“No, I didn’t!”
“Yes, you did!”
“Did too! Mom!!!”
Have you ever heard this argument? Or have you ever been a PART of this argument? As a kid, one of the worst things was to be accused of doing something “on purpose.” You could run over your sister’s Barbie doll with the lawn mower, but if you didn’t do it “on purpose,” you wouldn’t get in as much trouble…you might even just get a “good talking to.”
Even as adults, we still cringe when someone accuses us of doing something “on purpose.” As a mischievous lad, I was frequently called to the principal’s office, and, I must confess, it was often because I had done something-you guessed it-“on purpose.”
This whole idea of doing something “on purpose” has gotten a bad rap. In 2002, Rick Warren wrote his NYT best-selling book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” and finally, it seemed that doing something on purpose was not necessarily a bad thing. I read Warren’s book, and I liked it pretty well. But I must confess that I never really made a serious attempt to apply some of the wisdom in the book to my life. While I wanted my life to be meaningful, I wasn’t really living a life of purpose; I didn’t have a plan for my life; that is, until recently.
I subscribe to Michael Hyatt’s blog. Hyatt is the chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, the world’s largest publisher of inspirational and spiritual books. More than 200,000 people subscribe to his daily blog, and it is a must read for anyone in leadership at any level.
I have lived a reactionary life, bouncing from one extreme to another like a ball in a pinball machine-allowing my life to “happen” to me, instead of me “happening” to my life. I have allowed others to dictate my mood and my attitude by the way that they have treated me. As an emotional person, this has been demoralizing for me, and it has led me to accomplish far less than I was made for. This has got to stop.
Hyatt has written a powerful blog called “Creating Your Personal Life Plan.” He is also giving away a free e-book called “Creating Your Personal Life Plan.” It is an easy to read, straightforward little book that has finally motivated me to live my life “on purpose.”
I am working on writing my life plan. This is not a quick and easy task…no one-shot deal. Once I have completed it, I will need to review and revise it regularly, building in measurables along the way that help me to assess my progress. Hyatt reviews his plan on a weekly basis and schedules regular quarterly reviews where he can get away from the office and assess his progress over an extended period of time. Leadership expert John Maxwell takes the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day to review the previous year and look forward to the year ahead. Steven Covey, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” uses the example of putting “the big rocks in the jar first” as a metaphor for mapping out your life plan.
All of these individuals have something in common-they did not accidentally stumble into leadership success…it didn’t just happen for them. They made a plan and followed it…on purpose.
I have frequently been inspired by the success of those I admire to change direction and try to live a more focused life. These efforts have largely dwindled away, usually because I just “don’t feel like it” anymore. And as I look back on my life, I see the places where I could have achieved so much more had I just been a bit more persistent in my efforts.
As I close in on weight-loss and fitness goals that I never seriously believed I could reach, I realize that this is my last (and best) chance to make a difference in the lives of people around me. And even though I am closing in on 50, I now know that it is never too late to develop a plan for the rest of my life.
So I challenge you to ask yourself the following three questions:
1. Do I have a plan for my life?
2. If the answer is yes, have I evaluated my progress recently? If the answer is no, what’s holding me back?
3. What one thing can I do today (on purpose) to move a little bit closer to one of your goals?
So the next time someone says, “You did that on purpose!” you can proudly say, “Yes I did, ain’t it great?”