A friend of mine recently wrote a great book. The publisher he submitted it to thought it was great as well, however they refused to publish it. The reason? He doesn’t have a platform in the area of his subject matter – a way to physically spread his message and he isn’t known as an expert in his subject matter. The publisher’s suggestion? Start a blog, publish a few magazine articles, garner a few speaking engagements. He needs to create a foundation on which to establish himself.
You too, need a foundation for your pursuing your purpose. Depending on your purpose it may or may not include a blog or speaking engagements, but you do need to establish yourself as a “subject matter expert” in your purpose in the minds of other people. It’s the way you move forward. There’s a really easy way to do it – realize that you are already are (remember, it’s your unique purpose that stems from your very self) and start advertising it. That means let people know what you’re up to:
- When people ask, “What’s new?” Tell them about your purpose.
- If people are in a conversation that touches on your purpose in even the slightest of ways, say something like “That’s an area I’m expanding into…” and make yourself known.
- Start discussions about people having purposes, and make sure to interject yours along the way.
- Volunteer for an event or organization that involves your purpose – you’ll expand your experiences, make valuable contacts, and feel great expressing your values.
- Go ahead, be brave, start a blog and share yourself.
Do you have any other suggestions? Please leave them in the comments section.
When I first started telling people about my purpose (click here: Burn Bright – The Beginning) I got some blank stares and questioning looks. It wasn’t something I was known for. One person actually laughed and basically told me that I had nothing to offer. It could have brought me down, but it was actually a catalyst. It made me stop and ask myself a question. “Why am I doing this?” It wasn’t “what do I have to offer.” This made a difference. When “what” is in the equation, it limits you to the availability of resources, and when those don’t appear to exist, you’re done for. When “why” is in the equation it brings it back to the heart of the matter – your heart. Your unique calling. Your individual path. Your passion. Your creativity. With that your resources never end.
In the following video clip, Simon Sinek, leadership expert and author, touches on the importance of “why” (it focuses on marketing a product – so think of you and your purpose as the product you are marketing)
Being intentional is all about keeping your focus.
A friend of mine talks about the need to focus more on the road laid out before us in her blog Neeserisms. Check out Stay in Your Own Lane here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Distractions come in many shapes and forms. Sometimes it is difficult to discern best vs. good, important vs. urgent, delayed vs. instant gratification, what is right vs. what feels good. The best advice I have to keep your focus is:
- Set your priorities early on and when the distractions come, base your decisions on those pre-determined priorities.
- Establish a high standard for the way you think in every area of your life. How do you do that? This is the greatest guidance I’ve ever received:
“Summing it all up… I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned … what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” (Apostle Paul in his letter to the Phillippians in the New Testament of The Message version of the Bible)
“This is your world. Shape it or somebody else will.” (Gary Lew)
When you make excuses, you deny yourself the opportunity to grow.
Are you being intentional about pursuing your purpose, or are you sitting back waiting for everything to come to you?
Just because you know the direction that God is taking you in your life, doesn’t mean that there isn’t going to be some hard work and decision-making involved. There are going to be many many opportunities come your way. You will not be able to take every single one of them, so you need to position yourself to know which ones you should take advantage of.
One area to be intentional in is building yourself a professional support system. This is different from a personal support system. Professional means that it has to do directly with implementing and maintaining your purpose and its goals with people with SAME/SIMILAR purpose and goals.
For example, here’s what I do in my life:
- Meet regularly with a friend who is a speaker, corporate trainer, and author to specifically to talk about business and ministry. We provide resources to each other, discuss our challenges, help each other set goals, and celebrate our accomplishments.
- Almost every month I drive about two hours north to attend the Northwest Christian Writer’s Association meeting (http://www.nwchristianwriters.org/). Almost always I dread entering the nation’s 10th worst traffic. Almost always I wind up in the wrong lane for the exit I need going back home very late at night. But always I wind up being glad I made the effort to attend. There is something about the atmosphere when you walk into a room where 50+ people are gathered for the same purpose, who share your values, and who go out of their way to encourage one another without any sort of competitive spirit.
- Find the industry leaders in my field and subscribe to their e-mail newsletters, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles, bookmark their websites, and join on-line discussions.
Even if your purpose is not typically classified as professional, you need to do research and find ways of connecting to similar-minded people. They really are out there. It may take extra effort on your part, but it’s worth it.
Discover your uniqueness; then discipline yourself to develop it.