Contents and Introduction


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Three Points of View                                       

Faith Point of View                                         

Utility Point of View                                      

Value Added Point of View                              


Question 1-People                                            

Question 2-Pain                                              

         Pain’s Healing Process                           

         Peace Process                                         

Question 3-Passion                                           



About the Author



There I sat with my head in my hands calmly resting my temples on my thumbprints. For some reason sitting in the unemployment office for the second time in as many years was not that bad anymore. I wasn’t filled with depression and despair as I was before. My mind was not clouded with doubt, fear, and a sense of loss of control as before. My circumstances mirrored one of my life’s most painful experiences, and yet this time I felt no pain. It was quite the contrary, my soul was bubbling with hope and limitless opportunity. I thought to myself “I Have Limitless Opportunity”, while a competing thought said ‘you are a Black man on the unemployment line how can you see this jaded world as Limitless Opportunity.


For some reason this time I did. Something had changed inside of me in those past two years. My search for self had landed on solid ground. The quest for meaning was etching out a beautiful tapestry. My steps were ordered and I felt that even these steps through the unemployment line again were drenched in meaning and purpose. This transformation over the past two years had given me eye surgery. I now saw the same things but did not interpret them in the same light. This new passion and a confidence, in my uniquely God given gifts, became the unspoken answer to the multitude of questions that circled my mind.


Text Box: Our purpose is birthed from our painIn taking those two years to deeply self examine my painful experiences, and process through my contributions to my environment I found my Purpose in Life. I now embraced pain and circumstances with a newly healed heart and a positive outlook on my abilities. It still hurt, I could still feel the pain, but I didn’t feel as lonely and as hopeless as I did before. My colleague at Shaw University Dr. William Thurston would always say, “Our purpose is birthed from our pain.”

I understood what he said because I was finally able to honestly analyze my painful experiences.

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said ‘our lives are all tied together in a single garment of destiny’.  More than ever I felt like a valued part of that garment and was charged to play my role in healing and rebuilding the cracks and snares left on humanity. 

Through this process I developed a simple activity that helps all people by looking at life through the conceptual framework of a box (or set of proven principal parameters). I found this was more effective than the trend of living outside the box… which is code for…making it up as you go along. I had realized that I needed a sense of purpose to insulate my emotional trauma in order to create shelter from the winds of poor circumstances. I needed fundamental beliefs in my self and my surroundings that centrally motivated and guided my life’s work. I concluded that I had a role to play in my own destiny and I loved it. I found there was no way this feeling could coexist with my former thoughts of victimization, racial inferiority-then superiority, and a general feeling of being lost on earth.


I gleaned that the process I was going through internally had mirrored the searches of other great people whose lives were filled with meaning and sacrifice. I thought if I could encapsulate these lessons I learned in finding my own purpose in life, I could effectively teach others in their self-navigation process to purpose. This activity would add value to other’s lives. Through trial and error, contextual research, and personal observations of my teaching results with over 1,000 undergraduate students, graduate students, and adult learners I was able to whittle down a self examination activity that takes only fifteen minutes to help people of all ages find their purpose in life.


The following chapters chronicle the lessons found in my own search for purpose and my career as a college professor, organizational consultant, business coach, and nonprofit trainer. The activity in this book can be used for self examination, team building, and community development. I hope you enjoy your journey as much as I still do. Feel free to drop me an email and let me know how you are using this new resource. [email protected]

-With Love Derrick Drakeford

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