Tag: growth

Stir the Embers

Whether you are just discovering your purpose or have been on this journey for a while, you know that it’s not always easy or comfortable.  You can’t always expect immediate results.

You may have had a smoother transition to something in the past, or you may see someone else who seems to have it easier than you.  It can be frustrating when you have a picture of what you want but it’s not coming together in real life.

Your purpose does not have to be big or perfect coming out of the gate – it’s not intended to. We are pursuing our purpose – which means “to follow, continue, or proceed along.” Real progress takes time, so you need to learn to apply yourself consistently and patiently.

You do not create your purpose out of nothing.  It’s not just an idea out of the blue.  Rather you take what is already within you and stir it up.

fire2It’s like a fire on the beach.  People build campfires near the dunes and when it finally burns out and they’re ready to leave, they bury the remains in sand.  You can find where the fire was because the sand covering the place is warm.  Then you can dig down to the embers and stir them up and create another fire.

So it is with your purpose – it’s burning deep within you and what you need to do is find where it is, dig down, and stir it up.    It takes time and patience.  Fires and purposes need to be stirred up and built gradually in order to Burn Bright.

“A fortunate few cherish that flame, nurture it, hold it as a torch to light their way.”
(Haruki Murakami)

Don’t Settle

Don’t ever settle for ordinary, average, unexceptional.  I’m not talking about the scale, quantity, or fame of your achievement, but rather in the quality and influence of your purpose.  Investing in people, building your confidence by stepping out of your comfort zone, and being bold will drive you forward and bring increase.

The value of your purpose is neither in its size nor in the acknowledgement of others.  Feeding a family in your neighborhood, feeding the homeless downtown, feeding millions in Africa – which has more value?  Whichever one is done with passion and out of compassion.   Whichever one challenges you to step outside of yourself.  Whichever one is done with excellence.  And no one can really know this except you.  How many you reach pales in comparison to the quality of your reach.

Even when you’re feeling small, or others think of you as small, don’t settle for mediocre. Taking the easy route will always leave you feeling less than confident in what you have to offer and keep you from moving onward and upward in your purpose.

mediocrity

Getting Out of Your Own Way – Part 6 of 6

In order to fully pursue the purpose God has placed on our lives, we are looking at how to avoid self-defeating behaviors. Each week for six weeks we’re looking at one of the following:

To get out of you own way, you need to remember…

1. …your identity
2. …what you are doing
3. …your purpose
4. …the people
5. …to be strategic
6. …the outcome

For the final week:

REMEMBER THE OUTCOME

“My purpose is all about me.”   Well, it is and it isn’t. It is about your passion and your talents and what you are doing in your life. But  in the end it’s about how all of those things put together influence and impact the world you live in. Often we find ourselves working towards only what will bring us attention, respect, etc. – getting people to see and to respond to us in the way we manipulate want them to.

Ultimately, our goal in finding God’s design for our life must be focused on accomplishing something worthwhile for Him. And God’s basic thing is relationship. That is the ultimate outcome that we shoot for. And that is where it is “all about me” – as in “Him and me.”

He stated that the greatest commandment is “to love the Lord Your God” and the second “love your neighbor.” When we lose that basic understanding, we are defeated before we even begin. The greatest design we plan, the greatest service we provide, the greatest product we develop, the greatest sale we make, the greatest goal we achieve – it means nothing. The use of God’s gifts to simply achieve greatness or self-satisfaction will bring neither.

When you are stuck and unable to move forward in your purpose, take a moment to ask: ” How is my relationship with God?”  When that is settled, you can face the challenges, side issues, and feelings of defeat with a sense of hope that everything will come together eventually and that everything does not need to be figured out perfectly. When you realize that neither the weight of the world nor the accomplishment of your purpose in life is completely  on your shoulders, it will be easier to get unfrozen and move on.

One of my favorite musical artist, Sarah Groves, succinctly writes about  the sense of things not being quite right in her song How Is It Between Us.  Link below.

http://youtu.be/e5zkOfSJSn4

Getting Out of Your Own Way – Part 5 of 6

In order to fully pursue the purpose God has placed on our lives, we are looking at how to avoid self-defeating behaviors.  Each week for six weeks we’re looking at one of the following:

To get out of you own way, you need to remember…

1. …your identity
2. …what you are doing 
3. …your purpose 

4. …the people 

5. …to be strategic 
6. …the outcome

This week:

REMEMBER TO BE STRATEGIC

Let’s look at two areas where you need to be intentional:

  1. Time
  2. Opportunity
TIME

It’s easy to get stuck and unable to move forward in your purpose when you don’t have a plan to reach that purpose.  When your approach is to work on it when you have a chunk of time or when a prospect presents itself or when the spirit moves you, you are dead in the water before you even begin. No matter what your purpose is, you need a PLAN.  Yes, that means goals and objectives.  Yes, that means a to-do list.  Yes, it means tracking your progress.

You have been given a talent.  It’s your obligation to share it with the world. There’s no need put it on the back burner of your life.  Have a plan, work on it a little bit each day.  If you don’t, you ARE sabotaging yourself.

strategy quote

OPPORTUNITY

I have a friend who always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.  She has met celebrated people and had incredible offers fall into her lap.  However she never learned how to be strategic with these opportunities.  She assumed this run of good fortune was how her life would always be.  Rather than realizing that these events were stepping stones to create a path to her success, she thought that they were success in themselves.   She didn’t realize she needed to develop relationships and connections with and through these events.  I’m sure you know what happened next.  The well dried up.  Opportunities stopped presenting themselves.  Because she had depended on them to keep her moving forward, she had no plan for what to do next.  She sabotaged herself because she only thought about and reacted to things as they came along and didn’t think about developing them for the future.  Had she been strategic she would not be where she is now:  hoping that “God has something out there somewhere… eventually.”

You cannot depend on one source to provide everything you need – not one person, not one organization, not one opportunity – no matter how wonderful or permanent it may seem.   It’s important to network – both with people and in ideas.   When an opportunity comes along or a new relationship presents itself, look beyond the immediate/obvious benefits.

You can read my previous post on Being Intentional and Networking by clicking here.

Next week:  REMEMBERING THE OUTCOME

Getting Out of Your Own Way – Part 4 of 6

In order to fully pursue the purpose God has placed on our lives, we are looking at how to avoid self-defeating behaviors.  Each week for six weeks we’re looking at one of the following:

To get out of you own way, you need to remember…

1. …your identity
2. …what you are doing 
3. …your purpose 
4. …the people 
5. …to be strategic 
6. …the outcome

This week:

REMEMBER THE PEOPLE

Your purpose in life is never all about you.  While you discover your purpose by considering your own abilities, passions, and desires, gratifying those traits is not what it’s all about.

Focusing only on you – what you are doing and what will benefit you – may be one of the reasons you find yourself frozen and unable to move forward.

A business or organization may focus their mission statement on marketing a product, but they cannot lose sight of their customer.   Your purpose – whether written on paper or on your heart – cannot lose sight of those who will benefit from your commitment to your purpose.

When you take what you are doing out of the realm of self-fulfillment and consider the influence/support/service/relief/comfort you provide others through it, you reshape the nature of your approach and your expectations.

Thinking about the needs of those you impact can often give you the kick you need to lift yourself out of those self-sabotaging behaviors of procrastination, lack of focus, perfectionism, fear, etc.

chalkboardpurpose

Next week:  REMEMBERING TO BE STRATEGIC

Getting Out of Your Own Way – Part 3 of 6

In order to fully pursue the purpose God has placed on our lives, we are looking at how to avoid self-defeating behaviors.  Each week for six weeks we’re looking at one of the following:

To get out of you own way, you need to remember…

1. …your identity
2. …what you are doing
3. …your purpose
4. …the people
5. …to be strategic
6. …the outcome

This week:

REMEMBER YOUR PURPOSE

When people talk to me about feeling blocked or frozen in pursuing their purpose, about 99.9 percent of the time it boils down to having unfulfilled or distorted expectations of what the road to their purpose is supposed to look like. They have an idea in their heads of exactly how everything is supposed to be, forgetting that there are many ways an objective can be accomplished.  When their anticipation of a smooth, effortless sail into how they expect things to go doesn’t happen , they are caught up short.

They didn’t think they would have:

  • to work so hard
  • to pay out so much (financially or emotionally)
  • problems convincing others
  • to try things a different way
  • so much competition
  • to make hard decisions
  • to change priorities
  • to give up things they enjoy
  • people stab them in the back
  • people try to deceive them
  • people try to stop them
  • to face fears they didn’t know they had
  • problems in other areas of their lives
  • so many twists and turns and choices
  • to continually fight for what they truly want

They forget that their purpose is not about making them rich or well known or well respected, or making them/others feel good about themselves or their place in the world.

Our purpose is to know God and make Him known. (see this thought expanded in the “Purpose” section of my October 15, 2011 blog)

Many Plans

Next week:  REMEMBERING THE PEOPLE

Getting Out of Your Own Way – Part 2 of 6

In order to fully pursue the purpose God has placed on our lives, we are looking at how to avoid self-defeating behaviors.  Each week for six weeks we’re looking at one of the following:

To get out of you own way, you need to remember…

1. …your identity
2. …what you are doing
3. …your purpose
4. …the people
5. …to be strategic
6. …the outcome

This week:

REMEMBER WHAT YOU ARE DOING

While your identity is not wrapped up in the things you do, your purpose is wrapped up in the things you do. It’s where (to use a very old cliché) the rubber meets the road. Every action you take is either moving you towards your purpose or away from it. Not allowing self-defeating behaviors to sidetrack you takes very hard work.

I have previous entries regarding this topic.  The two most noteworthy are at the following links:  It Does Take Work and It Ain’t Easy  and A Change in Perspective or What I Learned from the Evil Baroness and Shirley Valentine

It’s important to establish who you are as separate from what you do.   But realize it is what you are doing (not your personality, good intentions, or strategic planning )that propels you forward into your purpose.

“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”
(C.G. Jung)

Next week:  REMEMBERING YOUR PURPOSE

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