Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What is Your Mission?



Unless you are someone who believes that everything around you happened by accident and life has no purpose, you believe that you are on this planet for a reason. I know a couple of folks who call themselves atheist, who believe they are destined for greatness.

I am not going to get into a debate about religious beliefs. I have mine, you have yours and they really don't matter for the discussion we are going to have here. Having said that, we all have talents that can and should be used for the betterment of our world. 

How to Decide What Your Mission Is

I am a firm believer that over 80% of the people in the world never figure out what they are supposed to do with their lives. I am no exception. I am actually writing this to help me figure out what I was made to do. It is far too easy to get so wrapped up in the day to day, earning a living and paying bills that we never have the opportunity to discover who we really are. I am not talking about traveling the world to find yourself, I am talking about finding the career or the calling in your life that makes you feel fulfilled. 

I am a big fan of writing things down. If you are truly trying to figure out what you were meant to do you will need to list your talents. By talents I mean the things that you are really good at. Here is the problem. A lot of people think they are great at something when they really are not. If this were not true there would not be so many people who show up to the American Idol tryouts that the entire country makes fun of. Some may go just to be on television, but others truly believe that they have what it takes to make it in the music industry and they are actually tone deaf.

How do you list your talents honestly? That is tough. But here goes an honest attempt.
  1. Ask for input. Don't ask your mom. She is likely to tell you that you are the greatest even when she knows you are not. Ask your spouse, ask a true friend. A true friend will tell you if you stink at something. They may not do it very tactfully, but they will tell you.
  2. What do you like to do? Okay, I know that there are tens of thousands of teen age boys and sadly even thirty something men that would list video games as number one, that is fine, but list more than just one thing. In fact, list at least 10 things that you like to do. If possible list 10 things you love to do.
  3. Be honest with yourself. I have wanted to be a lot of things throughout my life. I have wanted to be a farmer, an attorney, a singer, a musician, even a college professor. But I have to admit I did not have the discipline to be a singer or musician. I got to know too many attorneys and couldn't be like that. I am not willing to go in debt enough to become a college professor. 
A professor is still a desire, but I am not willing to feed the beast that is the system. Let me explain. At the time I am writing this I am 44 years old. I have a Bachelor's degree, but in order to teach I would need a minimum of a masters degree. It would cost me a minimum of $52,000 to get my masters degree. Even if I started next year, I would be 47 before I graduated. That means I would have 18 years to pay off $52,000 of student loans, depending on where you live that could be as much as an additional house payment. Not going to happen.

List your weaknesses. If you do not like children you are not going to want to be a day care owner no matter how good the money is. Again be honest. I would like to think that I have no weaknesses, but if I said so I would be lying.  I love creating, but maintenance? That is different. There are times I have to force myself to get things done that I know need doing. Oh and I hate paperwork, HATE IT. So maybe a college professor wasn't the best idea after all.

Look for Alternatives

Okay, so a traditional teacher is out of the question. No big deal. I can be a non traditional teacher. I have held demonstrations for school teachers, children, and even the elderly. What can I teach? Lots of things. If you are good at something and enjoy it (yes I said and, believe it or not there are people who are really good things they do not enjoy) do some research and see if there is a market for that skill. If there is not a market is it game over? No. Dig deeper and see if a market can be created. People don't know they want something if they do not know it exists. The same is true for learning. A person doesn't realize all of the things they do not know.

There are people who are making their living teaching people how to make soap and selling the very soap they make while teaching the class. Get creative.

Start Small

Unless you are creating a brick and mortar business, it is best to start a business without any debts. That sounds like common sense right? Well, its not. There are people shouting at you from every corner about small business grant and loans. Nearly any business you can imagine can start small and part time. Machine shop? Yup, it has been done. Cabinet shop? Yup. Hair salon? Yup. Tutoring? Yup. If you start small and get some satisfied customers out there, it gets easier. Think of it as a cottage business.

If something is your mission, it will also be a passion. A mission, once you find it is something that helps you feel fulfilled. You really want to keep doing it, not just because you should. Once you find your mission you cannot honestly see yourself not doing it. How do I know this? I know this by talking to people who firmly believe they have found their mission in life.

You Cannot Just Use Logic

I know. After all of the things I have covered so far you would think that this is counter intuitive. It is not. Pray, meditate, do whatever you do to calm your mind. Search for peace in an idea before you pursue it. I am not saying to not do something til you have complete confidence, if you wait on that you may never do anything.

Here is a story that I heard that rang true for me and I believe applies to any mission in life. 
A young man was attending a church service. He went to church every opportunity he had. One night when the minister offered the call to pray, the young man went to the alter and told the old preacher that he felt like God was calling him to preach. The old preacher asked why he thought that. The young man said "I don't know for sure, I just feel like it is what I am supposed to do". 
The old pastor gave the young man some advice that he did not expect. He told him to run from the call to preach. "Don't do it. It will break your heart. You may never have any money. Everyone will look to you for help. You will be held to a higher behavior standard than everyone else."
The young man didn't know what to say or think. He was expecting encouragement, that was not what he received. The young man did as the pastor told him, he ran from the desire to be a preacher. He was miserable for months. Finally, he went back to the old preacher and told him that he didn't care what the old man thought, he was supposed to preach and that he had been in terrible shape since that night. The old pastor smiled and told him that if he could have avoided the call to preach then he wasn't supposed to preach.
Once you realize what you are supposed to do in your life, you will not be happy until you have at least started down the path to what you were destined to do.

I am Still Struggling

I wish I could tell you that I have found exactly what I am supposed to do with my life, but I haven't, or at least I don't think so. I do a lot of things that bring me joy. That is very important. I love writing all of the articles for all of you and I believe that this is part of what I am supposed to do, but I do not think this is all I was created to do.

What is your mission? Do you know? How did you figure it out? I would really like to know. Maybe you sharing your experience will help me and maybe, just maybe countless others.

I wish you all

Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes.

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