“One’s purpose is often hidden. Often we do not have the slightest idea what we are, until we become it.”12 That is author Kevin Tobia’s paraphrase of something Nietzsche wrote. I don’t completely agree, but it begs the larger question of what makes us, us.
In his article titled “Change Becomes You,” Tobia raises some interesting questions about purpose, change, and true identity that got me thinking.
Tobia acknowledges that profound changes can either make us a totally different person or can seem to make us become really or truly ourselves. The determining factor seems to be whether the change was purposeful or not.
I had the honor of speaking to a group last Thursday where I shared my story and how it impacts how I lead today. Change is a huge part of my story. At some point, that change became purposeful. I decided who I wanted to be and started to be that person to the best of my ability in each moment. The path that led to that choice was not purposeful.
I also got to tell your story—about how you are making Kimray a wonderful place to work and do life together. I got to brag about how you care for and support one another. I encouraged and challenged other leaders with your story.
We have talked a lot about what Kimray’s “core business” is. This is important and necessary work, and it will lead to better strategy related to investment and diversification. But we are not our “core business.” We are more.
When a child is born, we begin to learn who that child is. Every parent “knows” his or her child. As children grow into a teen and then into an adult, they change significantly, but they are still themselves. There are things about them that are part of their truest identity. These can be obscured but not erased.
Kimray is like that child. We are still fundamentally who we have always been, just more grown up. Over time, some things that are true about us have been obscured, and some have been revealed. Change is necessary for us to become all we can be, and those changes can make it seem we are totally different or truly ourselves. “Purposefulness” is the key.
The way we can be purposeful about change and growth is to know and remain true to what is most really and truly “us.” We are people who choose to make a difference in the lives of those we serve. We honor God, protect and strengthen the family, practice stewardship, and strive to maintain a good name. That is “who” we are. What we do, where we do it, who we do it for, how we do it, and how we get paid for it (or even if we get paid) are all subject to change.
We know who we are. We are still seeing what it looks like to completely become it. I am confident this team will continue to choose purposeful change that reveals more fully the true Kimray Way. My story isn’t finished yet, and neither is Kimray’s. I am grateful every day that I get to be part of writing the story.