I have found several clear purpose-driven principles that have kept me on track most of my life. Several questions are always running through my mind as I make decisions and set goals for myself and my family.
1. Is there anyone in my life bigger than myself? Here's another way to pose this question: Do I answer to anyone else about the choices I make and the goals I have for my life? Actually, the biggest person you need in your life is God. We all require someone to be accountable to and someone whom we know is wiser than us. Because I know God is such a major part of my life, I often ask myself, "Will this direction I am taking be pleasing to God? Are my choices in harmony with the desires He has for my life in being a person of character, moral integrity and showing kindness to others?"
2. Am I here on this earth to serve others? If I'm attempting to find my purpose, why would I need to serve others? This is exactly why people have such a difficult time finding their purpose in life. We keep thinking our significance lies in self fulfillment when all that we are designed for is to put others ahead of ourselves and to use our gifts and talents for them.
Purpose is not about finding rewards in the next life; it's about finding the satisfaction of helping someone else in this life.
3. Do I know what gifts and talents I possess? Finding the abilities God has given you must become your lifetime goal above and beyond everything else you do. If you are in a 9 to 5 job where you feel your talents are going to waste, then use at least one hour a night and 4-5 hours over the weekend doing something you really enjoy - writing, painting, playing an instrument, researching college extension courses to further your education or learning from people who are in a career you'd love to break into.
4. Where do others tell me my talents lie? Quiz people who know you, "Where do you think I am most talented?" In addition, hang out people who will pick you up when you become discouraged.
A friend who is an accomplished speaker shared with me how he got started, "The last thing I ever wanted to do was give a speech in front of real people. So I worked up the guts to take a speech class in high school to overcome my fears. I signed up for more public speaking classes in college until I finally felt comfortable. Now I love to speak in front of crowds both in small venues and places where the audience is jammed packed. My secret? I kept working on my passion to share my ideas in front of an audience until I started to enjoy the experience."
5. Am I willing to do anything to take risks? If you want to discover your significance in life, but you refuse to take any risks, you're going to have a dull old time. Do you want to teach? Volunteer at a church or a school group to teach a class. Are you a musician? Join a band and practice like mad so you sound like you know what you're doing. Send in an article to local newspapers and magazines if you feel your talent is writing. Get involved in a small theatre group since you detect acting is your forte. Become a familiar face in the very location where you would love to spend your career.
[By John Tesh. Email John: firstname.lastname@example.org]