5 ways living on purpose benefits your life

I graduated high school as mediatarian.  No that doesn’t mean I subsisted on finely aged books and DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince cassettes (Summertime!). It means I was really good at being mediocre.  So good, in fact, it’s worthy of a name.  Mediatarian it is.

Back then, living centered around all things social.  That all changed in college though when I got involved in student activities and assumed leadership positions.  I then began devoting more of my life to living for other students, trying to make their college experience better.  From throwing big events to being their primary representative with school administration, I was living with more of a purpose.

While doing this, I met professor and motivational speaker, Joe Martin.  Joe changed my life.

To this day, he speaks all around the nation about living with purpose.  When I first heard Joe speak, I was blown away.  The idea of finding my calling and pursuing a career that aligned with it was incredibly powerful to me.  So, we brought Joe to the college to speak.  I had the honor of introducing him.  I was like a proud dad.  I did my thing and then Joe did his.  He knocked it out of the park.  I mean he killed it.  I wonder if anyone’s life was changed that day?

More than a decade has now passed.  A lot has happened to me related to living on purpose, which over time I’ll write about here, but for now, here’s what living on purpose has done for me and what I believe it can also do for you.

1. Provides direction

Living on purpose gives us direction, no matter what.  Let’s face it, life happens.  From laziness to tragedy to temptation, there are so many things that can derail the purpose train.  If you believe you’re living purposefully, don’t trick yourself into believing you always will.  Again, life happens, but purpose-driven life always give us a home to return to where we can re-center ourselves and get moving again.

2. Accomplish more

Even living with a calling takes work.  After all, we’re human.  We get distracted, lazy, negatively influenced or a litany of other things that pull us away from our God-given calling, however, when we’re cranking on purpose, we accomplish a lot.  I’ve found that when working to achieve a higher calling, we get more disciplined in all areas of life, which then begin to build upon one another.  Financial begins to feed social which feeds spiritual which feeds family and so on.  At that point, we create near-unstoppable life momentum.

3. Builds confidence

People feed off productivity, especially when it’s something we value or feel is important.  When life stops happening to you and you start happening to life, the natural by-product is increased confidence.

4. Keeps you energized

We all know people who just seem down in dumps constantly.  Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh books pretty much sums up this person. Perhaps you are them.  On the other end of the spectrum are the Tiggers of the world.  Sure, there are plenty of happy, bouncy people who aren’t living on purpose, but people who do are energized all the time.  They’re positive, optimistic and hopeful.  Even introverts who are living purposefully are Tiggers on the inside.

5. Helps you fight when life happens

As I said above, life happens, even to the best of us.  Life happened to Jesus.  Life happened to his disciples.  Life will happen to you, too, if it hasn’t already.  One of the greatest pleasures of living is sharing the world with spectacular people who bring amazement and wonder to our lives.  It feels great when we’re trucking along, living out our calling, helping people and then a parent gets Alzheimer’s disease.  Cancer strikes your spouse.  Your best friend gets killed in a car accident.  Worst of all, a child dies.

Life happens.  When it does, you need more than Saturday morning golf with your friends or book club or running or even the confines of church to help strengthen you.  Living on purpose gives you fight because it gives you hope, even when you’re so far down you question whether your purpose is even real.

Question: Are you living on purpose? How has living this way benefited your life?

Take Courage

This post was written by my friend, Gina Parris, an international speaker, performance coach, wife, mother of four, and a champion for the Sexy Marriage.  Yes, you read that right!  And I know you’re intrigued.  The post originally appeared on her blog.

Gina Parris

“Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

How often do we set out to follow our heart, only to get cold feet?

We dream a dream, set a goal, make a plan. And then we stop.

We let ourselves shrink back because of the opinions of others. Worse yet, we somehow hold back because of what we think will be the opinions of others.

We tell ourselves, “They’ll laugh at me. They wouldn’t like me if they knew the real me. They won’t like my idea. Who am I to dream such a dream? Who am I to be a leader?”

Well, who are you not to?

The truth is, you and I will never be everything to everybody. Or in the words of Brandi Snyder, “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.”

That person matters enough for you to be the real you, the you that trusts your heart and intuition, as Steve Jobs told us to do.

As we mourn the death of a visionary genius, we are stirred to follow our heart.

Take courage today.

Follow your heart.

Take courage today.

Follow your intuition.

Take time to get quiet and ask yourself this question:

If I knew I was going to die in 24 hours, what would be my 3 biggest regrets?

Then, starting right now – remove the regret. Get working on the most immediate goals. Take courage and do it.

Follow your heart and intuition today – not tomorrow. As you do you are becoming the person you were meant to be.

Everything else, is secondary.

Question: Do you have an example of someone using courage to achieve something?

Don’t Downgrade Your Passion When You Downsize Your Dream

When we were kids, no one talked to us about vision and goal setting. They talked to us about dreams. And this makes total sense.

Dreams are goals, only squishier and more kid friendly.

You know how this goes.  If you’re a parent, you probably do this.  “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the adult says.

“A yellow dragon with a crossbow!”  Clearly this was a boy answering.  Girls generally choose less aggressive career fields.

Regardless, kids go big, and they do it with vigor.  As they get older, dreams of being a dragon or a ninja begin to fade and get replaced with doctor, lawyer, nurse, baseball player and other jobs that society holds up as big-time success.  More time goes by and after experiencing what life has to offer and the feasibility of actually becoming a doctor or a lawyer, or feasibility of not, becomes more real, we begin to downsize.

Doctor becomes pharmaceutical salesman.  Lawyer is replaced with paralegal.  The race car is traded in for a taxi cab.

And there’s nothing wrong with this at all.  It’s just reality.  All of these jobs provided needed services to people who are willing to exchange money for them.  What is wrong though is downgrading your passion when you downgrade your dream.

When you do this, you settle on a job that pays you but sucks your life away.  You end up being okay with working for a manager, not a leader.  You replace ambition with apathy.  Mondays are spent plotting a strategy for getting to Friday in a more expedient manner.  In short, you become mediocre.

Worst of all, you under serve everyone from your manager to your customers to yourself.

Fast forward a few years, or just a few months if you have elite-level downgrade chops, you’re unhappy, maybe miserable.  Your job is now venomous poison permeating through your entire life powered by mediocrity.

Because you’re so deep in, you say things like “It’s just how it is,” “Everyone is like this,” and my fave, “No one likes to work; it’s just not natural.”

Do you think anyone ever became a yellow dragon with this attitude?  Do you think the creator of the device you’re reading this post on right now had this attitude?

Now to be clear, if this is you, I’m not hating on you.  I’m in your court!  And I’m simply saying it doesn’t have to be this way.  You do have a choice to not be mediocre.  The same person who used to go big with passionate dreams is still in there.  That person has just been downgraded for a while.

Has the time come to re-up, as they say in the military?  Is today the day you begin to make changes to rekindle your fire and sit mediocrity aside?

The Bible says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,…” Colossians 3:23 (NIV).

Work at it with all your heart.  I don’t know about you but great parents parent with all their heart.  Couples who celebrate 50 years of marriage to one another do so because they worked at it with all their heart.  And business people, which means if you work you are one, become successful when they work with all their heart.  Mediocrity is not in the equation.

As I said in a related post recently, this stuff isn’t easy.  But, as the verse above says, I believe we were created to work hard for God.  This is why we feel good after being productive or after a hard workout or after volunteering our time somewhere. Working hard, like giving, is what we are meant to do.

After all, Jesus, in whose likeness we were created, was no mediocre man, evidenced in his last words, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” The man worked hard until the very end. And He did it for us. Fight mediocrity!

Is someone getting the best of you?

Jesus would have been the kid who got beat up every day at recess.

He would have just stood there and taken shots from the schoolyard bully.  Most of us would have at least tried to fight back.  You know why?

Because Jesus is better than we are.

Someone slaps us, and we want to slap them back or worse. Someone curses at us, and we lob our own profanity in retaliation. Someone cuts us off in traffic, and the inner child emerges armed with invisible fireballs and bolts of electricity for which we use to destroy the horrid offender.

If someone was to cut Jesus off in the Jesusmobile during a leisurely Sunday drive, you know what He would have done?

Prayed.  Then he would have gone about his drive.

The Bible says, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21

The rock band, Foo Fighters, has a song called, “Best of you.”  It’s on my iPod, and I’ve heard a lot lately during workouts.  (Tuesday’s arms and back.)  Every time I hear the lyrics “Is someone getting the best, the best, the best, the best of you?” I think of the same thing.

Is someone getting the best of me?

While the song is about a relationship gone bad, that’s not the way the lyrics strike me. On the contrary, I ask myself, “Am I giving the best of myself?  Is everyone I encounter getting the best from me?”

That’s what Jesus did and He commanded us to do the same, even when we want revenge.

Yes, that means when a co-worker takes credit for something you did, continue to give them the best of you.  When a friend forgets to call you on your birthday, continue to give them the best of you. When your spouse says something hurtful, give them the best of you. That may mean they sleep on the couch for a night or two while you cool your jets but whatever.

There’s no doubt this isn’t easy.  It isn’t easy for God either, as the Bible clearly says God hates evil. But at the same time, the Bible says God loves all His children. He just has an issue with his naughty kids.  If you’re a parent, does this sound familiar?

Back at the schoolyard, Jesus not fighting is His way of giving us the best of Him.  And the reason is simple.  By taking the punishment, which everyone would have been watching, He would be modeling what God commands us to do – not seek vengeance.

But, as the verse above says, let God repay in ways only God knows and understands, while you close your eyes for a few seconds, take a deep breath, and go to God in prayer.  This will give you the best shot at continuing to give them the best of you.

How to Take our Country Back

This post was written by Luke Stokes and originally was a note he posted on Facebook on Nov. 26, 2009.  He later published it on his blog. I read it recently, and found it still very relevant.
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I’ve heard a lot of people say we need to vote them all home. That’s true, but will that really change anything? What about the lobbyists, the Washington machine, the attitude? Republicans, Democrats, what’s the difference these days?

There’s a better idea. Let’s put them out of business.

Here’s how: the church needs to get back to being the church. True religion is about caring for orphans and widows. Conservatives across the nation are yelling about how the liberals are destroying our country with their socialist agenda, but what if the liberals are just trying to do a job we’ve been ignoring? Churches used to build orphanages, hospitals and universities. They used to take care of those in our society that couldn’t take care of themselves. When did that become the government’s business?

I think we can do better.

If each and every believing American will step up to the plate and be the children of God we’re called to be, we can change this nation. If there are people in our neighborhoods turning to the government for health care, why don’t we help them? If there are people in our city turning to food stamps and welfare, why don’t we help them? The help we can give, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, will truly change lives, not just cover the symptoms. We can start businesses, create jobs, provide healing and education. We can make a difference.

The next time you get angry about where this country is going, the next time you yell at the nightly news or your radio, think about what you can do to take back these jobs from the government. According to Barna and Viola (authors of Pagan Christianity) 50 to 85% of the $50 to $60 billion in annual giving goes to church overhead. Talk to your friends and your pastor and change that statistic. If your church isn’t doing the job of the church, go find one that is or start a new one with a couple of friends in your home. If that’s too challenging, think of it this way: if Jesus were to come back today, would He hang out at your church? If the answer is no, why are you there?

Be the church. Take the jobs we’re responsible for back from the government. If we do this and vote for leaders who will actually live up to the oath they take to protect our Constitution, we can take this country back. It won’t be easy and we probably won’t see the full results in our lifetime, but what other options do we have?

The Difference Between Profitable and Unprofitable Entrepreneurs

This post was written by Eric Speir, and originally appeared on his blog at www.ericspeir.com. Eric is a pastor, life coach and an educator who uses biblical principles, coaching, practical wisdom and encouragement to help others thrive.  Also, he is the assistant director to the Georgia School of Leadership & Ministry.  Eric is a regular commenter on www.chrislocurto.com, where he and I first e-met.

Eric Speir

Do you ever wonder what is the key ingredient for successful entrepreneurs? Have you ever asked yourself the reason why some people are successful in business and in life and others are not?

We could list many key traits but there is one trait that every successful entrepreneur or leader has. The writer of the book of Proverbs spells it out for us in Proverbs 14:23, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

The biggest difference between successful entrepreneurs and leaders and those who are not is taking action. Many people have great ideas and theories but they never act on them. They never take action on what they know to do.

Entrepreneurs know that working hard on a good idea will eventually produce a profit. Talking without the accompanying action will produce poverty. In other words, lazy people produce nothing!

What would happen if we started taking action on our thoughts or ideas? What have you been thinking about lately that if you took action on it would change someone’s life or yours? What if you took one baby step toward your dream?

Question: What could you do now to take an immediate step toward a goal or idea?

Getting stuck in the social media mud

Bonfire parties are great fun. But you know one way they often end poorly?  When you get back to your car.

Reeking of smoke, hyped up on s’mores and happy, you arrive back at your vehicle parked in the middle of a field, fire up the engine, step on the accelerator pedal and then it happens. The tires begin to whine as the Earth begins to slowly gobble up your car as the wet tires spin wildly in the wet grass.  At this point, there is no happiness. The competition to see how many burnt layers of marshmallow you could extract from a single piece has been forgotten.  And, of course, this being a bonfire party, it’s long past dark. To make matters worse, you’re the last one to leave.

There you are. Stuck, angry and alone. At this point, there’s only one thing left to do. Check out the severity of the situation.

A few seconds later, you’ve arrived at the scene. Depending on your car type, you’re now standing at either the car’s front or rear with your hands on your hips or in your pockets, staring.  Cluelessly staring.

This scene describes me and social media.

Like many things we love in life, we tend to indulge in them heavily, and before we know it, we’re down in a hole.  See, I’m crazy passionate about helping people improve their lives by sharing personal-growth information.

This was actually a primary reason I changed my blog focus.  Up until that point, I spent a lot of time trying to build relationships with people online, people I don’t even know.  Now, to be clear, that works well for many people but not for me because of what I’m passionate about and what stage of the game I’m in.

Author and life coach, Dan Miller, said to take the flowers closest to you and use those to make a bouquet.  Moreover, Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Friends and family are now who I’m reaching out to with my passion.

This sounds like an obvious thing to do, but it wasn’t for me until recently.  I think that’s because I was too focused on the possibility social media provides – the ability to connect with an infinite number of people. There I was sitting in the front seat of my car for days and days, admiring the next field over while overlooking the bouquet-ready flowers all around me.

There I was stuck in the mud.  After realizing I wasn’t going anywhere, I pulled out my phone and like we all do, I reached out to a friend to help me.  The funny thing is if I’d started there, I wouldn’t have gotten stuck in the first place.

Question: Have you ever been stuck in some type of social media mud?