Every calling is great when greatly pursued

Living on purpose. It's a growing, evolving process. It takes focus, clarity and regular reflection. Here's one story about a client's evolution and effort to stay on purpose. Paul is doing some incredible things. His business bottom line is up and stronger than ever. There are new opportunities on the horizon allowing him to live his dream and in many ways he's on the leading edge in his industry. I met Paul four years ago. He was referred to me when I was making marketing calls to businesses in my area. Paul was very interested in personal and professional development. Our first call lead to some interesting conversations and Paul subsequently participated in many classes I taught. Two years ago, Paul joined my purpose discovery workshop, resulting in his purpose statement: "I eagerly seek to acquire and share knowledge to be of benefit to all." Paul told me he had always wanted to be a public speaker and to him, his purpose statement was a clear reflection of this desire. By understanding this is what he naturally loved doing and sought to contribute, Paul began to shift his life and pursue his dream. We started a weekly coaching program. He also signed up for Toastmasters to hone his speaking skills and he hasn't looked back. Paul's company is a small independent wholesale supplier of cleaning and sanitation products. You might be thinking to yourself, "That doesn't seem very glamorous. I thought you said he's doing some incredible things. He's just selling cleaning products." Paul's business is selling cleaning products, but his real passion is infection control. He has taken it upon himself to develop an expertise in cleaning and infection control so healthy people don't get sick and sick people have a chance to heal. He's not a scientist, but Paul understands the science of infection control. His real specialty, however, is the Art of Infection Control. He's the "what to do and how to do it guy" people in his local health care community often turn to for advice. Today, aside from running his business, Paul speaks at conferences and is connecting leading experts in the field of infection control with the front line hospital and nursing home staff across the country by leading and facilitating group TeleLectures on the phone. Let's back up two years. Although he longed to speak in front of groups, Paul felt handicapped by a slight stutter. It wasn't until he realized what his purpose was, "...to acquire and share knowledge..." that despite his reticence, he decided to go for it. Paul is developing an excellent reputation now and in just two years, is known as an "expert" in his field. He has no Ph.D. in science and doesn't really need one. He calls on others' scientific expertise when needed. He's able to make a fantastic contribution through what he knows, "The Art of Infection Control" -- how to use the Science. Education in the Art of Infection Control is part of Paul's vehicle for touching the world. In the beginning, Paul had a lot of doubts about actually making this happen. "I need a degree," he thought. "No one will take me seriously," he told me. "I don't know how to speak to groups," etc., etc. All of these "issues" have been overcome and he is indeed living his dream. His goal of speaking and sharing his knowledge and insights aligns with who he is. It "just seems natural." When you act in alignment with your deepest drive to contribute, it never really feels like work. Then, last week, with two years of success behind him, Paul called me and said, "I'm not sure if I'm on track or if my purpose is correct." Sometimes even when we know the direction we want to go, we can get lost. We lose sight of our goal; we forget why we're doing something or maybe the day-to-day pressures and distractions make it seem like we're off track. Maybe we think our purpose is not big enough. So, with this new doubt we took some time and reviewed Paul's purpose. (We only wonder if we're off track when we're in doubt, when we lose focus, when our vision is cloudy. Of course most of us don't review if we're on purpose, when we're feeling great, focused and aligned.) This may sound simple, but in review, I asked Paul if he was still "eagerly seeking to acquire and share his knowledge". He said yes. Then I asked him to look at his drive to do this and "to be of benefit to all". "Is this still what you are trying to do?" "Yes, it is." "Does this purpose still reflect your deepest drive to contribute?" Another resounding "YES!" "Then is this statement of purpose indeed still absolutely valid?" "YES!" "Are you sure there is nothing missing or is there something else you need to add?" "No" said Paul, "I guess I wasn't really seeing things with my purpose in focus." Paul was reconnected to his purpose. Because of the clarity of his actions and intention, Paul is doing incredible things in all aspects of his life. His business, his church life, and his relationships all continue to grow and be aligned with his unique contribution, despite occasional feelings of doubt or distraction. Living a meaningful life, one of purpose, is an evolving process. As a matter of fact, it's a lifetime job. SPECIAL NOTE Usually we equate success with being on purpose. But note: you can be 100% on purpose and not necessarily succeed or reach your goal. Your purpose is about your drive to contribute. It is "what you are trying to do" and at which you may or may not succeed. Purpose is the driver. In Paul's case, the driver is "to acquire and share knowledge to be of benefit to all." Maybe he is unsuccessful in acquiring a certain nugget of knowledge or is unsuccessful in clearly sharing his knowledge. This does not mean he is not on purpose. The mere fact of attempting to acquire and trying to share knowledge shows alignment with purpose. Sure, we all want to be successful but it is not the only criteria by which we measure your alignment with your purpose. We measure being on purpose as the process of authentically seeking to create the results you want. It is the process of being and doing and is not necessarily tied to immediate results. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela all strived for years in the service of their purpose, often meeting with defeat after defeat. They too may have had setbacks and doubts, yet continued to keep focused on their purpose. If you get stuck, try stepping back from the "results" and look at the bigger process. Are your actions aligned with your deepest drive to contribute and live a purposeful life? Only you know, and your answers will reveal to you if you are on purpose. You may need to make a few adjustments or maybe, if you are like Paul, just need a reminder that you are on the right track.