Category Archives: Finding Purpose

Here’s to 2011

It’s the first of the year..

A time for a fresh start..

A time to be completely original..

A time to turn those thoughts into action into results..

A time to be intentional..

A time to get off the sidelines and into the game..

A time to go BIG w/out fear..

The only thing that is holding you back is yourself

Here’s to 2011 — the most incredible year to date.

ML

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Work to Live, Live to Work

Does your career define who you are?

It’s so easy for us to get so wrapped up in our jobs that we lose all identity of who we are. Simultaneously, we can find ourselves beginning to live for our work while working to live. The everday-ness of routine completely narrowing your thought-process, and the next thing you know you are defining your day job with who you are.

That’s what happened to my friend.

My friend has been working for a solid company for 6 years now. Starting at the bottom to where he is now as a supervisor is quite the testament to his incredible work ethic and attitude. I mean this guy is good at what he does!

There’s this other thing in his life though, his family. He’s on his second marriage and has a total of 6 kids (from previous marriage/girlfriend).

His job demands a lot from him. A whole lot. To be exact, it demands 240 traveling days (away from his family) out of the calendar year. When asked “How’s Life?” He simply replies, “Work is good!” After all, he has no choice if he wants to provide financially for his family, right?

Being on the road, waiting in a terminal, finishing up a job — my friend has completely lost his identity through his career. Coming home from his long road trips to his wife and kids has become coming home to his roommate and kids. It’s when he’s gone that his kids/wife are encountering life — and he doesn’t get to consistently be a part of it.

Did I mention that he was married? They actually just got divorced a few months ago, due to the fact that his job was so demanding of his time.

Now, he’s single with child support bills and longing for a redo – all because his priorities as a “breadwinner” got out of whack.

I think we start out in a career with our priorities in line. We think, “I’m gonna work out every day at 5:30am before I go to work, be the best I can be at work, arrive home by 5:15pm, love on my wife, be at all my kid’s baseball games, and start it all over the next morning with a huge smile on my face.”

But as our career kicks off, promotions/demotions happen, location changes happen, strict demands happen, pressure to conform happens, stress happens. We lose those priorities quick if we aren’t careful. In losing these priorities, we put the things we first prioritized on the back burner, in hopes of the “providing-for-the-family” aspect making up for time actually spent with our loved ones.

I want this to be a reminder — don’t let your career define you. Don’t LIVE strictly for your work. Make a list and realize your priorities — then keep them in check. Make sacrifices for the sake of your family and continuously evaluate where your job/career is taking you. Jobs are essentially meant to provide financial stability and satisfy passions(if you can find a job that does that) — but remember, the stability you can provide at home as a husband or a father is 10-times more important than your twice-a-month checks.

ML


Finding Success in the Workplace

Transitioning into the “real world” from college can be tricky.

I’ve recently experienced that transition and feel qualified enough to mention a few things to consider regarding YOUR career:

Listen!
Be a sponge. Absorb any and every kind of information. That’s all you need to do right now. Slow to speak and quick to listen!

Build your foundation
That first job is your first shot at building your career foundation. Make it count. Work hard and do whatever it takes to gain the confidence of your boss. However, make sure you know the difference between exuding confidence and cockiness.

Be confident!
No one wants to hire someone who is insecure about what he/she brings to the table. Be confident and know that you are highly valued. Speak up when you need to and let your voice be heard. Think creatively and provide a fresh perspective.

Be respectful
The main difference in between my generations (20-30 yr. olds) and the Baby Boomer generation is that we tend to treat each other as peers while they do the opposite. Your boss will most likely prefer being called “sir/ma’am” or “mr/mrs _____” until you get the “ok” to call him by his/her first name. People of the baby boomer generation demand a respect that my generation is not used to giving. Be respectful.

Embrace a strong work ethic
People are watching in your workplace. Every move you make, every project you submit, every e-mail you send, etc. Make sure your representing yourself in a way that nonverbally demands a promotion by your day-to-day work.

– Get organized
Something I’ve found to be the hardest of this transition is being organized with your tasks. This is so key for being successful. Keeping track of your assignments, papers, sticky notes, your inbox is critical to excellent quality of work within the workplace. It’s an art that I’m consistently trying to master.

Embrace opportunities
When opportunities come your way, go 150% at them. You never know if this opportunity is a “test” to see what your made of.

Have integrity
Integrity in the workplace means being honest and doing what is right no matter the circumstance. It requires you to make the right choice, even when you may not receive personal gain from the outcome, and to put your own agenda aside for the greater good of the organization and the people.

With these said, I also want to let you know that COLLEGE does not prepare you for EVERYTHING.

I’d say I was unprepared for:

Emphasis placed on teamwork skills
If you work in a corporate atmosphere, chances are that you are on a team. Staying in communication, understanding each other, and working together towards a solution are essential to building success within the workplace. I never read anything about this in a book.

Personal finances
Accounts Receivable. Balance Sheets — Blah. Blah. Blah. Learning to budget, especially when you decide to get married, is SO IMPORTANT. I think I actually took a personal finance class in High School..Mrs. Watts. However, once you have money and start making a consistent paycheck — it’s way different than reading case studies in books. I recommend going through this for a healthy financial life.

– Having to move back in with the family
I won’t go into this again. You can read here if you’d like to know more about this topic.

Reality of 8am-5pm job
I’d say the closest I learned about this topic in college would be the all-nighters I pulled in college. That was the closest thing to 8 straight hours I can think of — and that only happened MAYBE 4 times. Once again, no book can prepare you for this.

You can read about it in books, but the second you experience a career first hand is when you really get it.

Embrace these things while jumping into a career. Despite the struggles, tedious tasks, interesting co-workers, etc — develop an optimistic, hard working attitude and dominate your day job.

With great work, comes great reward!

ML


Stagnancy vs. Change ..

I got inspired the other morning.

An individual who I admire greatly challenged me to look further into my being and rather than continue to find out and seek out “who I am or what I’m made of,” it may be the appropriate time (if that actually exists) to find out “who I can become or what I can be.” I then heard a phrase that has been cemented into the hippocampus of my brain:

If you do not change, you can become extinct.

People can become stagnant. People all over the world get to a point of daily routine and redundancy, settling for 2nd best. They think, “Well, these are just the ‘cards of life’ that I’ve been dealt.” These people end up being swept into the dustpan of history.

I encourage you to keep things moving so you don’t even come close to a state of endangerment better yet extinction. Realize your passion and develop a vision for your life. Look for opportunities that other people will miss. Embrace those opportunities and own them. What do you want to be remembered by?

Another quote I saw that made me think:

When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.

Maybe its time to quit that job and start that business you’ve been dreaming about. Maybe its time to finally ask that girl to spend the rest of your life together. Maybe its time to confront a long-standing conflict that’s been clogging up your mind. Maybe its time to make a radical lifestyle change. Whatever it is, move past it — and experience freedom.

Chew on these quotes. Let it soak. I know I am.


The Art of Seeking

I guess the past 6 months, I’ve been that guy who spends a lot of time reading blogs, reading excerpts in books, listening to podcasts — all in hopes of being inspired or educated in a new way. I can’t seem to stop.

It’s something I like to call, The Art of Seeking.

My mindset: I’m young, lacking adequate corporate world experience, and all I care to do right now is be a human sponge and soak up any kind of information/inspiration I can.

It’s hard to say right now that if I spoke up to a higher-up, business executive, that I would contribute something new or enlightening to his life. Maybe if it pertained to sports, favorite cereals or marketing strategies I used for OSU Wrestling, then maybe, just maybe they’ll get SOMETHING out of it..

I’m not saying I don’t/can’t have a voice or I have to take the back seat, but for now I’m embracing a role where I listen, I learn, I ask questions, and I go into random offices and listen to stories on how their career led them to where they are now — ultimately imitating a sponge and soaking up as much as I can.

Try it — Listen/Learn/Ask Q’s today. Soak in as much as possible.

ML


Halftime Adjustments..

When Oklahoma State takes the field/court in the first half, more than not, they end up at the end of the first half having to make huge adjustments — whether it be in football or basketball. Whether it’s a QB change or being more aggressive on the offensive end, adjustments HAVE to be made to succeed in the 2nd half. (yea, bleeding orange can be frustrating)

I’d like to tie this into the “game” of Life.

I’d like to dub my “schooling” years  as the “1st half of my life” — Starting from Kindergarten to the day I graduated college (3 weeks ago). A 17-year first half (age 22 now), followed by a 70+ year 2nd half, God willing.

If you were to look at the game stats for the first half of your life, what would you see? Would you have a halftime show showcasing all of your First half highlights? Would Chris Berman or Greg Gumbel be raving about the “big plays” you made? Or would they be envisioning “big plays” TO be made in the 2nd half?

Either way, I believe a lot of us, including myself, are at the point where we need to evaluate/critique what we’ve done in the 1st half, and prepare/enable ourselves for whats in store for us in the 2nd half.

Lately, I’ve been struggling about where I am and what I’m setting myself up for in my career. In football terms, its like I’ve been calling running plays for the past 20 downs — Perhaps its time for a pass. Maybe a post route, or even a Hailmary.

That said, when Oklahoma State gets a first down, the whole stadium erupts in a “FIRST DOWN AND TEN” along with the “first down” motion. A first down gives a team hope — it re-energizes them.  Same for people. Maybe the play you need to make to get that first down is simple, maybe its tough.  It’s tough figuring out how to get that renewed boost sometimes. I think, for me, it’s figuring out who I am and what my place is in the work world. Not as easy as I thought now that I’m in Corporate America.

All this being said, it’s time to make haltime adjustments, and its time to prepare for the upcoming big plays that lay ahead in the “2nd half.” Unleash your potential and go ahead and shock the world.

ML


Purpose..

Good Afternoon all — little long, but I think it’s worth a read. (Of course I’m biased though.)

Let me just start with this:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

I’ve heard this verse a million times, but since my “plans” are happening right before my eyes — I’m understanding it a whole lot better.

Ever feel like you are leading a life out of routine rather than a life out of purpose? We as humans have this inevitable longing to be impactful in some way or another. You’ve maybe gotten to the point where your life needs a radical change; something to give you that spark and give you a new form of energy — a purpose.

When I looked up the word “purpose” it read:

“the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc…”

God has blessed each and every one of use with talents and distinct qualities. It’s our job now to discover and embrace these talents and use them for His glory. Whether you are unbelievable with numbers, go unleash your skills in the finance world; or you are an incredible artist, go and show off your creative side. Regardless of what it is that hits your “sweet spot,” we are given by God unique, natural abilities and strengths. He gave us these gifts and abilities so we can serve others as well as give a part of ourselves back to Him.

So, in receiving these gifts, talents and unique abilities; we can do one of two things:

  • We can set them aside and pursue something that looks good to our own eyes

or

  • We can encounter a life of satisfaction by knowing that our gifts and talents are being used as intended by God.

So, how do we even find our gifts?

My challenge for you, and myself, is to be “ORIGINAL” because God did not create a “Steve Jobs part 2” or an “Albert Pujols clone.” He created an ORIGINAL you with your own ORIGINAL ideas and gifts. Embrace that. Live that.

Risk-taking also comes to mind — to go against the grain and take a leap of faith, trust that since God made you ORIGINAL, he will provide a way for you to effectively use your talents/gifts in your own ORIGINAL way, thus allowing you to live a life of purpose.

I sincerely believe that Christians have the responsibility to find their strengths, and by using them  will launch a lifetime of satisfaction of enjoyable stewardship  and service to God and others.

-ML