A Better Man

Back in December, instead of coming up with resolutions for the new year, I started praying about one word that I can focus on for 2014.  One word that will be on the forefront of my mind, something that will give me purpose for the year.  Little did I know that after a lifetime of not knowing what I really wanted to “do” when I grew up, I had been asking the wrong question the whole time.  The question is not “What do I want to ‘do’?”  The question is, “What is my purpose?”

Asking the question “what do I want to do?”, will give me a job as an answer.  Either that or a job description.  Now, asking the question “What is my purpose?”, gives me an action.  A verb that I can do in whatever job I get.  For over 12 years I have liked engineering, but not loved it.  I have been looking outside of my proverbial window looking at other more “exciting” professions.  This past week, when I was listening to a Podcast called “Living Your List” Ryan Eller talked about that VERB, your purpose in life.  And as he was describing the traits of that verb, I knew exactly what my one word was.  My word is INSPIRE.

My purpose in this world is to inspire others.  The want and the need for it lies deep in my bones.  No wonder I am on fire when I am on stage, singing in front of a band, or when I’m giving talks at retreats, or when I’m acting on a stage, or talking one-on-one with someone trying to get them to see a bright side of life.  I get close to tears when others inspire me.  Armed with this new knowledge and fueled with the confidence that I have a mission, I hit the ground running while I was quarantined at Alan and Marlene’s house.  I started thinking about things that I am already doing that will give me a foothold or handgrip into a career that will nurture my calling.  And what I needed to do so that I’m ready when the time comes that I should come across that job or opportunity…

I started looking at my priorities and using the Eisenhower Method, organizing the tasks in my life based on whether they are important and/or urgent.  After a couple of days, I renamed the sections to:

Kill Quick = Important and Urgent
Focus = Important but Not Urgent
Avoid = Not Important but Urgent
Leisure = Not Important and Not Urgent

My Life Priority Matrix

My Life Priority Matrix

A couple of things on there that I added after my reflection were couch time, and play time.  I know I spend time with my family and I am pretty sure that they are not neglected or abused.  I also wanted to make a deliberate effort to spend at least 1 hour of quality time with Shelly each day.  I called this couch time.  I also want to make a deliberate effort to play with the kids.  For me, writing it out as a priority means focus.  I’m not going to multitask while doing things in the Focus quadrant.

I also noticed that the tasks in the Kill Quick quadrant are things that I tend to procrastinate.  These are the things that I set aside and then get frustrated at myself for not doing because I end up in a crunch.  I mostly set them aside because of the pressure put on by the urgency of the task.  Well, seeing them as things that I need to kill quick has definitely changed my perspective on how to deal with them.  Don’t think, just kill it.

Making myself a better man means slowly but surely moving toward the man I want to become.  It’s about forming new habits, even little ones.  It’s about changing the way I think about the things that I do (and don’t want to do).  I have started a bucket list.  I’m actively tracking my priorities.  I’m not saying I’m doing everything perfectly, far from it.  There are still things I haven’t done that have been on my priority list from the beginning of the week.  I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep, though I was supposed to be resting.  I’ve been so motivated that I think I am at the edge of burning myself out (that’s why I added sleep as a priority).  I have been trying to do so much that I’ve been going to bed at about 2am and waking up at between 5 and 6am, my brain full of plans and schemes and my body full of adrenaline.

It’s my first full day back home after staying at Alan and Marlene’s place.  Still had some trouble napping, but am definitely throttling down the adrenaline flow.  Our family is so blessed to have friends like Alan and Marlene in our lives.  It was Marlene’s invitation to stay with them to prevent the kids from contracting chicken pox that gave me the isolation I needed to reflect.  I was Marlene who watched the kids while Shelly was at work.  It was my chats with Alan that got my mind thinking about possibilities; real possibilities about pursuing my goals and how to achieve them.  Thank you for giving me a place to mend and recover (physically and spiritually).  I know I am never going to be perfect, but hopefully, with the help of grace I am going to be a better man each step of the way.

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