John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” I meet so many people who express to me in some form or fashion that they’re concerned they aren’t spending their time investing in their life’s work. These people aren’t complaining. Most of them are unbelievably successful doing what they do. But there is something deep within them that isn’t yet satisfied by what they have achieved.
The problem in our culture is that we’ve reduced the pursuit of satisfaction and fulfillment to power, position, and prestige as if our entire life's work should be limited by those things exclusively. If I look back on my life, it’s a series of zigs and zags. Every opportunity, every relationship, and every challenge is an opportunity to learn about how you were made and what drives you.
LIFE DOESN’T COME IN A NICE, NEAT PACKAGE.
There is so much I like about formal, structured education. There is a plan, process, and path to follow. The beginning, middle, and end are clearly defined. The only problem with that is life, real life, doesn't happen in nice, neat semesters. It happens all the time, every day, and in every moment. And if you're not careful, you'll miss the answers to your deepest questions that are right in front of you.
Here's my advice to you if you're trying to settle the unsettled parts of you:
· Restlessness is part of life’s journey. If you ever feel settled, hang on because a disruption is coming. Shaking things up ensures you’re paying attention.
· You’ll never arrive. Stop thinking life is some destination; it’s a journey. Enjoy it!
· Don’t hang onto job, titles, or paychecks. Those things will change over time. Those are vehicles for you to learn about yourself and your divine design. They are simply a catalyst for your adventure.
· You were made for more than one thing. Get it out of your head that you were created to do one thing. Culture, jobs, and market demands change over time. I’ve been a professional communicator my entire life. But how I did at as a sports broadcaster is very different than how I do it today as a university president.
· Self-discovery always results in self-expression. The more you open yourself up to learning during every situation, circumstance, or opportunity, the more opportunities you’ll have to do and experience new things. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.
I've been where you are. You want to know "the secret" that holding you back from living a life of abundance, purpose, and blessing. You want to know at the end of your life that you left everything on the field. I do, too.
You don’t need special powers to unlock your life’s greatest work. What you need is courage, perseverance, and determination. Life is not something to be conquered, mastered, or controlled. It is, however, a catalyst for growth, change, and learning. If the point is not to rush to the end, then the alternative is to fully immerse yourself into every twist and turn along the way.
REGRET IS A REMINDER OF THE ADVENTURES YOU NEVER TOOK.
I must admit that I enjoy hanging out with people much older than me. Some of the wisest people I ever knew, I met at some of the smaller churches I served early in my ministry. One thing you learn about older people is they know what regret looks like, feels like, and the pain it causes. Many of them are at a stage where they can’t do anything about it. But they know what it means to have a desire and impulse to do something, meet someone, or accomplish something yet never make it true.
The things they didn’t go after are some of the things that haunt them the most. I’m not suggesting older people are all depressed or full of regret. Nothing could be further from the truth. But when you spend time talking with them about life, they can clearly tell you what they wished they had done but never had the courage to do.
I made a commitment to myself that no matter how scary the jump, how unfamiliar the path, or how complex the challenge, I was going to say yes to the adventure in front of me. The drive and motivation the swelled deep from within me gave me the energy I needed to move forward—even if it was just one step at a time. And every time I thought to myself this next move was the beginning of the end, I realize it was simply the start of another new beginning.
YOU CAN LIVE THE LIFE OF YOUR DREAMS WHEN YOU LIVE OUT OF YOUR DIVINE DESIGN.
Your divine design was embedded in you at the moment of your creation. But it must be developed, cultivated, and exercised over time. And you can’t do that on the sidelines. You must get in the game of life.
If you feel stuck, paralyzed, or hesitant, here are four steps you can take to get moving:
· Find a mentor. You need someone to keep you from drifting back into thinking that will keep you stuck.
· Keep a journal. Write down what you’re thinking. You’ll start to see important patterns and learn about yourself.
· Do something different every day. I don’t care if it’s as simple as trying a different coffee drink, type of donut, or changing the route you take to the grocery story. Stay acquainted with being uncomfortable.
· Say yes to the hard decisions you’ve been postponing. It could be as small as losing five pounds or reading a book. It could be as big as finishing your degree or quitting your job. Whatever it is, you know you’ve been delaying acting. Stop waiting.
What will be very clear to you as you move through life with this framework is that you’ll begin to see how your past has uniquely prepared you for your present and your future. You'll discover a personal power you didn't know you had. You'll sleep better, breathe deeper, and live with a level of intensity you have experienced in a long time. That's what it feels like to be fully alive. And there is no better way to remain fully alive than when you align what drives and motivates you with your divine design. At that moment, you are unstoppable.
Be the person you were created to be. Say yes to the adventure that is in front of you. This is your life, so live it with no regrets.
REFLECT: Have you aligned your divine design and your drive and motivation? What could be possible if you did? What can you do today to make that true? How would your life change if you lived with no regrets