Claiming All Parts of Yourself

Dr. Berrybelieves that everything happens for a reason and once we understand the reason for our experiences—good and bad—the easier it will be for us to grow towards the light. By honoring all experiences, we align our self with our true purpose.

Learning to Laugh More

As a humorist Berry clearly understands the link between learning and laughter. Laughter is a restorative for all of our day-to-day ills. Through finding the humor in difficult situations, life is much easier.

So… How’s your walk going these days??

Mike Martin is a freelance writer and consultant specializing in workplace wellness and conflict resolution. He is the author of “Change the Things You Can” (Dealing with Difficult People). For more information about Mike please visit:



Leave a Comment
  1. Dianne Venetta / Nov 8 2011 2:06 am

    Wow–I LOVE the idea of “walking in thirds” or at least thinking that way. Yes, we can get to focused on one aspect or another. Good reminder to open our minds.

    • mike54martin / Nov 8 2011 3:08 am

      Hi Dianne. Yeah, isn’t that a great concept. It’s one of the few things that I have retained since hearing Bertice Berry speak and I think it’s because we want to live our lives that way, we just don’t know how.

  2. Kitty Kilian / Nov 8 2011 7:09 am

    “Dr. Berry believes that everything happens for a reason and once we understand the reason for our experiences—good and bad—the easier it will be for us to grow towards the light.”

    Interesting the religious bent in all of these books.

    The law of thirds is a practical one, that appeals to me. Although I know of many a workaholic who luckily wasn’t stopped – like many great artists and inventors.

    So maybe these rules only apply to office workers? 😉

    • mike54martin / Nov 8 2011 11:19 am

      Spiritual, not religious principles, Kitty. They can even be humanist if you prefer. Also to be driven is a great thing. To be driven mad not so much. Van Gogh was a great artist but I wouldn’t want his life.

  3. Jeannette Paladino / Nov 9 2011 3:23 am

    I also like the concept of living your life in thirds: work, family, community. The thing is you can’t live them equally at any one time. There will be times when work dominates, especially when you’re building a career. Family dominates when you’re starting one. Community dominates, potentially, as your other life demands recede and you have more time to devote to others outside your work and family. That’s the life cycle. Of course, it’s different for each individual.

    • mike54martin / Nov 9 2011 3:33 am

      Thanks Jeannette. I agree. Sometimes one of the ‘thirds’ wil take over or have precedence. But almost every teacher or guide that I know encourages balance in all aspects of our lives. I think the challenge is coming back to each third on a regular basis to ensure that we don’t get too far out of kilter.


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