Don’t Do What I Did And Jeopardize Your Dream

The difference between people who accomplish goals and achieve dreams is the ability to work hard on the right things. People who succeed have the right vision.  People who succeed not only plan well, but accomplish the right plan.

In the post “Why I Wrote A Personal Mission Statement And You Should, Too,” I wrote the following.

“For me, the stakes are too high to not have written mine down.  Since my purpose is about helping people, something God has told me to do, the stakes are too high to just idly go about it.”

Years after I first learned about living on purpose, drifting away from it, and later rediscovering it, I finally figured out what I believe my God-commanded purpose to be.  At that point, I wrote it down.

To advance others through personal-growth education

And then I screwed up.

There I was all hyped up on God-power and ready to follow my God-commanded purpose to an even better life fueled by helping others achieve.  It was exciting.  And I was stoked.  The world and my place in it began to make so much more sense.  I was ready to accomplish.

Ideas about activating my purpose began to flow.  One idea lead to another and then to another and so on. I remember talking about the ideas with my wife on our daily walk. Like a book, every day seemed like a new page, a new part of the story.

I could look to the future and envision what lie ahead.  If only I’d looked to the past.

One year after discovering and documenting my why, I felt lost.  I felt confused.  And I was frustrated.  I didn’t get it.

During that year, we moved to our current home in Alexandria, Va., just outside D.C.  Like I felt God wanted me to do, I started a business – the beginning of a long-term transition from doing Public Affairs for the U.S. Air Force to working for myself.  On the surface, it appeared I was ready to go.  I had completed all the necessary paperwork, picked a business name, had an original logo designed, and a web site created.

A year after discovering my purpose, I had done it.  I had created the shell of a Public Relations and marketing business that I was completely unexcited about.

“What?” you may be asking yourself.  Well, I was asking myself the same thing.

Along the way toward starting a business, I dealt with fear.  And a lot of it at times.  So, I’d talk it out with my wife, and I’d feel better.  But only for a little while.

Before too long, after months of this charade, what began as a purpose-driven idea tied directly to my personal mission statement was something completely disjointed.  Sure, I had a nice logo and a web site but that was it.  I had as much passion about it as I do being a manager at TGIF.  No offense if you work at TGIF.  I just can’t stand that restaurant.  Not only does the whole concept about living for Friday get under my skin, their food stinks!  But I digress.

This past summer, my wife and I were at home. We were discussing my business, or lack thereof.  I don’t recall our exact exchange, but she said something that changed everything.

The Bible says, “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.” Proverbs 31:10-11

Well, I found one, and I’ve gained big time, especially this time around.

As we talked, MaryBeth pointed out to me that I kept talking about teaching, and it wasn’t first time she’d heard me talk this way.  She said it seemed like I knew what I wanted to do in my business and that I should stop dancing around it and just do it.  Teach.

This makes a whole lot of sense when you think about my personal mission statement:

To advance others through personal-growth education

The next day I went to the folder on my computer where I originally saved the statement.  It was first time the file had been opened in a year’s time.  That’s right.  After going through the whole process of discovering my God-commanded purpose, the statement that would direct my life, I wrote it down, saved it in a folder and a year went by before my eyes ever met it again. But seeing it again reinforced what MaryBeth said my business should look like and now does look like.

Fortunately for me, it was only one year.  Fortunately, I have a wife who is “more precious than jewels.”  But what if it had been 5 years?  10 years?  30 years?  What if I didn’t have a spouse or close friend to bounce ideas off of and have listen to my ramblings?

While I’m a long ways from capturing my career dream, I’m now working on the right plan and moving in the right direction – a direction, in which not just my career is heading, but all of me, and this time it’s on purpose.

Question:  Do you have a story similar to mine others may learn from?


9 thoughts on “Don’t Do What I Did And Jeopardize Your Dream

  1. Joel – excellent post on staying focused on the mission! And how well I know – distraction can keep us from the “right plan and the right direction….” Blessed you are to have a great helpmate in life to keep you focused.

  2. Great post, Joel. Just found it and enjoyed reading it. It is definitely something I am struggling through right now and the encouragement this post provides is appreciated!

  3. This is such a powerful example of staying focused on your core values and beliefs. Like you said at least it was only a year and not many. Having others (Like a spouse) who can help you refocus really helps. Staying in our areas of purpose and passions is so important, it should reflect every thing we do. Great example and post!!!

  4. “I could look to the future and envision what lie ahead. If only I’d looked to the past.”
    I completely relate! Just recently I realized I could accomplish something in my future by referencing my past. Totally felt like an epiphany 🙂
    Best wishes to you! And can’t wait to hear about your progression!!

  5. Powerful realization! Staying focused to the vision is what makes people win. That and having a world class wife like yours! 🙂

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