And You Can Start Today
“I believe everyone can live intentionally by finding purpose, creating direction, and taking action.” Jack Heimbigner
Just over a year ago I started to get this itch. Something was really bothering me about people in my peer group and on social media. There was this overall sense where people felt life was “happening to them.” It seemed as though they didn’t feel like that could control life or live out their desires.
“It is, what it is.”
“There is always something keeping from ___________.”
It seemed like everyone was feeling stuck. And a lot of them didn’t even have any hope to get out of the rut they were perpetually finding themselves trapped. It was as if people resigned themselves to the fact their lives were only going to be mediocre.
“It was as if people resigned themselves to the fact their lives were only going to be mediocre.”
Just the thought of living a mediocre life gives me a little flutter of panic. As I continued to have conversations with my peers and coworkers on the topic of living the life we desire, I realized I have had some amazing experiences which have helped me to live intentionally.
Purpose, Direction and Action
Intentionally living can only happen when we have a purpose or ‘calling’ for our lives. Otherwise, we do not know how to create direction. And without creating direction we cannot take intentional action. So it always starts with purpose. Then we create direction. And then we start with taking action.
Almost every one of the people I talked to had dreams for their lives. But they didn’t seem to know the purpose for those dreams. And because they felt so unclear about their purpose, they did one of two things.
They took action without trying to create a map of how they were going to get to their dreams. Or they refused to do anything and decided to live their own personal status quo.
“If you’re alive, there’s a purpose for your life.” — Rick Warren
There isn’t a special formula to finding purpose. However, there are some things we can do to discover our purpose in life. Before we go there, it is important to note that our purpose and our ‘calling’ can sometimes be the same thing, and sometimes be different.
What do I mean?
Purpose: is the reason for which something exists, or is done, made, used etc… An intended or desired result, end, aim, goal.
Calling: a strong urge toward a particular way of life or career; a vocation.
Sometimes the reason we do something or desires something does line up with the urges of our souls to do them too. And sometimes, I think they may not. You may be made to be a parent for example. But your calling is to be a writer. They are not in contrast to each other, but they are two different aspects of your life.
However, like calling, purpose is something which is discovered. It takes listening to our lives and seeing where we thrive. Focusing on what things which we naturally gravitate toward and tend to have an unnatural ability to succeed and push through adversity.
We also must understand what is most important to us. Is our family more important than work? Do we thrive in a particular job vs. other jobs? Is a particular hobby more important than other time commitments? All of these questions help us understand what our purpose could be.
Finding Purpose = Discovery + Important Priorities
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” C.S. Lewis
Once we know our purpose, we can start to change our lives by creating direction to chase after that purpose, dream, and calling. At this point, we start working backwards. What does the ideal end look like? Then I clearly define where I am now, no holding back. After those two things, we fill in the middle.
At the end of your life, what do you want people to say about you at your funeral. Michael Hyatt describes this process in his book Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want. His book describes how to create a life plan (which is the direction we want to create in our lives), and he starts with the end in mind.
Write down what you want people to say at your funeral. Who would be there, what would you want them to say. Take some time to do this. It will help you start the next steps.
Brutally Honest About the Present
This was probably the hardest part of me. Be honest about where you are at now. For some of us, things may not be bad, only mediocre. For others of us, things may not be great at all. And it will hurt a little to acknowledge where we are.
Write down your current state in all the areas which are important in your life. Health, Relationships, Eduction, Work, etc. This will set the ground work for creating direction.
Draw Your Map
I create Annual Goals, 6–10 goals I want to accomplish in a year. With my life plan, I routinely review it every week, but have 3–5 actionable changes I want to make per category which I focus on one quarter at a time. And then, I make monthly goals out of these annual goals and quarter action items. This helps drive me to my ideal future.
Do this too. It may take you some time, and to get a better idea of how this will work for you, read Michael’s book. It is by far the best resource I have ever found for creating direction in your life.
Start. Honestly, I could only right that one word in this section. Start by taking your first action today. What will move you toward your ideal life within the framework of your goals and life plan?
If this is all new to you, I have resources when you sign up for my weekly updates that can help you understand your purpose and priorities and help you start living your best life now.
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