Where is your greatest loyalty – to your purpose or to specific people in your life?
This is an interesting character sculpting choice, isn’t it?
If you remain loyal to the people in your life, your alignment with your purpose will be weaker. When you have a conflict between people and purpose, you’ll stick with the people and allow some misalignments with your purpose.
For example, if your purpose is focused on personal growth, but you’re loyal to the people in your life above and beyond your purpose, you’ll stick with friends who hold you back from growing. You may get sucked into pity parties or whinefests. You may decline opportunities to adopt a more aligned social circle. The upside is that the people in your life will likely see you as a loyal and stable friend.
On the flip side, suppose you’re more loyal to your purpose. Then you can expect your social circle to change more over time. From time to time, you’ll move on from social connections that feel misaligned. Some people will be aligned with your purpose, and some won’t. As your expression of your purpose changes, you may also find new people more supportive than your old friends, so your social circle will often change too.
So in this case, most of the time when you have a significant conflict between purpose and people, you’ll stick with your purpose and let your social relationships float. Some people will find you more attractive because of your purpose alignment, and some will find you less attractive. And you accept all of that.
I definitely tend to be more loyal to purpose than to specific people. You can see this in my 16 years of blogging. I’ve stuck to my purpose to explore personal growth and to share what I learn for the benefit of others. I express this purpose differently each year, but the purpose has been pretty solid since I started.
My readership changes over time though. Some people who started reading my blog in 2004 have long since abandoned my work. Meanwhile new people are discovering it each day. The audience I have today isn’t the same audience from previous years. It keeps shifting and changing.
I don’t get clingy with any particular audience or readers. I’m cool with people choosing to read or not read what I write. I tend to value new readers just as much as long-term ones. Alignment matters more to me than longevity or social loyalty.
I could have done things differently. I could have bent more in the direction some people in my audience wanted me to go, being more loyal to them instead of staying loyal to my purpose. If it were up to some of those people, and if my loyalty was to them above and beyond my purpose, then I would still be in my first marriage, for instance. I’d be a lot more narrow in my focus.
I also wouldn’t have explored Subjective Reality much, and I definitely wouldn’t have recorded the full 60-lesson Submersion course on that topic. Submersion exists because I was loyal to my purpose and therefore somewhat disloyal to the early readers of my blog, many of whom were not at all interested in SR. In fact, most of the most interesting topics on my blog were explored because I was loyal to my purpose and disloyal to my previous readers.
It probably won’t surprise you that some people really like that I’m this way, and some people really hate it. If someone has been reading my blog for 5+ years, and then I write about some topic they really don’t like, they sometimes frame it as a personal betrayal. And I let them dump me if that’s what they want to do.
There are pros and cons to both approaches. I have a less stable friendship circle because of my loyalty to personal growth, but it’s always freshened up with new connections. I have a less stable readership base. I’ve built followings on platforms and then dropped the platforms. For instance, I built up 30K+ followers on Twitter over a period of years, and then I closed my Twitter account in 2014. I no longer found Twitter to be aligned with my purpose, so I let it go and moved on. Some people thought that was crazy. To me it’s just sensible. Why keep doing what’s misaligned?
What I gain here is a stable feeling of grounding in my purpose. And I feel that’s better for a stronger relationship with life and with humanity as a whole.
I feel less attached to what happens in terms of individual relationships because I see my human relationships as being relationships with different aspects of life. I feel less bothered by criticism or threats. I can’t control what other people do or don’t do, but I can control how I express my purpose, and so that keeps me feeling grounded, centered, and positive. Even when my social circle is going through some changes, I just stay focused on my purpose, and I wait for the dust to settle.
This works for me. I’m not sure if it’s the best approach for everyone though. Some people seem to need more stability and predictability in their social circles for a sense of grounding. I tend to see the downsides of the social loyalty approach more clearly though because such people email me a lot. They tell me how stuck they are due to having misaligned social circles holding them back. They lament about various family problems that sometimes seem like bottomless pits and rampant boundary violations. But if their loyalty is to people ahead of purpose, then of course they’re going to have more problems that stem from that approach. In particular, I think such people are more vulnerable to emotional manipulation.
Sometimes you can have the best of both worlds though. That means attracting people who also strongly align with your purpose. Then you can walk a long way together. Interestingly I find that this means connecting with people who also have a strong purpose alignment.
I actually feel more secure and grounded in relationships with people who are very purpose focused, and I think they probably feel the same towards me. By contrast I think it’s hard to feel a sense of loyalty from a purpose-centered person unless you’re well-aligned with a compatible purpose. If you’re more loyal to people than purpose, you may not feel as centered or secure in your relationships with purpose-driven people.
How can someone feel more secure in a relationship with me personally or with someone else who’s very purpose-driven? Get clear about your purpose, and be loyal to that. Even if your purpose is different from mine, that’s likely to generate a lot of stability and security in relationships with other purpose-driven people.
Conscious Growth Club is designed around this idea too. The loyalty of the club is first and foremost to its purpose, which is focused on generating growth experiences and getting results for the members. So it’s always going to steer itself away from becoming too cliquish. The members who are likely to feel most aligned with it will be the ones who embrace its growth-oriented purpose.
You can do this prioritization either way in your own life. Just be aware that there are significant consequences to this choice, so it really is a biggie that you’ll want to carefully consider. I find that the best approach is to test both. When I was younger, I tested a social circle first approach. It was amazing and wild due to the people I connected with, but today I see my social circle as being better slotted into a secondary position behind a solid connection to purpose.