One of the saddest things I witness every day is the vast number of people who are stuck in “robot- mode.” They wake up, slam down a bagel and chase that down with a cup of coffee while creeping through traffic at a snail’s pace. When they arrive at work, they flip open their laptop with dread, knowing there are a ton of emails just waiting for them, thus, the walls go up. You may sit in a cubicle with five foot patricians, but the walls you construct every day are much higher, and impenetrable. Your mental focus dials in to get you through another day so you can get home at a reasonable hour to try to have a moment of relaxation before you go to bed and do it all again the next day. Sound familiar to anyone? Do you desire to change all that?
One of the greatest reasons people get into the never-ending cycle of the daily grind is because they have forgotten, or never realized what their purpose is. They spend every day doing work that delivers on the purpose of someone else. At some point in their careers, they gave up on ambitions and dreams they once had in their youth. Whether they got married, had children, or maybe an unfortunate divorce or death in the family, they put their purpose and dreams on the back-burner so they could tackle the challenges of life. Some, who are farther along in their careers even believe it’s too late to re-start their journey towards their life’s purpose. They are wrong!
Step 1: Identify your purpose
Take the time, on a weekend if necessary, and reflect on your life, your whole life. Think all the way back to your childhood and trace your steps to the present. Ask yourself: What were the times you were the happiest? Whether they were moments or time periods, write them down. Then ask yourself: What were the times when you felt the most significant, or the most fulfilled? Write those down. Reflect on your childhood dreams. What were you going to be when you grew up? What happened that caused you to surrender that dream? When? Is there any way to rekindle that fire? If not, are there alternate paths?
My childhood dream was to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. That is beyond reality for me, but through that dream fading, my secondary dream to become a United States Marine took front position, and eventually made obvious what my purpose has become, which is helping people maximize their potential.
After reflecting on your life’s path, your childhood dreams and passions, ask yourself: What are you good at? Whether at work or at home, what do people come to you for the most? What expertise do you have that people are always asking you to share? What questions do you jump at answering? What problems do your friends or colleagues have that they always come to you to help them solve? How does it make you feel when you are sought after to help people in those areas?
Step 2. Write down what your ideal day and week would look like
This is where self-limiting thoughts are going to creep in and attempt to knock you back into your comfort zone. You must throw out all attempts to limit yourself. If you make $100,000 annually, and you desire to make $100,000 monthly, write it down. Do not allow your past to self-sabotage your future. Remove all your daily restrictions and write a page or two of what your life looks like living a life you desire. Make sure to even capture how you want to feel daily and weekly as a result of living this way. Also, don’t limit your writing to just a professional standpoint. Write about what your personal life will look like as well. Allow yourself a week or so to do this two or three times over that period. Each time you write, do not go back to your previous writings. Allow yourself to write strictly from your heart and soul, and maintain your discipline in not allowing those self-sabotaging thoughts to creep in, because they will. By the way, you don’t have to ever let anyone else read these. They are just for your eyes.
Step 3. Write your purpose statement
After multiple writings, take the two or three writings and read them. Write down the most obvious and consistent themes. What feelings are consistent that you desire to have for yourself? What daily and weekly routines are consistent in what you have written? How do those consistencies line up with your dreams as a child? Are there any themes and consistencies there?
Take all that information and put it into a purpose statement: A good starting point is Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” template: To ___________, so that ___________. I will share with you my purpose statement to give you an idea.
To improve, secure, and protect the future of the United States of America, so that our children, and our children's children live in freedom and prosperity.
I LIVE MY PURPOSE BY...
Helping people strive for, and achieve their maximum leadership potential through leadership coaching, group coaching, leadership development consulting, and developing leadership strategies that build organizational cultures that are populated by leaders rather than followers.
Write your purpose statement multiple times, as you did when you wrote your desired daily and weekly life. Make sure that what you end up with gives you a visceral feeling, something you can’t explain. You just know that how that statement makes you feel is right. You feel completed by that statement, you feel significant, and you feel confident in saying it to anyone.
Step 4. Live your purpose every day
Start today. There is no time like the present. Begin living your purpose in every small or large way possible. I have no doubt you lead a busy life. Don’t worry about the money. That will work itself out. Live your purpose where ever you are. If you want to help people, start with family, friends, or work colleagues. Seek out educational opportunities such as books, certification, training, and seminars. Make time for your purpose.
If you don’t have enough time in your day, make it. Get up earlier, or go to bed later. Don’t allow the excuse of time stop you. I have no doubt you have something in your day that you can cut out to make time for your purpose, because here is a very true statement. When you are laying on your death-bed, you will not measure your success on the money in your bank account as much as the impact you had on the world. That impact is most likely found in the self-worth, fulfillment, and purpose you have for yourself. Would you regret not finding that extra time? If the answer is yes, here is your chance to negate that regret.
Happy New Year!
Agoge Leadership Development LLC
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