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Have you ever felt like you were just going through the motions? Like life was happening to you and not the other way around. Are you constantly nagged with thoughts that there has to be something more? Worse yet are you constantly looking behind you feeling the weight of wasted opportunity? If so, you’re not living a purpose-driven life.
I lived the first half of my adult life living for everyone else. Doing what I thought was expected of me. I wasn’t living my life with the purpose that I discovered later on God put me here for! Can you look in the mirror and say you are living up to your full potential? (I know I couldn’t.) Or are you shortchanging yourself and in turn the people you love? You are the one that has to live with your decisions, not anyone else. So are you making decisions that get you the life you want to have? Or are you just going through life settling for good enough?
Everyone Has a Purpose in Life
What does it mean to live a purpose-driven life? Ideally, it means you are living pro-active and not reactive. When you are trying to reach certain goals in your life; whether that be owning a successful business, being financially independent, or having an ideal home life you have to be actively looking to the future. It is taking chances and not being afraid to get messy. The only thing worse than failure is regret.
When it comes to reaching life goals you can’t be looking to the past. Nor can you be living in the now. Think of it this way… What happens if you are driving your car and you are looking behind you the whole time? How about if you were looking only at the steering wheel? You’re very likely to get in a car accident! And you certainly aren’t going to reach your destination. Before you can travel anywhere, you also have to have a destination in mind.
Everyone has a purpose. Whether you’ve discovered yours yet is the question. We all have passions and drives. Things that motivate us and goals we’d like to achieve. What makes you happy? Where would you like to be in the future? Find what fills your soul and go for it! Pick your destination.
Finding Your Purpose
In order to ensure all of your tasks are meaningful, you need to set up a plan.
- Write down all the things that bring your life joy
- List the things you’re good at
- What do you picture your life to be that would bring you the greatest happiness? ie: Where do you live? Are you married? Do you have kids? Do you live in the country or the city? What is your career or are you a homemaker? (the more detailed the better)
- Make a plan (break your goal down into smaller pieces) Start with a goal for this year that will help you get to the life you want. Each month break that goal down into steps. And then into weekly tasks.
- Find the thing you are passionate about and make that your career. You should be excited to get up every day to do that thing. If you’re not then that’s not the right choice.
- Work hard and when you think you’ve worked hard enough, work some more. You owe it to yourself to give you nothing but your best. (I know it’s cheesy but it’s true)
Write Down Your Goal Plan
One of the best things I ever did to get my life to be more goal-driven was to get a planner that was more centered around goal setting. The Living Well Planner fit my needs perfectly. It follows a schedule where you have prioritized goals for each day, week, month, and year. At the beginning of the planner, you pick a goal for the year and then customize each section to break that goal down into bite-sized pieces. The best part is that it is undated so you can start it at any time! It is actually the only planner I have ever used for an entire year. It has been one of the best tools to get my plan set and have a map to my big goals.
Busyness Does Not Equal Productivity
My motto for this year is, “Busyness does not equal productivity”. I spent way too much time thinking the busier I was the more productive I was. Right?!? Wrong. Just because you’re busy does not necessarily mean you are accomplishing anything towards your goals. You have to be spending your energy on the right things. You have to be focusing your actions on what will achieve your overall life goal. And you have to ABSOLUTELY cut out distractions!
The most successful people in life do not waste time on pointless tasks. They know life is precious and every moment you waste doing things that don’t really matter is just one more moment you are taking away from reaching your goals. Living a purpose-driven life means every moment matters even the most simplistic moments.
Losing Sight of Your Goals
Sometimes when you have a huge goal, a day to day routine can make it feel like your not getting anywhere. But if you are following a plan and taking that big goal little by little you are getting there. It just takes time. You feel like it’s taking forever to get where you want to be. The truth is if you are really focusing on the tasks that matter to get to your bigger goal, you are living a purpose-driven life and not just getting caught in a rut. That’s why it’s so important to celebrate your wins no matter how big or small.
Doubt can also have a dramatic effect on losing sight of your goals. One thing I have learned over the last few years is, “fear is a liar”. My mentor, Ruth Soukup, recently told me, “really, the only person in your way, is you”. She couldn’t have been more right. Think about all the people in the world who have overcome tremendous obstacles and hardships and have still succeeded. You may have more or fewer obstacles to overcome but you have just as much opportunity to succeed as the others before you. Here in the U.S., we have this amazing thing called equality of opportunity. Meaning no matter our background, religion, economic status, sex, whatever….we all have the same opportunities. (The story of Chris Gardner is one of my favorite examples of this.) It’s whether or not you can get out of your own way and go after those opportunities that will determine if you fail or succeed.
What is Your Why?
This is going to be the fuel for your fire. Knowing your “why” is what will keep you from losing sight of your goals. And it is also what will fuel a purpose-driven life. Whenever you feel lost, tired, or just over it, your “why” is what will keep you on track. So what is your “why”? Honestly, I don’t know. That’s for you to figure out. That is why it is so important to have a plan. Your “why” is the reason for your big goal. For me, it is to have a life of no regrets. My ultimate goal will provide me a purpose and the comfort to explore that purpose without worrying about the material needs of myself or my family. Where I am completely self-reliant and I can help others get there as well. Yours might be similar or completely different. Think of it as your mission statement. Write down your “why” and keep it somewhere where you will see it every day.
You Are the Author of Your Story
The whole point of living a goal-driven life is to become the author of your story. It is truly about taking control and living a life from here on out without regret.
- Take the steps to reach for that scary dream.
- Stop making excuses.
- Write out your why.
- Break your big goal down into small achievable pieces.
- Have your spouse, friend, or family member be your accountability partner. Tell them what you need from them to help keep you on track.
- Plan out your journey, make a map to your goal
- Reward yourself for every success and forgive yourself for every set back (look at it as an opportunity to learn what doesn’t work)
- Find someone who has succeeded that you admire and see how they got there.
When we live a life afraid of making choices and just settling for what we’re supposed to do. Or what we think we should do. We never really see the crazy beauty that is this life we have been blessed with. We all have setbacks, bad things happen. But we should never let them define our entire life. Take chances. Take an opportunity or do something totally out of character for you. My favorite thing my mom always said to me when I was afraid to take an opportunity was, “They can’t eat you. The worst they can do is say no. And then you are no worse off then you were before”.
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