Success Tips: Reinstate Rites of Passage

Apr 21, 2022

Rites of passage. Most are familiar with the terminology, but few are aware of how essential they are for the development of individuals and society.

Historically, rites of passage were baked into the development of humanity.

If you were destined to be a knight, you would go through a rigorous development path. First you would be a page, then a squire, and finally a knight. Each stage would have a new element of growth and advancement to live out and learn the core values of being a knight: honor, honesty, valor, and loyalty. An inspiring knight had a clear path, core values they lived by, and a purpose!

OK, I’m not attempting to convince you to become a knight, but I bet you could admit that it sounds nice to have such a defined plan to follow and to become an essential piece of society.

When we look at the present day, we see almost the opposite reality. At an early age, children are asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” They often grasp lofty ideals like an astronaut, a doctor, or a professional baseball player. They continue down the prescribed path of schooling until they declare a focus/major with little confidence. We are doing something wrong, and it is having devastating effects on how people view their work. Is there a better way?

There most certainly is! We need to reference the knights’ journey and realize the Path to Purpose is paved with definition, clarity, and rites of passage.

Definition only comes from self-discovery. What if we taught children how to learn about themselves earlier in life? Then, and only then, can they dream about who they are uniquely called to be.

Instead, we teach them to learn stuff, in hopes they accumulate enough to be well-rounded, but not experts. It's not working. Work disengagement hovers around 80%. Yes, 4 out of 5 people don’t feel called to what they do.

The journey of learning about yourself leads to clarity of purpose. Amidst the journey of self-discovery there are many signs. Those that are self-aware pick up on those signs as a path to career development. But for most, these signs get overcome with the noise of the world. They never take root in the path to purpose; therefore, the seeker tends to just accumulate knowledge instead of gaining wisdom about how to find purpose, develop, and see a career of meaning.

Among these signs are moments that mark change. These moments are rites of passage: moments when life is teaching you that you are ready for your next stage of development to fulfill your purpose.

Rites of passage are almost extinct in the present day. Without them, children and young adults are expected to guess their way to purpose with a foggy path and undefined values. As we embrace the purpose movement, we need to come back to the basics. We need to recognize the important signs in our life that lead us to purpose. We need to reinstitute rites of passage.

Rites of passage can be as simple as important birthdays or certain levels of accomplishment. They can look vastly different depending on the family and individual. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to rites of passage; however, their absence will rob you of a clearly defined path of purpose.

Today, consider:

  • What rites of passage in your life signaled a significant development on your path to purpose?
  • If you have children, contemplate how you can develop rites of passage.

If you’re wondering how to instill more awareness of your purpose amidst the changing seasons of life, and you haven’t done so already, buy The Purpose Promise book and workbook. They will help you define key areas in your life that lead you to purpose and loving your work!

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