I struggle with sticking to what I’ve chosen: also, I’m not very good at choosing.
Without much question, I’m a person who really likes to do a lot of things.
I like to try new things often, and that “new” excitement is usually enough to drive me to becoming just a little above average at whatever it is that I take on.
With that being said, it also means that it’s easy for me to lose sight of what it was I wanted to do, or even to never have a long-term reason for why I started something.
I read The On Purpose Person at the behest of my pastor, a suggestion which was backed up by my spiritual mentor. I wouldn’t say that reading the book changed who I am, but I would definitely say that it changed how I behave.
The book, in a nutshell, takes a hard look at goal setting, and the ideas of vision and mission planning.
If those things sound a little “unnecessary” or “not for you”, I would say that’s a normal way to feel, and even reflects my own feelings at one point. I’d also say now I understand why that’s silly and why having those things are so valuable.
The narrative of the book has you peeking over the shoulder of a man who has achieved “success” in his life. Of course he’s unhappy, and very confused about that.
Right away, this style of writing is more captivating than almost any other business or “how to” book that I’ve ever read. It’s so much easier to identify with what’s happening when you can’t tell if the character is fictional or not. The man in the story feels like he’s probably real, or we could actually be him at some point (or already are).
The man in the story begins a journey of growth by first going to an older man who has a reputation for helping people and living a solid life.
As a business consultant, finding a mentor or a coach is advice I give to any client I work with. I really believe that it’s something everyone should do.
We follow this man as he goes from individual to individual, hearing their stories and learning about how they were lost, had to shift their thinking, and now they truly have “success.” He(we) learns along the way that there are some very key reasons for his lack of satisfaction:
1. He has never defined his personal metrics of success.
This might not be explicitly stated as part of the book. It’s been a few years since I’ve read it cover to cover, so I might have picked this up on principle, and in context of the whole message. I would say that this single point can make or break a person’s entire life, as well as define their perspective on it. (2 different things!)
2. He has never established a Vision and Mission.
These two different things are part and parcel to the whole genie gig. …I mean, “a successful life.”
The book will explain them better than I will here, and provide a much better narrative along with it.
3. He has never determined to be a servant.
In life, being a servant is the most important thing. That idea is also about as contrary to our human nature as is possible. Within the first hour of any initial consultation with a client, I ask the questions, “Who are you serving? Why are you serving them?” I know that anything they want to address has to start with answering those questions.
4. He has never set tangible goals for himself, and understood -sacrificing- to achieve them.
This has got to be the most “duh” statement in the entire book, and one that prior to reading it, I even preached to other people. It’s interesting how we’re often the worst at taking our own advice. It’s as if we must just live it out naturally, since we know how to tell other people to do it, right? That’s so far from the truth that it hurts.
Those are the most consistent things that I took away from the book and still carry with me every day.
They’re not golden secrets of magical awesome-sauce… They’re down to earth, “make-you-feel-stupid-for-not-thinking-of-it-yourself” things. Though really…I guess those probably are the “magic secrets”.
Oh, and specifically, the part where you have to write down everything you want to do and why you want to do it? I took to that portion with “gazelle like intensity”, as Dave Ramsey would say.
I think that I learned more about myself and what I really cared about during that process than I had in the first twenty-something years of my life.
Take it seriously. I still use this process constantly, and it’s fantastic.