Recently, I received an email from a colleague saying that he had lost his focus professionally. He had lost some of his passion because of other things that were going on in his life. All of us feel that way from time to time. His business has steadily increased and now, as a result, has a lot on his plate. So much so that at times he feels overwhelmed. He wasn’t looking for advice but was trying to vent. I understand that and need to do the same from time to time. However, in this case, I felt compelled to act. I told him what I am telling you – Remember your purpose.
Whatever you are led to do, remember why you started to do it in the first place. I’m not talking about a job just to put food on the table. I am talking about your calling. Actor and musician Mark Anthony once said, “If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.” My colleague loves and is very good at what he does. So much so that a lot of people pay very good money for his services. It is very true that when you get very busy, you can lose focus. When this happens, it is essential to take a step back and to remember what you were called to do in the first place.
I have some personal experience with this. For a significant portion of my career, I spent a lot of time traveling for work. I was making good money and my family had a great lifestyle. Even though I spent a lot of time away from home, I justified it by saying that I was taking care of my family. The problem was, I was away from home 4-5 nights per week. Even though she liked the income that I was making, my wife was beginning to feel like she only had a (very) part-time husband. I am also a parent. It all came to a head when my oldest daughter, who I am very close to, said to me that she really didn’t feel like she knew me anymore. When she had a problem that only Daddy could fix, I was never there. That hit me hard. I had become the here he comes, there he goes father. Things had to change.
Since I have experience in leadership and management development, I reminded myself of 3 pieces of advice that I frequently give to young leaders:
Remember your purpose
God has a purpose for all of us. Proverbs 19:21 says “Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand.” In other words, do what you were called to do, not necessarily what you want to do. For example, if you love art, don’t try to become an accountant because someone (like a parent) wants you to. and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.” In other words, focus on what you were meant to do and everything will be alright.
Pretend that you are on your deathbed.
No, I am not being morbid. My advice is to remember what is important. When you are on your deathbed, your final thought will not be about a project at work or some client that you served. You will be thinking of your family and those who are closest to you. Relationships are most important. Remember to think of the life that you want to lead and work around that. Life is not about achieving success in the workplace. It is about making a difference to those that matter to you the most.
Don’t chase after money.
As I said before, if you are doing what you are meant to do, you will be alright. Jesus said in Matthew 19:24 that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Jesus was not saying that you should not earn money and become successful. What He was saying is that it is impossible to serve both God (represented by your calling) and money. If I look at people who are only motivated by money, I see someone who is lost.
I realize that we all need money to live but if you are living out your calling and serving in your intended space, you won’t need to worry about money, it will find you.