Are you really ready to win?

“The most distinguishing feature of winners is their intensity of purpose.”

Alymer Letterman

What is YOUR purpose?  

What is it that drives you to get out of bed in the morning, to work harder than anyone else, to push further than anyone can make you, to do the things that no one else is willing to do?  

If you can’t answer this question, you aren’t ready to win.

Surrender to your purpose…

“Surrender to what is, let go of what was, have faith in what will be.”

Sonia Ricotti

Which of these three hurdles are the most challenging for you? Accepting what is? Letting go of what was? Having faith in what will be? Sometimes all three of these at the same time?

Whenever I find myself wrapped up in any one of these mental and emotional barriers, I find it clarifying to meditate on this verse:

‘And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. ‘ Romans 8:28 

It is amazing how simply stepping back and recognizing that there is a bigger and broader purpose can help recenter everything in life. That’s when surrender is truly possible…

Every day is the weekend…

“When you start to do the things that you truly love, it wouldn’t matter whether it’s Monday or Friday; you would be so excited to wake up each morning to work on your passions.”

Edmond Mbiaka

How do you know what these passions are? What do you love to do so much that you would do it for free? Solve for the following ingredients, and you are well on your way to creating this life.  

Why – Why do you wake up every day? What is your burning purpose beyond making a living? Earning a living is merely an entry price to the game. There has to be a more significant reason for being here, and one has to solve this for yourself.  

Who – Who are the people that inspire, motivate, encourage, empower, embolden, and enable you to be your best? Find these people and weave them into your life in every way possible.  

How – How do you like to work? Are you an individual contributor? Do you do your best in work teams? How do you give and get energy through your work?

What – What are the specific things that you enjoy doing? The ones that bring you energy and enable you to do show up as your very best self?

These are simple questions, but being able to answer them succinctly will enable you to make every day meaningful.  

Four words that will change your world…

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life and don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. Most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

Steve Jobs

The four most important words from the quote above are, “Your time is limited.”  If you understand and embrace those words, everything that follows has meaning. If you don’t, then the rest is merely good advice.  

If you recognize that your time is limited, why would you ever choose to live someone else’s life?  

If you understand that your time here is temporary, why would you choose to let your voice squelched?  

If you accept that your time here is finite, why would you choose cowardice instead of courage? Why would you choose to ignore your gut?

When one chooses to accept your mortality, you unlock the keys to a life of meaning and fulfillment of God’s purpose.  

So the choice is simple. Choose to embrace the beauty of YOUR life, or choose to live in a state of denial. It’s up to you. Either way, your time is limited…

Happiness lies in unlocking your “no.”

“If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.”

T.D. Jakes

Passion can enable your purpose. Your purpose can also enable your passion. Regardless of whether it lives under the label of “passion” or “purpose,” the critical question to answer is, “why do you do what you do?” If you can’t answer this, then why are you doing it?

The real value in defining your passion and purpose is that they enable you to say “no” to all of the things which will inevitably try and get in the way. Purpose and passion aren’t just a means to an end; they are the great clarifiers of our lives. Solve for these, and you will have the freedom to say “no.”

How will your actions speak today?

“Choose as a guide one whom you will admire more when you see him act than when you hear him speak.”

Seneca

If you couldn’t speak for a week, how could you communicate your character and core values through actions alone? What if that week turned into a month? A lifetime?  

If you want to challenge yourself, try this exercise every day for a week or a month. You will be amazed at what you learn.

  1. Grab a pen and paper.  Write down one word that is core to everything you believe about life and how you want to show up that day.  (You can, and should, do this many times, so don’t worry about finding the perfect word. Just go with the first one that comes to mind)
  2. Set a timer for five minutes and brainstorm three key behaviors you can actively demonstrate TODAY that bring your word to life through action, without any spoken communication.
  3. Pick ONE!  Circle it on our page. Commit it to memory and then commit to accomplishing that action TODAY.
  4. Then do it.  If it is something that you can demonstrate multiple times throughout the day, then do it over and over again.  
  5. At the end of your day, score yourself on your ability to put into action what you hold as foundationally right without using a single word. Use a simple zero to 10 scale and write your score on the paper from the morning.  
  6. Do the exercise over again the next day. It can be the identical word using the same behaviors or new ones. The key is to commit to demonstrating through action what you believe. No talking is allowed.  
  7. Track your scores over time to measure your progress and gauge your effectiveness at delivering what you believe through actions.  

The point is to let your actions do your talking for you and intentionally choose your behaviors based on your core principles and commit to bringing them to life through your efforts. If you can remove the barrier of speech, you will truly begin to communicate… 

Do you know why you roar?

“It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.”

Elizabeth Kenny

Do you know what you stand for? Can you roar when you need to? Do you know when you need to roar and when you don’t?

One of my favorite stories in the Bible occurs when Jesus “cleanses the temple of animals and money changers. Scholars debate the precise meaning that we should infer from the narrative. For me, this story represents “righteous anger” and appropriately delivered action based on bedrock principles.

“In the temple courts, he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”” John‬ ‭2:14-17‬ ‭NIV‬‬ 

(If you are interested, you can read the other narratives of the story as reported in Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18, & Luke 19:45-46.)  

I love this story because it conveys the power of knowing what you stand for and enables one to take action when those principles are violated. However, it has to be understood that “turn the other cheek” and “be a peacemaker” are also core teachings. You can’t walk around every day roaring at every little thing. Your actions must mean something.

The key is to know who you are and what you stand for so that you know when to be the lion you were born to be. If you don’t know these things, by default, you will forever be a sheep because your roar won’t mean anything.   

Are you practicing what you love?

“I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.”

Ray Bradbury

What do you love to do so much that it doesn’t feel like work? What are the things that you do where the work itself is the joy and the reward? How much of your incredibly finite time do you spend doing those things? What prevents you from spending most of your time on the things where the practice and hard work are an exercise of love and passion? 

Answer these questions, and you begin to unlock your full potential.  

Are you investing in your purpose?

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Mark Twain

Some people are blessed to learn the reason why they were born at a relatively young age. For others, it might take years. Given that our time on earth is finite, perhaps the two most important questions you can ever ask yourself are, “Why am I here?” And “What am I going to do about it?”

  • Do you know why you were born?  How much time, effort, and energy are you devoting to answering this “why” question?  If you don’t know, then you aren’t investing enough.
  • Once you have an answer to the first question, the focus changes to; “how much time, effort, and energy are you devoting to living a life fully and completely aligned with your “why?”  If it is less than 100%, you will never be able to live a fulfilled life.  

I can guarantee this. Not one of us was born to go to school, work for forty years, retire, and then die. Those are the transactional elements of life. They are not the reason. All of us were born for a purpose, and we have to figure out what it is. Otherwise, the transactions don’t matter.

Are you living with purpose today?

“When you stay on purpose and refuse to be discouraged by fear, you align with the infinite self, in which all possibilities exist.”

Dr. Wayne Dyer

Do you have a purpose for your life?  

Whoa. That’s a serious question and very hard to answer without deep contemplation and consideration. But just because the question is hard doesn’t mean you don’t need to do the serious introspection required to answer it. Perhaps a better way to frame this very broad and significant question is, “do you live your life according to your purpose?”

Finding your solution to this question will be one of the most profound and liberating revelations you will ever experience. It allows you to begin to seek an answer to an even more challenging question.  “What is God’s purpose for my life?”

If these questions are too heavy early in the morning (or late in the day, depending on when you read this), consider this much simpler question.  

What is the purpose of your life today?  You have an infinitely precious gift of time today. What is the purpose of that gift? How are you going to spend it? Why will today matter for you and others? Do you have a reason that today will matter, or is it merely a transactional exchange of time for some nominal or even meaningless set of things or interactions?  

Is this how you want to record today in the logbook of life? A day which was a transactional exchange. Or would you prefer to have it mean something? It doesn’t have to be grand or overly complicated. It could be as simple as “my purpose for today is to make four people smile.” Just make it count. Otherwise, why bother?

Are you choosing to live your purpose?

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: I have to go to work – as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for – for the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”

Marcus Aurelius

What is the purpose of your life? It’s a serious question and one that I have found many people never even attempt to answer. It is far easier to get lost in the distractions of a transactional world or focus on what you do instead of why you do it. Of course, it isn’t an easy question to answer and will evolve as you move through life, and your understanding of what is important comes into focus.  

The bottom line is that every second of life is precious. I might argue that every second of a life lived in a manner that is A) misaligned from your purpose or B) unaware of your purpose is suboptimal at best.  Why would we choose a suboptimal life?

What are the metaphorical blankets of comfort that you are lying under in your life? Are you casting off the covers and getting to your purpose-driven work, or are you content being comfortable?  

Goals without purpose are merely transactions. Your life is much more than a transaction…

“If you can tune into your purpose and really align with it, setting goals so that your vision is an expression of that purpose, then life flows much more easily.”

Jack Canfield

The calendar changing is a beautiful opportunity to reset your mind and take the time necessary to refocus and align on what you want to accomplish in the year ahead.  

However, if you don’t have a deep understanding of your purpose in life, then the goals you set are transactional at best. If you don’t have an intentionally articulated and refined individual purpose, then I would argue that it would be a better use of your time to commit to doing the hard work required to surface and distill your purpose and passion.  Only then can you set goals that will inspire the necessary action and commitment needed to carry you through the days when the work is hard, and your energy is low. 

If you have goals for 2021 but can’t clearly state your purpose in life and why you are passionate about it, will you say the year is a success? I can’t think of anything worse than achieving goals that don’t have any meaning and are merely stealing your precious time and energy. If you have goals and no purpose, are you making your life meaningful?

You have 365 days in the coming year; what are you going to do to make them count? Define your purpose first, then the goals will flow as if by magic…

How are you going to stoke the fires of joy today?

“Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.”

Helen Keller

What is it that you do that brings you joy? When do you feel fully alive and that every fiber of your being is singing in glorious harmony? Does it have anything to do with your vocation, or does it even need to?  

These aren’t questions you should ignore. It is an absolute imperative that you must find your source of joy.  It is the coal that stokes the fires and allows you to weather any storm and deliver your best self to those you love and those whom you serve.  If you don’t have a fire burning, one you tend to regularly, how on earth can you show up and be your very best? What happens if your fire goes out?

A bit of butter scraped over too much bread…

“Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.”

Josh Billings

One of the most profound lines from J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring” is uttered by Bilbo Baggins. “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”

I have always loved this line, probably because it hits so close to home for me. Butter spread too thin doesn’t add much value to the bread. How much of our lives do we waste trying to spread ourselves too thin, attempting to “do more,” and instead of creating more value, we end up barely making the impact we are truly capable of delivering.

Rather than trying to cover and be everything, perhaps we should learn to use less bread? Maybe we simply need to learn to say “NO?”

Think of it this way; how does the bread taste when it has too little butter on it? Does it create an appetite for more? Instead of accomplishing our desire to “do more,” we might just be turning people off to what we have to give…

Seek the beauty in your life…

“Live your life with purpose. Focus on your blessings, not your misfortunes. Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Be yourself and don’t wait for the approval of others. But most importantly, have a positive and humble mindset no matter what situation you are in. Count your blessings, not your problems, and you will realize how beautiful your life truly is.”

Troy Amdahl

In today’s world, it can be easy to focus on what we don’t have and what we want instead of merely being thankful for the multitude of things we do have.  

The practice of daily journaling and reflecting on our gifts is one of the most profound and beneficial habits that you can ever embrace. Intentional though on what is truly important rewires your mind to focus on the positive and the good.  

To keep my list from being generic or repetitive, I frame my question this way.  “What has happened in my life over the last twenty-four hours for which I am grateful?”  No matter what, there is always a positive answer to this question.

Surround yourself with the best…

“When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.”

Howard E. Schultz

Life is too short NOT TO surround yourself with people who share a passionate commitment to a common purpose. Groups like this are force multipliers, where every ounce of energy seems to build exponentially.

Anything less is just a drain on the finite amount of energy you have to give to the world…

If you want to find your purpose put the right tools in your toolbox…

“Why escape your intended purpose by copying and trying to be someone else? You will discover who you were meant to be only after you have shown confidence being yourself.”

Suzy Kassem

There is nothing wrong with seeing things others do exceedingly well and being inspired and motivated by their efforts. But instead of merely copying what others do, and losing yourself along the way, perhaps a better way to approach it is with the toolbox concept in mind.  

Think of each thing that inspires you as a tool that you would like to add to your toolbox. You aren’t copying and trying to be someone else; instead, you seek to add specific and value-added tools to your own unique set of capabilities.  

Throughout a lifetime, no one will build a set of tools and skills as unique as yours. By collecting and curating a distinct collection of aptitudes, you will create a very specialized toolbox, one that is uniquely suited to fulfill your God-given purpose. 

Perhaps it is through the collection of the right tools that you can uncover your real purpose? 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬

various instruments hanging on wooden board in garage
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

You must choose joy if you want it in your life…

“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”

Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D

How many things do you do in your day that bring you total and complete joy? How much of our lives do we spend pursuing these things versus the simple act of “survival?” I’m talking about the things you do not because you have to, not because you are required or expected to, but those that serve to restore and renew your energy.

Close your eyes. Think of something you love to do that truly invigorates your mind, body, and spirit. Now for the hard question, how much time do you intentionally allocate towards doing this activity? What would it take to do more? Why aren’t you doing it?

Now for the hard part, pull out your calendar and review your schedule. Find time in the next week to do this thing you love, which brings you joy. The time will pass regardless, shouldn’t you choose how you will spend it?

white and black weekly planner on gray surface
Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

The true essence of leadership…

“No leader sets out to be a leader. People set out to live their lives, expressing themselves fully. When that expression is of value, they become leaders. So the point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, to use yourself completely – all your skills, gifts and energies – in order to make your vision manifest. You must withhold nothing. You must, in sum, become the person you started out to be, and to enjoy the process of becoming.”

Warren Bennis

There are so many aspects of this quote that I love. Each sentence carries weight and incredible wisdom and merit. In fact, for me, it is worth digging into each sentence and letting it roll around in the mind and over the tongue like a fine wine. Each sentence builds on the preceding sentiments until you finish with a crescendo akin to a bombastic symphonic masterpiece. (Okay, so maybe that is just a bit too much hyperbole but you get where I am going…)

“No leader sets out to be a leader.” – True leadership is about serving not about becoming served. To become a leader, as I define it, means that you cannot and must not forget that leadership is not about you. It is about those whom you serve.

People set out to live their lives, expressing themselves fully. – How rare and beautiful it is for people to get to be their true and authentic selves in every aspect of life. We all set out this way, and then along the way things change, we begin to amend ourselves to meet the expectations of the world around us. Leaders hold true to their “north star” and manage to maintain their authenticity along the way.

When that expression is of value, they become leaders. – When others see a future vision they also believe in or subscribe to, then leadership occurs. If what you believe in, and value, is valuable to others then they will see you as a leader.

So the point is not to become a leader. – A-Freaking-Men! The best leaders I have ever known or worked with were NOT leaders because of the pursuit of roles or titles, it was because they were pursuing something bigger than themselves and you just naturally found yourself wanting to be part of that thing that they were passionate about.

The point is to become yourself, to use yourself completely – all your skills, gifts and energies – in order to make your vision manifest. – If we are doing less then this, aren’t we choosing to be less than the person that God created us to be? How many people waste their lives in the pursuit of what others say is important? Instead, we should put all our energy into identifying those things we are deeply passionate about and pouring every ounce of ourselves into the pursuit of that vision.

You must withhold nothing. – Anything less than 100% commitment to that which drives and motivates you is a waste of the perfect and precious gifts you have been given.

You must, in sum, become the person you started out to be, and to enjoy the process of becoming.” – Life is a journey, not a destination. When you focus on becoming the person you were very intentionally designed to be and pour yourself totally and completely into that effort, the journey itself is all the reward you will ever need.

In the end, leadership is a journey, not a goal. It is the ability and opportunity to pursue your God-given passions and do so with people for whom it is a privilege to serve. Be true to yourself, your passions, your opportunities to give back and enjoy the journey. You just might find yourself influencing the lives of others in unique and amazing ways, and that my friends is the essence of leadership…

two people standing in forest
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Purpose = Peace

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

Author Unknown

If you are living your true and authentic purpose in life then noise, trouble and hard work aren’t disruptions to your peace, but merely endorsements that you are doing the right thing(s). We aren’t meant to live lives that are easy, trouble free, and quiet.

I might argue that if you have peace, not matter how loud, crazy and effortful the world may be, you are living your true purpose.

Give it your all…

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

This has long been one of my favorite, and most convicting, quotes. Every time I feel like mailing it in and doing “just good enough” I can immediately hold myself accountable by remembering this quote. I have to believe that Reverend King had one of these two verses from scripture in mind when he penned this quote.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:23-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

How amazing would this world be if everyone embraced their calling, and everything that they did, with this degree of purpose and passion?


Live authentically…

“Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.” 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today I am building on the post from yesterday and writing about the 2nd of my 3 words for 2020 is “Authenticity. I love this quote for a lot of reasons but very specifically for the last line. “Be the best of whatever you are.” This is definitely “authenticity!”

The dictionary.com definition of “authenticity” that best aligns with how I am using this word in 2020 is, “representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified.”

Rev. Martin Luther King certainly embodied this principle in his life and because of this he embraced God’s unique and special gifts and talents and used those to change the world. We all owe him an eternal debt for his willingness to embrace his true and authentic self, which ultimately cost him his life.

Now I am not saying that I want to change the world in the manner of Rev. King nor am I comparing myself to him in any way. However, I do want to emulate his example and fully embrace the gifts that God has blessed me with and live outwardly in a manner that is true to myself and what I believe and hold true as a core principles.

Certainly we all want to live in this way so why is this a focus word for me in 2020? I have found in life that without dedicated attention and focus to truly being the person that you discern yourself to be, then it is way too easy to get pulled away from your true self and caught in a vortex of living an inauthentic life that just won’t let you go.

Settling for a life like this is choosing to settle. It is choosing to be less than the person that God created you to be. It is choosing to live a life of less, not more. It is choosing to set yourself up for a life of regret and second-guessing. I can’t think of a less authentic way to live…

The opportunity is now…

“Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.”

Napoleon Hill

Every day we have a choice to make. Do we focus on what is right in front of us or do we spend our time thinking about and chasing things that may or may not really matter? In our hyper-distracted world it is so easy to get lost in the myriad of opportunities for distraction that exist outside of where we are in a given moment or place in time.

Seizing the opportunities that are in front of you doesn’t mean to settle or limit yourself. It means fully exploring the path ahead and making informed and intelligent decisions about where to go next. Quitting is easy, chasing the shiny objects is easy, shifting focus is easy. Buckling down to do the hard work RIGHT NOW is tough, but when you do it, it creates opportunities and growth that perhaps you can’t even see.

There is a big difference between running towards opportunities and running from circumstances or challenges. Sometimes the biggest and best things in life are right in front of you but they are clouded due to either familiarity or perhaps a lack of newness. What if today was the day that you decided to focus all your energy on what is right there for the taking?

The big opportunity exists each and every day for every one of us. There is nothing worse than to live a life that is simply an existence instead of a life lived out with intention and purpose. The big opportunity is to use the day ahead as fully and completely as possible. Run towards the opportunity to use today in the most powerful and positive way. If you don’t, the time is going to pass anyway. Wouldn’t you prefer to have seized the day?

Your true purpose…

“The sole reason we are here is to help someone else.”

Tim Cook

The context behind this quote is on realizing our true purpose in life. I had the opportunity yesterday to see a conversation between Tim Cook & Marc Benioff while attending Dreamforce (Salesforce’s annual conference). Tim was speaking about our purpose in life and how it took him a long time to realize his purpose, and not just his individual purpose, but the collective purpose of all humanity. His sentiment was that once you realize that the purpose of being on this earth was to help others that it is the most liberating and revelatory awareness one can have.

What if everyone realized this, and behaved accordingly? What if every single person treated others with dignity and respect? What if we all made it our purpose today to find someone and help them? How different would our world be tomorrow?

Instead of being burdened today by what you do, go find a way to help someone else. You just might find that you are fulfilling your true purpose…

To win, you must conquer self…

“I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply ALL my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy.”

Og Mandino

What is your purpose? How hard are you willing to push yourself to achieve that end? Will you go past your comfort zone? Will you intentionally set aside ease and comfort and “strain your potential until it cries for mercy?”

It is one thing to know your purpose, it is entirely another to embrace the hard and necessary work to achieve that end, no matter how many obstacles you encounter along the way.

I have found through life that the biggest impediment in my path of achieving purpose is principally myself. It is always easier to take the path of least resistance. It is always easier to stop early, to let a little bit of the remaining work wait until tomorrow. It is always easier to find an excuse of why something won’t work instead of soldiering on getting it done, no matter what.

To become the highest mountain, to achieve your God-given purpose in life means that you must overcome the drag of this world and never buy into the reasons why something can’t or won’t work. It means you have to look in the mirror and realize that the single most important obstacle to overcome is yourself.

Are you willing to push yourself hard and farther every single day? Are you willing to go so hard that you will cry for mercy? If the answer is “no,” then you either haven’t discovered your true purpose or you have surrendered to becoming a grain of sand.

Don’t surrender to your own desire for comfort and ease, push through and become a victor over self. No one knows the enemy better than you do. You are uniquely situated to conquer the enemy, you just have to make the choice to do so.

Find your purpose, and live it…

“If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.”

John Irving

What is it that you love to do? Have you found a way to make a living from it? So many people in this world have “jobs” that they do to simply earn a living. If you can find the beautiful intersection between a calling, a passion, and God gifted purpose you are a lucky soul indeed.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Perhaps you aren’t lucky at all, perhaps you are just blessed…

Busy on purpose…

“Everybody ends up somewhere in life.  A few people end up somewhere on purpose.”

Andy Stanley

Do we sometimes get so busy that we forget why we are living? It seems that we can easily forget that life isn’t about being “busy” and having a lot of stuff to do. I recently read a passage in a book that was talking about “busy” as way of showing our importance and relevance in life. The busier we are the more important we must be. This world we live in today is all about being “busy” and having a lot going on. In many cases it is perceived that if you aren’t stretched to the max you must not be very good or successful in life.

That’s why I like this quote from Andy so much. It makes me think about being “busy on purpose.” Am I headed in the right direction and is my busy focused on what matters or is it focused on me? It’s okay to be busy, but only if what you are doing really matters. Otherwise it is just activity…

Purpose = Hard Work

“When you live for a strong purpose, hard work isn’t an option. It’s a necessity.”

Steve Pavlina

What is the purpose that you live for? When did it become so strong that the work required to to fulfill your purpose became part of the joy?

With a deep purpose driving you forward you don’t have a choice when it comes to doing the hard work, it happens naturally because you couldn’t fathom not doing it. I would argue that when you truly live for a strong purpose that the hard work doesn’t feel like hard work. The effort is rewarding and while the hours might be long or the work intense, the fact that it is driven by purpose makes the work itself part of the motivation.

Happiness of pursuit…

“It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.”

Denis Waitley

I know this is a reminder that I need constantly. Life isn’t about the goal or the objective, it is about the journey.

Think of it this way. Do you read a great novel to find out what happened to the main character(s)? If so then why don’t you simply skip to the last pages and see what happened? Or perhaps you could find someone else who has already condensed the book into an abbreviated version so you don’t have to read the whole thing. But that isn’t where you find the joy. The happiness comes from reading the entire tale, from going on the journey with the characters, in losing oneself in a great story.

We don’t achieve happiness through getting some thing or reaching some goal. Happiness comes from loving the effort expended to pursue the dream.

Individuals aligned & focused are the necessary ingredient for success…

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Vince Lombardi

Working together with a team towards a common and shared purpose is so powerful. When there is a common purpose, a shared goal that has 100% commitment, then there is no room for hidden agendas, no place for politics, no backstabbing or power struggles.

When the goals of the individual are more important than those of the group that is when the bad stuff happens and dissension builds in the team. How do you ensure this doesn’t happen?

First, make sure you aren’t part of the problem. Are you spending any effort that detracts from the common mission and purpose? Are you more interested in being right, than in doing what is right?

Second, is there a common purpose? A clearly defined objective that everyone understands and believes in?

Third, Does everyone know what is expected of them? Are roles clearly defined with the key success metrics and targets aligned to the achievement of the goal?

Fourth, Is the team reviewing successes and CANDIDLY talking about failures or setbacks in a non-personal and non-threatening manner with the focus on the mission, not the person.

As Vince said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – That is what makes a team work…”

photo of golden cogwheel on black background
Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

NO!

“Every yes must be defended by a thousand no’s.”

Jeff Walker

Yesterday I wrote about focusing on the important, not just the urgent. It made me think about the discipline required to say “no” to all the things that invariably come up in life that will then allow you to focus on the really important things. If you don’t say “no” then you will always be a slave to everyone else’s priorities and not putting the focus on those things that you have said are most important.

I will fully admit that this is an area where I have to be constantly diligent and focused or I will go astray. One tactic I have found that really helps me is taking my objectives and breaking them down in to weekly focus areas and then daily key priorities. Writing those down every morning ensures that I stay on point (or at the very least have a constant reminder throughout the day).

Bottom line. If you want to say yes to the really important stuff you have to say no to all the things that will get in the way.

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dusty

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