Welcome to the LeaderQuest Podcast Episode 8. This week we are talking about ways to bring passion and purpose to our work.
Work takes up a significant portion of our week. Add on to that family, self-care, hobbies, andlife’s unexpected moments and you’re probably feeling overworked.
But the problem is not really our work. While some may need to focus on working less (those chronically overworked includes those regularly working 50 hours a week or more), the much more likely scenario is that you need to bring more passion and purpose to your work.
Join Elise and I this week as we talk about this topic.
What does it mean to work with passion and purpose?
How can you cultivate?
What are some easy hacks to get the momentum going?
“Hieb, this isn’t going to happen again. We’re going to get him next time. Set the goal. Focus on it. Put your energy into it.”
Those were the words from my high school wrestling coach after a tough loss. A regional match my junior year set me into a favorable matchup for state placing.
I was wrestling Blake, a decent wrestler from a school less than an hour away. My record was better. My skills were better. My coaching was better. I was set. A quick win and I was off to state, ranked in the top ten.
Given all those advantages, I overlooked Blake to prepare for state the next weekend.
Blake beat me. On a late third period comeback, he got a reversal and won 8-7. My failure to prepare for the object right in front of me meant that my end destination was changed. Instead of a favorable seeding in the state tournament, I was on the outside looking in.
That loss took me out of the top ten and into the bottom four. I faced the number two wrestler in the state (and eventual state winner) in the first round and lost. Then in the losers bracket, I lost again.
What had started as a promising season ended in bitter defeat. 0-2 in the state tournament and a long offseason to think about the final thirty seconds of a match that was still eating away at me.
That’s when coach pulled me aside and told me to write my goals down for next season. Even in the pain and through the tears, focus on where I wanted to go. How did I want my senior season to end? How did I want to be remembered?
Begin With The End in Mind
That day, I wrote down three goals to focus on:
1.) Beat Blake
2.) Make it to state
3.) Set the school record in reversals.
For an entire year, those were my goals. Every extra practice. Every meal. Every weight training session.
“Beat Blake” became my mantra.
At the start of the next wrestling season, Coach Z put my goals on the board for everyone to see. Now, I was accountable to the entire team.
Every day at 3:30, the music would start, the reps would begin and my entire focus became to “Beat Blake.”
The final regular-season tournament of the season pitted me against Blake in the championship match, with regional and state seeding positions on the line. As I stepped on to the mat, Coach Z pulled me aside, “You’ve worked a year for this match. It’s time to finish.”
Three minutes later, I stepped off the mat and something along the lines of, “Rabid Wolverine” was hurled at me as they raised my arm in victory. From a close loss to a dominating win, I finished my objective and beat Blake.
Goals Create Clarity
Goals create clarity. Put another way, when we begin with the end in mind, we know what we’re aiming for.
By creating focus, instilling discipline, and getting clear on our life ambition, we know how to put a plan in place to help us reach our ultimate destination.
Or, think of it this way: As you near the end of your life, sit in your favorite rocking chair on the front porch of your house, answer these three questions:
1.) What are you glad you accomplished?
2.) What do you want to be remembered for?
3.) What are some of the things you’re most thankful for?
I’ve never coached someone who has answered those questions, “I think I need to spend more time at work.” Or, “My life would be better if I’d burn the candle at both ends a bit more.” Or, “Everyone wins if I’d ignore my family more for a few more late nights of office paperwork.”
Instead, when we think about where we want to end up, we then know how to create the plan to get us there.
I often tell people that coaching is a lot of “reverse engineering.” We get clear on where we want to go and why that’s important to us. Then we create the “how” piece of the puzzle.
We begin with the end in mind and then create the roadmap to success.
Working With Passion and Purpose
Work is a large part of our everyday lives. Whether your work is as a stay at home parent, a business executive, an entrepreneur, or as a skilled service provider. Whatever it is that you have been called to for “work” at this stage of life is vital. For you. For your family. For your employees. For the economy.
God has created you to not just work but work with meaning.
This is accomplished by getting clear on what makes our work significant. We do that by knowing where we want to end up in life, and what makes that important to us. We bring purpose to our work when we begin with the end in mind.
When we know the how and why of our work, the rest becomes clear. When we know where we want to end up, we know how to create a plan that will get us there. When we begin with the end in mind, we will spend our days on tasks that help us “Beat Blake” every time we need to.
I had gone into college thinking I was going to be a science major. However, I remember one night staring into the microscope around 2 am trying to determine leaf structure, that I realized I didn’t want to do it anymore.
For someone already struggling with their place in the world, this was the last straw. I remember sinking into a deep depression. I felt like my whole world had been taken away.
A new city with no friends.
A lifeless major.
No sports to ground my days as they did in high school.
Gambling with God
During this time, I began a deep dive into my place into the world. I started to study the Bible and see if it had something for me.
I head this small voice telling me to think about a career in ministry.
I had tons of excuses about why that was a terrible idea.
I can’t speak in public.
I’m afraid of crowds.
I don’t want to.
Yet in my desire to find my place, I kept reading. I kept studying. And I kept hearing that voice. Finally, I had had enough. In a fit of rage and the cockiness of a 19-year-old know-it-all, I threw my Bible against the wall, promising to read whatever passage it fell open to.
If you can convince me to go into ministry through this, I’ll do it.
I was willing to gamble with God.
I picked up my Bible where it lay, plopped down on my bed, and read. My Bible (*coincidentially?*) had fallen open to Exodus chapter four.
In this story, a man named Moses is being called by God to free the Israelites from slavery at the hand of the Egyptians. Moses didn’t want to. He fought God’s call. He questioned God’s sanity.
I can’t speak in public.
I’m afraid of crowds.
I don’t want to.
Moses expressed everything to God that I had.
That small voice returned and said, “If I can do something with him, surely I can do something with you.”
Discovering Your Call
Now, I’m not saying I’m the next Moses. I’m far from it.
I’m also not saying that your call has to be as dramatic or painful as mine. I sure hope it’s not.
But here is what I have learned in the almost fifteen years since that day: Everyone has a call.
Your unique experiences, gifts, passions, interests, skills, and background have made you truly unique in this world. There is no one like you and you are like no one else. The world needs you. It needs your voice. Your perspective. Your championing of issues close to your heart. The world needs you, in all of your glory, to embrace who God has made you be at your core and live fully alive.
Without you, this world is incomplete.
Discovering your call is about finding whatever it is that makes you come alive. It is about blending your God-given potential with your world-changing desire.
So listen to that voice. Pursue it. Be open to it. As crazy as your world-changing idea may sound, it echoes in your soul for a reason.
It’s time to answer your call.
We are in a series on calling here on the blog. If you have a story idea, question or topic you want to be covered, or if you’re ready to work with Justin please fill out the contact form below.