It’s never too late to learn more about yourself and the world around you. That’s the philosophy behind the Lifetime of Learning Task Force, a group of west metro organizations dedicated to promoting healthy aging through lifelong learning opportunities.
Coordinated by Wayzata Community Education, the alliance includes members from the cities of Plymouth and Wayzata, Friends of the Plymouth Library and the Ridgedale Library, Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners and others. Since 2013, the group has organized keynote events with past speakers including economist Chris Farrell, former WCCO anchor Don Shelby and foodie and philanthropist Sue Zelickson.
Claudia Hunter, a member of the task force as a Friend of the Plymouth Library, says the talks are geared toward the 55+ audience and tend to run an hour, with a half-hour Q&A. Featuring inspiring themes of reinventing yourself and embracing your passions, Hunter has found past talks informative.
For its fourth annual speaker event set for September 15 at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, bestselling author and life coach Richard Leider will give a talk on the power of purpose. As the chief curator of AARP’s Life Reimagined Institute and founder of Inventure – The Purpose Company, Leider has spent the past four decades studying the importance of having a reason to get up every morning. “Purpose is fundamental to health, healing, happiness, productivity and ultimately, longevity,” Leider says. “Without a clear reason to get up in the morning, we just don’t do as well.”
During his talk, he plans to do what he calls a “purpose checkup” with the audience. With one third of people today going through some sort of life transition—whether it’s job, health or relationship related—Leider says it’s important to do a purpose checkup regularly just as you would do a physical exam or take your car in. Along with discussing how to effectively manage life transitions, he’ll dispel three common myths about purpose.
One myth is that you need to have a specific cause to have a purpose. “The answer to that is no, purpose is a mindset,” Leider says. The second myth is that purpose will be revealed to you if you simply wait for it, to which Leider responds, “Purpose is a practice, something you do on a day to day, moment to moment basis.” The third and most important myth to debunk is that purpose is a luxury for a lucky few—but purpose is “fundamental to who we are as human beings,” Leider explains.
Donna Comer, a member of the Lifetime of Learning Task Force and the adult enrichment coordinator at Robbinsdale Area Schools Community Education, sees the power of purpose in her program each day. Watching people stay active and engaged with things they love, Comer sees firsthand the importance of finding that spark to keep you going and a village of people you connect with. “It just makes a world of difference,” Comer says. “The whole premise of having a purpose in life really resonates with me, and hopefully Leider’s message will resonate with active older adults in the community.”
While Leider’s message of reimagining your life might especially connect with an older audience, he notes that his work and the talk are relevant for people of all ages. Attendees of all backgrounds at Leider’s talk will come away with the knowledge that they’re not alone. “Part of going to a program like this is to be inspired and to be a part of a community of other seekers, or people who are interested in this kind of thing,” he says.
Audience members will also walk away with some helpful tools they can use right away to live with purpose. “My purpose is to help people unlock their purpose, and ‘unlock it’ means it’s already in us,” Leider says. “We don’t need to go out there and discover it; we need to dig down and unlock it, or uncover it from within.”
Lifetime of Learning annual speaker event
Thursday, September 15, 7 p.m., Free.
Robbinsdale Armstrong High School