If you have been searching for your purpose, mission or vision for your life, and are still searching with angst and restlessness, like I was, you’re probably making these three mistakes.
Mistake Number One – Traditional Goal Setting
What??? But how do you accomplish anything without goals?
When I started in the radio business in 1986, my goal was to be one of the top executives in the market. I accomplished that goal along with all of the material goals I set – the dream home, luxury cars, jewelry and designer clothes.
There was only one problem, my career sucked the life out of me. My soul, my true essence was dying.
We live in a material world. Tons of books and seminars are given on goal setting. The focus, however, is almost always on outside goals.
There was no talk in the corporate world, at least the one I was in, about nurturing your soul. It was all about competition not cooperation and compassion.
True fulfillment comes when you love what you do, when you feel like you are making a contribution. It’s what makes your heart sing with feelings of joy and expansiveness.
Goal setting needs to come from within.
Spoiler alert – if you are carrying around baggage from the past or disempowering thoughts like, “I’m too young, I’m too old, I tried before and failed, I don’t have a college degree,” blah, blah, blah, you will become stuck.
If you have been deeply wounded, abandoned, abused, or suffered any kind of trauma you have tucked away, until you heal from those wounds and expose the darkness to the light, you won’t be effective.
Read my article if you need help there. You Can’t Be Effective Until You Heal and Let Go
Having purpose, a sense of mission or vision is an inside job. I don’t know why Christians get nervous over the word “inner,” – Inner peace, inner strength.
Jesus was trying to tell us again and again, “The kingdom of heaven is within you. God’s power and glory is within you. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. With God all things are possible. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Your truth is living with God’s power within you. It’s developing inner peace and strength to see your heart’s desires through.
What Inner Goals Look Like
Think of inner goals like the fruits of the Spirit. There is great power when you live from a place of:
What brings you joy? What lights you up inside? What comes naturally to you? Focus on these things.
Let’s look at mistake number two.
Mistake Number Two – You are Convinced your Purpose is Supposed to Be One Thing
I used to drive myself crazy with this plea, or rather more of a resemblance to a foot-stomping three-year-old having a tantrum, “God what is the one thing I’m supposed to do?!!?”
I watch very little television, but one of my favorite shows is CBS Sunday Morning. It is a positive news program with wonderful stories.
Every Sunday they highlight an author, artist or musician. I used to watch with envy as every person describes knowing from the age of three (without a tantrum) or very young, that they were born to sing or dance or paint or write.
Maybe you think you have no talents – which is not true. Also, talent doesn’t mean performing like on America’s Got Talent. Or, maybe you are blessed to have many talents (and may think you are cursed sometimes). Ponder this…..
What Does an Olympic Athlete Do?
When the last Olympics was on I thought about their entire process.
They train a ridiculous amount of time usually on one sport. Years of focus go into sometimes a one minute performance. One-shot to qualify and go on or go home.
These athletes are usually very young. Having the goal or purpose of attaining a gold medal would be pretty hard to top. Does that mean their purpose is done? Of course not.
You will have many purposes, missions, visions.
The Olympic athlete can go on to be a trainer, a motivational speaker or leader or a wonderful mom or dad.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee is from my hometown of St. Louis. She used her Olympic celebrity and influence to help disadvantaged youth as well as being a spokesperson for everyone to eat healthy and nourish their bodies. That’s just a few of the many purposes or missions she has fulfilled.
Mistake Number Three – Trying Too Hard
Isn’t that a relief to know that you don’t have to try so hard?
I believe when we finally give up our struggle and tell God that we can’t do everything ourselves anymore, God says, “Finally I’ve been waiting for you to allow me to go to work on your behalf!”
I’m a terrible delegator – I know, I need to change my self-talk. “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” That was my experience and my mantra.
Unfortunately, I felt the same way about God. “Thanks, God, I’ve got this from here,” was my other mantra.
Funny, the more control I take, the more anxious and lost I can feel.
I now have, thanks to my friend Jill Farmer, a God’s to do list. She said that anything big she puts on God’s to do list. My list for God is getting longer. :) I put finding my purpose, mission, vision on that list.
The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi has always resonated with me. Part of the prayer I recite and live by is, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.” That is what I have become, an instrument, allowing God’s words to flow through me.
At this moment my purpose is to offer encouragement to others and to help them find peace, healing and wholeness so that they can become the ultimate person God created them to be.
My purpose, mission, vision is to live life in a spiritual flow and to be open. Since I made the shift from outer goals to inner goals, my entire life has transformed. When you make that shift, your life will transform too.
Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.” That means we live in the present moment trusting in ourselves and trusting God to lead us and guide us. It’s living from the inside out with peace, power and purpose. It’s letting go of any outcome. We don’t need to try or worry about the outcome because God is in charge.
That is not to say that there will not be challenges. Challenges help us to grow. But I am not the stomping three-year-old any longer. I no longer feel panic or lost (most days). That is cause for me to celebrate and say a huge, “Thank you God!”
I hope that you will avoid the mistakes that I’ve made, so that you will live from a place peace, power, purpose, joy and flow.
Have questions or comments? I’d love for you to post them below.
One of my goals was to be a published author. God created that opportunity through God Notes – Daily Doses of Divine Encouragement. This book came out of a month-long prayer retreat and was a total surprise. That’s the proof of what happens when we let go of control and trust. Read some examples and what others are saying.