In a previous post, I wrote on how we sometimes loose the drive we once had when we had the epiphany about our life’s purpose. I shared 5 things that would restore the passion to your purpose. In the same vein, for you to fulfill purpose in life, you must learn to lead a disciplined life. Successful people have learned to do as a lifestyle what other people do only when they feel like it.
While it is imperative that we be passionate about what our purpose is in life, we also need to make sure we cultivate a discipline to fulfilling purpose. We must learn to turn passion to discipline. Discipline is simply learning to do what needs to be done, regardless of one’s emotional state, and the good news is that it can be learned. Being passionate without discipline is analogous to an organization that has leaders without managers. The leadership is needed to cast the vision, inspire the people, chart the course, and constantly challenge the people to attain to the vision. However management is needed to keep the operations running, make sure the right processes are in place for effective productivity, maintain the budget and keep abreast of key performance indicators.
If we draw from that, we can learn a few things that will keep us moving consistently on the path towards fulfilling purpose.
1. Keep the vision clear. One of the major challenges we have as human beings is being short sighted in our thinking, perception and decision making. For you to be disciplined, you must make sure you do everything you can to make the ‘why’ of your purpose clear. Your purpose in life should be focused on others. It’s about making the world a better place. If you find yourself stuck in how what you’re doing will make you famous and successful, you need to reconsider. Ultimately focus on the lives that will be impacted by what you do, and how the world can be a much better place because of what you do.
2. Develop a regimen for growth and improvement. Albert Gray in his speech, The Common Denominator of Success said, “The common denominator of success―the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful―lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.” For you to be relevant, you must continually grow. You must make sure you are constantly reaching for higher goals. You can only help people if you have something to offer them, and you can only lead people only if you are going somewhere. Develop a plan to increase knowledge (e.g read 2 books a month relating to your life’s calling, attend a seminar once a quarter), and in line with that, be sure you are constantly applying what you’ve learned. Look for little, non threatening ways to hone your improved self.
3. Keep a journal and/or a to-do list. While I don’t keep a journal, there are various articles that talk about the importance of keeping a journal, and I am convinced of its benefits. What I do instead is to reflect on the day. I think about my purpose and ask myself if I was able to do anything to contribute to living a purposeful life. I identify what things went wrong, and what I could have done better. I get in touch with my feelings and examine how I felt through the day, and why I felt that way. Ultimately I make a spiritual connection; I ask God if I was obedient to His plan to me for my day/life. The follow up to this is to prepare a to-do list for the next day. Remember that this is about turning your passion into a discipline, so the to-do list is not a casual list of mundane things to do for the day, it must include the little steps that will move you closer to your overarching goals.
4. Make compound interest work for you in increasing productivity. We all have heard of compound interest from a financial perspective, in that if you invest $250 a month (that’s about a cup of Starbucks coffee and a snack a day) at 8% over a 40 year period, you will have about a million dollars. If we borrow from the old maxim, “time is money”, we can illustrate the power of taking action now. The time wasted doing nothing because we don’t ‘feel’ like doing anything can be put to work for us. You know what you’re supposed to do, even if you don’t feel like doing it, just do something that contributes to it because it all adds up. This is how the principle of compound interest can work towards generating millions of dollars worth of productivity.
5. Celebrate and reward achievements, no matter how small. The mistake we make when we lack motivation many times is to go ahead and do something that feels good. While there’s nothing wrong with some feel good time, we must learn to delay gratification. However, when we do delay gratification, we must also celebrate big when we actually make progress, no matter how small.
6. Make yourself accountable. There’s a lot of benefit to accountability. Find someone who believes in what you’re doing, and let them know your plans, and most importantly, give them the permission to
scold you jerk the slack out of you when necessary. We all are free moral beings, and we do have a tendency to be slack, but every now and then we need someone who will forcefully push us into fulfilling our destiny.
7. Just do it! Nike says it all…you just have to push beyond how you feel and do it. Everything discussed here is predicated on the assumption that you will actually do something. If you decide to do nothing, nothing happens. The one common factor among people that finish is that they started.
Let me know your thoughts, drop a comment…be sociable and share this post 😉