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DISCOVER, EQUIP, AND PURSUE YOUR PURPOSE

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

Reminders About Our Way of Thinking

GROWTH

 “As you begin changing your thinking, start immediately to change your behavior. Begin to act the part of the person you would like to become. Take action on your behaviour. Too many people want to feel, then take action. This never works.”

(John Maxwell)

EXCELLENCE

In looking at the people I consider to be excellent in pursuing their God-given purpose in life, there is one word that comes to mind for each of them: tenacious.  They have their obstacles and their moments of deep doubt, but they ultimately hold on. Merriam Webster defines tenacious as “1a: not easily pulled apart b: tending to adhere or cling especially to another substance. 2a: persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired.” The “other substance” my tenacious friends hold on to is the substance of faith – they know theirs is a God-given purpose and is not going to be pulled out from under them. They value seeking out that for which they are created.

PURPOSE

Last night I had a dream that I was in some sort of competition and went forward to meet with one of the judges who would tell me if I had progressed to the next stage of the competition.  When he told me I had succeeded and was now a finalist, I began to cry. He asked me why I was crying and I said, “Because I was convinced that I would not make it and I would have to try another way.”  He said, “Well now you know that this is your platform.”  I woke up and thought, “Wow.”

There are two old adages I’ve seemed to survive on the past year: “Rejection is God’s protection” and “Rejection is just redirection.” Both of them are comforting and true when things don’t go as you would like.  But what about when things do go as you like – when things get traction and start to move forward?  What happens when you survive the final cut? What happens when things start to pop and you are accepted and not rejected? What’s the plan then?  Are you prepared to continue through on your purpose?

Always remember, your life’s purpose is not a goal, not an accomplishment. Rather, your purpose is your platform for your accomplishments. Don’t try to figure how to gain success.  You need to be strategic in in how to position yourself to make the most of the success that will come your way because you strive for excellence in pursuing your goal.

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Strengths vs. Weaknesses

GROWTH

About ten years ago I began to enjoy the wisdom of Marcus Buckingham, the popular best-selling author and in-demand speaker.  His message is that a person’s unique personal strengths are the key to unlocking their potential (http://www.tmbc.com/home). I got revved up by this important truth; however, I had never really found a way to make it “click” in my life.  It was always in the back of my mind but I applied it pretty much hit-and-miss. I had lots of excuses about not having enough time, not having enough energy, not being in the right environment, etc., but deep down I knew it really was an element of fear that was behind my fully embracing what I knew to be truth.  Once I realized this I began to look at my life and discovered there were many areas that I was holding back in because of fear – in business, in relationships, and in my faith. It didn’t take me long to attribute it all to a fear of failure.  And so I began a quest to overcome it. Books, CDs, DVDs, internet sites, prayer, affirmations, declarations, etc. helped me to get down and dirty in my fight to overcome my weaknesses.  I finally achieved breakthrough when I had a revelation that doing this was WASTING MY TIME. In my ferocity to clear the path to get to my strengths, I was actually focusing on my weaknesses and diminishing my potential. I was doing the opposite of my goal. I stopped in my tracks and did some serious reassessment of my assumptions. It was then that I discovered that I was not afraid of failure, but I was afraid of success.

Nelson Mandela’s quote of Marianne Williamson’s Our Deepest Fear suddenly went from an admired platitude to a life giving testimony.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”

My fear of success had partly to do with the responsibility of sustaining it and the expectations and judgments of others.  This time the books, CDs, DVDs, internet sites, prayer, affirmations, declarations, etc. were focused properly. Instead of overcoming my flaws and limitations, I began to put concentrate on my assets – places I had an advantage – the knowledge, skills, abilities, and spheres of influence in which I was already successful.  As I pour resources and energies into these areas I continue to be amazed at the benefits.  I have more energy, I have a better attitude when things are challenging, I feel less threatened by the opinions of others, I feel less threatened by the success of others in my field, and, in a major bonus, I’ve found that when I focus on strengths that the areas of my limitations have adjusted.  They have either improved (my strengths have absorbed them) or they have totally fallen off my grid of self-assessment (they have no impact).

When you are moving towards your purpose in life, keep in mind that it’s not only important to re-evaluate yourself from time to time and the beliefs that you have about what you can and can’t accomplish, but also WHY you have those beliefs.

EXCELLENCE

“Excellence is not the opposite of failure.”
(Marcus Buckingham)

PURPOSE

“(People) who are making (their purpose) work are ascribing their success to intrinsic causes  rather than extrinsic. They’ve discovered their strengths, they seek their  strong moments, and they apply them with courage and diligence. They trust  themselves beyond anyone else and they take themselves very seriously. They take  a stand for their strengths.”
(Marcus Buckingham)

Rising Out of the Pit and Pressing into Your Purpose

GROWTH

I worked for a couple of hours trying to write a piece about surrounding yourself with people who support you.  Then I discovered that Mark Twain said it much more succinctly than I did in just a few short sentences:

Keep  away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.  When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition, it is important with whom you regularly assoiate.  Hang out with friends who are like minded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives.  Similarly be that kind of a friend for your friends.

To tell you the truth it kind of irritated me that I had worked hard just to find the same thing written decades ago. Unfortunately I’ve noticed a new tendency to get more than reasonably irritated over things having to do with my purpose and vision.  To be completely transparent, it’s one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging the last couple of months.  Other than the  Twain incident above, I’ve faced the following:

  • I’ve been trying to piece together a possible book and in doing research I picked up the new book by one of my mentors (I’ve never met him, but I consider him a mentor) and every chapter was a chapter I had been brainstorming through for my book – and, naturally, done far better than I could even dream.
  • An acqaintance of mine who was sharing a similar path to mine – roadblocks and setbacks and lots of hopes and prayers – suddenly found breakthrough into her dream job that sort of fell into her lap.  Jealousy settled in on me. I wanted to give up.  It was never going to happen for me…

Getting that down in writing and reading through them, it’s easy to see now that it was ridiculous for those circumstances to hold me back from my entire future.  But when you’re in the midst of them and they are frustrating you and chipping away at your confidence, it’s not so easy to see the big picture.

The only reason I began to crawl out of the pit I was in was when I read about how other people climbed out of their holes, reading my own journals about circumstances I’ve conquered in the past, and – most important of all – setting aside time for serious prayer and asking God to help me change my way of thinking.

One of the things that He showed me was that I was spending way too much time with people who didn’t support me.  They didn’t come right out and say that, but when I would share about things that were starting to happen they would caution me about getting too excited.  Or comments would be made about the time I was spending pursuing my vision vs. the “real” responsibilities of life.  Or they would tell about how their other friends’ dreams fell through and now they were flipping burgers at age sixty.

It only took one 30-minute visit with a friend full of encouragement and optimism to start me back on the road to my goals.  Since then I’ve been looking for advocates who will stand beside me – and they’ve been coming out of the woodwork.  They are people who are also chasing a purpose-filled life and are facing the same set of emotions I am.  And I plan on becoming their biggest advocate as well.

The naysayers are still there – but my percentage of time with them is going to decrease.  I am also going to be careful in what I share with them.  I’ll give them generalities, not specifics, and it will mostly be successes already achieved rather than hopes that are still blooming.

EXCELLENCE

Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible.  (Ronnie Oldham)

…and I would add that it is pressing in harder than YOU think is wise, safe, practical, possible.

PURPOSE

This is a reminder to myself – but you can use it for yourself if you find yourself needing it:

Struggles may arise, but they are defeated.  Distractions, temptations and plots against you become irrelevant .  You become like Nehemiah, who said to his enemies, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down…” Purpose creates not arrogance but vtality, focus, courage.  (Stephen DeSilva)

My purpose is set by God – and He remains faithful to me and His plan for me, even when I do not.

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