Last week we focused on burnout and looking for greener pastures. We realized that it’s not the job or environment that burns our grass, but neglecting our responsibility to do what’s required to keep our grass green. We forget our purpose.

In his book, The Seed, John Gordon shares that “we don’t get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it.” No matter our vocation choice or calling, we have a purpose. When we lose sight of our purpose, we risk getting frustrated, disenchanted, and burned out.  Our grass is no longer green.

I believe that I, like so many others in service vocations, have been called to serve others unconditionally – to help others succeed. That’s my purpose. That’s my foundation. However, in moments when I’m hard pressed and feeling overwhelmingly frustrated with life or work, I become so focused on the who, what, where, when, and how stuff that I forget my why. If I’m truly called to help others, for what reason do I allow myself to get so upset with anyone or any situation when I’m called to help? I become so frustratingly focused on things that I often can’t control that I abandon the one thing that I can – living my purpose.

Our purpose is like a compass — always pointing us to our True North. It guides us to find our way back whenever we lose our way.

My grandmother, father, and several aunts and uncles were educators. My wife is a teacher. I work in healthcare. I am familiar with the ongoing risks of burnout opportunities: changing curriculum, large class sizes, disengaged students and faculty, upset parents, EMR upgrades, constant regulation changes, supply chain issues, staff shortages and on and on. If we stay focused on these things, frustration builds over time and our grass dies. In these moments we need to shift our focus to our purpose to serve our students, our patients, and our colleagues and help them succeed no matter the obstacles.

My children often notice when I’ve had a tough day at work, looking dejected and feeling like I’m giving up. My son is quick to encourage and remind me that “just like in the movie Moana, Dad, ‘you must find happiness right where you are.’”

We can choose to keep our grass green where we are by controlling what we can control and living our True North purpose. By doing so, our purpose unifies us with like-minded people engaged in a selfless calling of humility, hospitality, healing, gentleness, patience, love, and hope.

Living our purpose demonstrates servant leadership; we collectively let our calling flow through us. By doing so, we own our responsibility and accountability to meet people where they are, without condition or judgment, and, by the power of choice, seek opportunities to make other peoples’ lives better. This in turns keeps our grass green and makes our own lives better.

To my way-finder friends at Top 20, thank you for helping me see the path and inspiring purpose.

By Steve Ring


From our Top 20 purpose-driven team…Willow, Kevin, and Tom.

Paul Bernabei, Director
Top 20 Training