Direction & Purpose… Which First?

Joe Jacobi
3 min readOct 10, 2021
Parc del Segre, La Seu d’Urgell, Catalunya, Autumn, 2021 (Joe Jacobi Photo)

“My desire is to make some decisions regarding allocating my energy, time, and resources going forward.”

After reading this sentence, what preceded and followed in Jacqui’s email, which included a defined problem and desired outcome, were less important to me.


Because of Jacqui’s attention to the word, “energy.”

This provided the traction to initiate our collaboration.

Within a few weeks of receiving Jacqui’s email in December, 2020 (and separate from this new coaching collaboration,) Sunday Morning Joe became a six-month experiment for a weekly writing project called The Pursuit Of Contentment On The River Of Uncertainty.

If transferring reflections of river adventures and international competition experiences into a process for cultivating energy, strategy, and relationships taught or reinforced a single point, it would be this:

Our thoughts, feelings, and actions exist on a scale.

A sliding scale to be exact… that is in an everlasting state of change.

Instead of searching for destinations that falsely promise permanence, this writing series prompted me to consider every meaningful life attribute and ask:

On this day, at this moment, where am I on the scale?

Then, just notice, accept, and act.

Over the past seven years of Sunday Morning Joe, the writing has helped to evolve my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in ways that moved (and continue to move) my life in new directions. But the short description I use to describe Sunday Morning Joe remains the same:

Helping people to improve performance, overcome challenge, and align with purpose.

That last part… it does not reference finding purpose. Just moving closer to it.

Inevitably, purpose enters our life equation. Or sometimes, it looms over our life equation.

Purpose compels us to confront the “Why?” question.

Under the tightened grip of this force, one can feel trapped in what appears to be an incomplete life. Or an unfulfilled life.

Unless, we reframe purpose.

What happens when we put Purpose on a scale that runs from Got it! on one end to Search In Progress on the other?

Then, simply notice where we are at this moment.

If the scale tips towards Got it!, consider its impermanence. After all, this is a process of change, not a destination.

If we arrive at moments when purpose is laser-focused, what happens if we hold it more gently?

Perhaps the majority of us find ourselves leaning towards the other side of the scale — the Search In Progress. Here, what happens if we convert this searching energy into energy of direction?

To be Directed releases the grip associated with higher callings and frees us to:

Challenge and…

To just be.

Choosing direction was the impetus of the collaboration with Jacqui — a collaboration that found its momentum with Jacqui’s initial attention to choosing energy.

Jacqui eloquently writes about her journey HERE.

Underpinning her professional growth and progress is a deeper practice of better directing her personal energy…

In small steps forward every day…

Which reminds us…

Directed is the process.
Directed precedes purpose.

With gratitude,


Connect with Joe:

Joe Jacobi is an Olympic Gold Medalist and Performance Coach who collaborates with leaders & teams by getting them outside the day-to-day rush of life and bringing focus to what truly matters most.

His strategies and concepts help clients, including sales and technology executives, doctors, senior-level bankers, and military leaders, to perform their best without compromising their lives.

Joe continually practices and refines his core principles and strategies via his own life and pursuits at his Pyrenees mountains home beside the 1992 Olympic Canoeing venue in La Seu d’Urgell in the Spanish state of Catalunya — the same canoeing venue where along with his canoeing partner, Scott Strausbaugh, Joe won America’s first-ever Olympic Gold Medal in the sport of Whitewater Canoe Slalom at the 1992 Olympic Games.



Joe Jacobi

Olympic Gold Medalist, Performance Coach, & Author helping leaders & teams perform their best without compromising their lives.