Every day you make choices. Every day you decide how to use the 24 hours you’ve been given.
So what do you choose?
In making your choices, be sure to remember the difference between success and purpose. Take a minute to read a story about one of my clients. Use his experience to remind you of this crucial distinction.
Earl is 53 years old and has worked his way to a VP position in a large manufacturing company. His friends and family believe he is “living the dream.’ He has a great job, big house, loving spouse and a garage full of “big boy toys!”
In reality – Earl is miserable.
He’s stuck in the fast lane. He is the dog who caught the car bumper – moving at 70 mph while hanging on for dear life! Scared he can’t keep hanging on and scared at the thought of letting go. What looks great from the outside, feels lonely, trapped and empty on the inside!
Do you know an “Earl”? Are you an “Earl”?
Regardless – you need to learn two powerful lessons:
- “Success” does not equal “Passion.”
- “Achievement” does not equal “Purpose.”
If Purpose or Passion are ignored for too long – the emptiness inevitably surfaces. You can’t hide behind impressive salaries and big houses forever.
So why do people accept ‘success’ and ‘achievement’ without ‘passion’ or ‘purpose’?
Here are three common reasons:
Fear – You succeeded. In fact, you built a lifestyle around that success. To change now or to put it in jeopardy is a scary thought. It’s better to endure than risk what you built.
Confusion – You don’t know your purpose or passion. Somewhere on your journey you lost your way. What started as subtle or simple compromises led you far from where you thought you’d be and you don’t know how to get back.
Treadmill – You know you are missing passion and purpose, but tell yourself there is no time to do something about it. When things slow down a bit you plan on giving it some thought and building a plan (but things never slow down).
These issues are real. The emotions they instill are strong and relentless. They can squelch your occasional “self talks” quickly and effectively. The net result – more of the same.
I don’t have a “quick fix” or a “simple answer.” I don’t believe there is one.
However, if you Do the Work – I think you can find a path to your purpose and passion. I’m actually in the process myself. Here are the steps I’m trying to follow – I bet they can help you too!
Do the Work:
- Build your Awareness – pay more attention during the day. What type of activities give you passion/purpose and what type take it away. Keep track for a couple of weeks and identify the trends. Over time you start to see a pattern of that which fuels your purpose/passion and that which drains it.
- Find time to Reflect – it is impossible to find (or rediscover) your purpose and passion if you don’t stop and reflect. You need quiet. You need space. You need to free your mind of the “to do’s” and allow the “to be’s” to surface. Start a daily diary for just these types of considerations. I use Day One – I set the timer for 8:45 p.m to force the discipline to capture my thoughts and reflections of the day.
- Be more Deliberate – If you are like many, your life has too much default. In other words, you “go through the motions” without deliberation, choice or intent. Start to increase your power of choice and break the default. Be more deliberate. Start small – take a different route to work or go to lunch with different people. You can build from there. As you reestablish ‘choice’ – take charge of bigger and bigger aspects of your life.
Rediscovering your Purpose and Passion is a process not an event. It takes time and effort. Start with these 3 ideas. Follow my blog. Talk with others. I’ll be introducing other tools, techniques and even products in the months to come if you are ready and willing.
Let me know where you need some help or ideas – I’ll share what I have with you!