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A Journey to Live Our Purpose

Our world has been turned upside down in recent weeks and months. Normal routines have been thrown out of whack. Everyday events and experiences we normally take for granted have been brought to our attention. For some of us, this may be a time where we reflect on our journey to live our purpose.

Extreme situations often allow deep-level issues to rise to the surface.

For those of us under stay-at-home orders and other restrictions, maybe this has been a time to decompress, breathe, and reflect on our career and its role in our life. Perhaps our level of stress and burnout has increased as we wrangle new technology. We might be working extra hard to make sure all of our students and athletes have everything they need to succeed in these uncertain times.

Maybe being taken away from our classrooms and sports teams has helped us realize the passion we have for our jobs. Or perhaps it has left us wondering if the profession of teaching and coaching young bodies and minds is really the right place for us.

The Challenge

No matter where we are at in our leadership journey as a teacher or coach here is a challenge for us to reflect on:

Forgetting about what other people think if you could do something you love every day for the rest of your life, what you would do? How does this activity set your soul on fire? How do you feel when you are doing it?

Today’s challenge comes from our Fundamental of Success of Pursuing Our Dreams.

Now, isn’t educating young people what we should all love to do every day? Yes, but there are many different ages and levels we can teach and coach. Some of us are better suited in the classroom and some are better suited as administrators. Some of us are better assistant coaches and some are better as the head coach.

In a general sense, teaching and leading young people and making a difference in their lives might be something we all love to do. But maybe we don’t feel like what we are currently doing is really helping us discover our best selves. Perhaps we aren’t sure if the current WHAT and WHERE of our life is helping us reach our full potential.

This challenge is about taking stock of whether we are currently in the avenue which can best help us pursue our dream…which flows from our vision.

As a way to help us find the best avenue to set our soul on fire, we are going to look at the four stages of living our purpose. These stages come from Jon Gordon and are explained in his book The Seed.

First Stage of Living Our Purpose: PREPARATION

The first stage of living our purpose is the preparation stage.

This is everything that happens in our life up until the time we decide to plant our seed. It includes our childhood and all of the lessons we’ve learned along the way. All the struggle and the adversity we’ve faced is part of our preparation.

Sometimes we are going to feel like we are in the desert or we feel completely lost…and that’s okay. Remember our fundamental of success today is Pursuing our Dreams. It’s an action fundamental so we need to keep taking action in spite of our feelings trying to hold us back.

It’s possible we think we have planted our seed and we are where we are supposed to be and doing what we are supposed to do. Then, something comes along to knock us off our track. Really what this means is we haven’t quite found the correct place to plant our seed and what truly sets our soul on fire. Or maybe we were just on autopilot and were not truly intentional about planting our seed.

All of these experiences are really just part of our preparation stage and they are preparing us to be able to do the work we were meant to do

Second Stage of Living Our Purpose: PLANTING

The second stage in living our purpose is the planting stage. This is where we decide to plant our seed.

The planting stage often comes from a defining moment. We might experience a crisis or a sign we feel in our gut this is something we are supposed to do. It could be something that has been whispering to us for a long time. Our defining moment might come at the end of a very long road.

The other thing about deciding where to plant our seed is it comes when we don’t pay attention to what other people want us to be. In fact, we even transcend what WE want to be.

Because, ultimately, it is about living to be the best we can be in the service of others.

Third Stage of Living Our Purpose: GROWTH

The third stage in living our purpose is the growth stage. Once we decide where to plant our seed, it can be amazing how our eyes are opened up to all the different possibilities and situations provided for us to grow.

During our growth, we will experience high points to bolster our confidence that we are in the right place. But we will also experience adversity which will cause us to doubt ourselves.

We need to have faith…and we need to understand that everyone’s timeline is different. Our growth stage may take longer than we want it to, but in reality, it is preparing us for the final stage.

Fourth Stage of Living Our Purpose: HARVEST

The final stage in living our purpose is the harvest stage. This is where our purpose becomes so clear we can say it in one sentence.

We reap what we have sown and we have an energy that allows us to keep giving and giving. We can look back and see how all the stages…the preparation, the planting, the growing…have all been connected and led us to the harvest.

We produce fruit with our gifts and abilities which benefits others and helps them change their lives and live to their full potential.

The harvest is the culmination of writing our own story. The quest to discover and live our purpose is part of our leadership journey to maximize our full potential by giving away the gifts and abilities we were born with and have developed.

What If?

Reflecting and journaling on these four stages of our purpose might bring us to a scary question, “What if we discover we don’t believe teaching or coaching is where we should plant our seed?”

Does this mean we should pivot and move in a new direction? Yes…but only if we truly believe another profession is where our seed should be planted. We shouldn’t do it for external factors like money, prestige, or having an easy life where we don’t have to face challenges.

We should only pivot away from teaching and coaching if there is something else which sets our soul on fire and can create an avenue for us to reach our full potential.

So how about you?

Forgetting about what other people think if you could do something you love every day for the rest of your life, what you would do? How does this activity set your soul on fire? How do you feel when you are doing it?

We may all be at different stages in finding our purpose. Some of us may still be going through experiences to prepare us. Some of us may have recently experienced a defining moment and are deciding to plant our seed. Some of us may be in the growth stage where we are being shaped and molded to be ready for the harvest. And some of us may be experiencing the harvest stage where we are living close to the limits of true potential and reaping what we have sown throughout our journey.

Remember it is just that…a journey. It is a journey to write our own story… not for self-promotion but for self-donation.

When we have an awareness of our stage in the journey to live our own purpose, we can grow stronger relationships with our students and athletes. We can remember our students and athletes are still in the preparation stage, but the courage we live with to pursue our dreams can help prepare them once they decide to plant their own seed.

One of the questions the young people we work with want us to answer is, “Are you a person worth following?”

Pursuing our dreams and going on the journey to discover and live our purpose will help answer their question.

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Jon Barth

Jon Barth

Teacher - Coach - Mentor

I love to share stories, tools, and resources to help students become leaders who make a difference in the world by giving away their gifts and abilities.

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