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Ethical Edge Letters on Integrity  

Click here for Russell Williams' bio


Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Discomfort is a powerful teacher
What is the calling of work?


“The human race may be compared to a writer. At the outset a writer has often only a vague general notion of the plan of his work, and of the thought he intends to elaborate. As he proceeds, penetrating his material, laboring to express himself fit, he lays a firmer grasp of thought; he finds himself. So the human race is writing its story, finding itself, discovering its own underlying purpose.”
—Felix Adler

Our professional work is a powerful place for the discovery of noble purpose. Commerce is more than product, service and competitive edge. Commerce is the place for the expression of meaning. Values that are pragmatically exercised shape the contour and color that bring tone to meaning fulfillment at work. What is the calling of work? It is writing the story of meaning: managing your purpose as an influencer for good!

Those who have careers in the auto industry have experienced a roller-coaster ride of challenge in this Great Recession. In the midst of an earthquake-like restructuring and realignment, many local auto dealers have scratched to survive. And yet, there are those who used survival as a time to pursue their noble purpose.

Mark, a good friend of mine, has accomplished just that as an automotive owner/dealer. Faced with a severe business survival test, Mark had to demonstrate that his dealership was best positioned to service Orange County customers as GM dramatically shut down dealerships throughout the U.S. and more specifically in the Western states. 

Taking on the challenge of survival became Mark’s challenge. He envisioned his dealership as clearly prepared and equipped to serve the short- and long-term needs of his customers, employees, suppliers, banks and O.C. municipalities. He focused his energies on demonstrating trust skills of competence, consistency and care for others as he crafted a proposal for GM. Through an exhaustive, difficult process, he envisioned his purpose of service based on his personal character. He succeeded! He has accomplished his agency’s survival in O.C.; he now stands prepared to have his dealership continue to write its new chapters in a purpose story crafted on the foundation of integrity.

Mission Integrity Action

Purpose seeking is on the radar screen of my professional calling this week. I focus on serving others with my personal and my company’s values being transparently present in conversations, negotiations and agreements. What is significant in writing the meaning story is that the values I live by are guiding my personal and professional actions as an influencer for good. 

Russell Williams,
founder/president
Passkeys Foundation/Ethical Edge
ethicaledge.org