b u r n b r i g h t

DISCOVER, EQUIP, AND PURSUE YOUR PURPOSE

Archive for the month “November, 2011”

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” (Abraham Lincoln)

GROWTH

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”  (Benjamin Franklin)

EXCELLENCE/PURPOSE

When people get excited about what they do, there’s an energy that’s palpable around them. They begin to eat, breathe, and live their purpose.  They want others to get into the excitement with them – that’s natural. But sometimes things can get carried away, and the person sharing their excitement starts to think that everyone needs to be involved with their purpose and/or the way they pursue it. That’s okay if you’re a salesperson committed to your product or if your company needs a consistent quality conrol process.  It, however, does not work when it comes to your life purpose.

What God gives you in this life to do and the way you go about it is competely unique to you.  Others may have the same general direction, but there will be differences in plan, approach, execution, impact and more.

It took me a very long time to finally get Burn Bright off the ground.  One of the things that kept me from fully pursuing it was a simple search engine query of the words “life coach”, which garnered 7,150,000 hits and “life purpose” at 3,690,000 hits.  It made me question my sanity of thinking I had anything to offer. I decided to make a list of the things that I could bring to the table that others could not.  My list of individual items wasn’t that impressive but, as I looked at them, I realized that combining the items brought them some power.  An example of this:  I am a woman – there’s millions of women.  I am a middle-aged woman – not as many millions.  I am a middle-aged Christian woman – angle is sharpening here.  I am middle-age Christian woman living in South Puget  Sound – okay, this is getting better.  I am a middle-age Christian woman in South Puget Sound who has experience in personal and career counseling.  And I’m sure you can imagine how the list went on and on.  It gave me hope there is a sphere that I can influence – a place for my gift to fit.

So, go ahead and get stirred up by people who are passionate – absorb that spirit and drive to help you move forward to your place. But if you find yourself feeling obligated to jump on their bandwagon or feeling guilty for not doing so, it may be that you don’t have clarity for your life’s purpose. Maybe it’s time you start your own list.

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“It does take work and it ain’t easy – but man, the rewards!” (Susan Powter)

GROWTH/EXCELLENCE/PURPOSE

An older woman once said to me, “I always thought that there would be a golden age between zits and wrinkles where my skin would be perfect and radiant without me having to work at it.”  I laughed.  Then one day I realized that I had this same attitude toward my life.  I thought there would be a point where I would come through all the countless tests and trials and questions that helped build my life and I would slide easily into the land of milk and honey where I could lean back and have all my dreams fall into place without any further work on my part – perfect and radiant.  Aaaaah, success.

It didn’t happen. It’s not going to happen.

Working towards your life’s purpose is tough. You give it everything – time, energy, finances, emotions, and more. You wonder if you’ll ever finally turn that corner where you feel you’re actually getting somewhere with it.  So many times you want to give up, but you keep fighting. Then one day everything comes together, everything is set in motion, you’re where  you’ve always wanted to be, you’re living the dream. If your life was an inspirational movie, this is where the music would swell, the camera would pan back, the credits would roll, and the audience would applaud.

But life purpose doesn’t wrap up so neatly.

You realize your grip isn’t quite as tight as you thought it was and you lose a chunk of your hard won dream and you ask yourself, “Did I miss a turn?  Did I miss everything? Did I not do enough? Do I go back and start over? Do I keep moving on from here?”  You feel as if your life is a tragic movie, the music clashing, the screen dimming, and the audience leaving silently.

You need to change the script.  It’s in your hands.

You have to maintain the momentum to keep it going, which can be rougher than what it originally took to get you there.  You realize that you’re not quite as satisfied as you were sure you were going to be and it’s time for your goals to expand a little more – which takes even more work.

You see, the work never really ends.  But the goal is not to conquer your purpose in order to sit back and enjoy your life.  The goal is to enjoy your life as you are working – hard – towards your purpose.

“And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” (Anais Nin)

GROWTH

There can be a dark place in personal growth. It lies in the shadowy slope where insight slides into morbid introspection.

Insight: when you observe and analyze yourself, you see into the underlying truth of your actions, motivation, character, etc. and are empowered to make a change in your life.

Morbid introspection:  when you become fixated on the observation and analysis and – when you are faced with the underlying truth of your actions, motivation, character, etc. – rather than clean up and move on, you become negative and brood about your weaknesses, doubt your abilities, and belittle yourself and your goals.

Very Simple Solution:  Is there really be a quick fix to this problem?  Yes, there really is… but quick does not necessarily mean easy. You have to make a choice and to apply it immediately.  It might not seem fresh and original, but it is tried and true: You must change your thinking.  It’s not about reciting the 3×5 sticky notes on your mirror reminding yourself you are greater than you think.  It’s not about listening to motivational messages in your car on the way to work or errands. It’s about being consistently responsible to cut short the pity party and make the change at the moment you discover yourself in the darkness.  It’s not easy – it’s a hard road to climb. But it really does work.

  • “Summing it all up, friends, 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.”
    (Philippians 4:8 from The Message version of the Bible)

EXCELLENCE

PURPOSE

There is a concept of “Purpose” that I find important to emphasize whenever possible:  It cannot be wrapped up in another person.

I find it incredibly sad when a young person says their purpose in life is to get married, or a parent believes their life goal is to raise great kids, or someone indicates their whole life is dedicated to supporting their partner in whatever they do. Not that these goals are negative, but they cannot be the whole focus of your life.  What happens when the young person gets married (or if they don’t), what happens when the kids leave home, what happens if the partner dies?

Our purpose in God is unchanging.  It carries us throughout our lives, in every stage, in every relationship, in every circumstance.  Whether married or single, whether children or none, whether someone runs alongside you nor not.

Let me be clear.  Marriage, children, and partnerships can all be very fruitful, productive, important parts of your purpose.  God can and will  use those things to move you towards your purpose, but they cannot BE your purpose.

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