In my one-on-one coaching sessions with leaders, I am amazed that people who can articulate strategy for their organisations are clueless when it comes to planning their own lives.
A jigsaw puzzle with a picture of the end result will be that much easier to execute than when you just have the pieces and no picture. The picture acts as a compass to give you direction.
I start off with “Life’s Big 4 questions.” Surprisingly, when I ask professional questions they are able to answer immediately and off the cuff but on Life’s Big 4, they always hesitate.
The first question is, “What were you born to do?” If you do not know the purpose for which you were born, then life becomes an experiment and the truth about experiments is that they can go any which way. Without purpose, you are vulnerable. The greatest danger of this is that you will become opportunity-driven rather than purpose-driven.
The second of the Big 4 is, “Where are you going?” How will you know you have succeeded? Vision gives you clarity with regard to the end picture. If you have answered the first question correctly then your vision should align with your purpose. What a disaster it will be if you have a vision that runs contrary to the reason for which you were born.
Mine is to transform Africa, one mind at a time. Every vision I have is measured against this purpose. In all that I do, the vision is constant; that anyone who comes in contact with me must have a before and after story with regards to how they think and see the world, and Africa specifically.
The third question is the North Star, which represents the non-negotiables of life. Without this understanding, people latch onto any opportunity that seems to take them towards their vision yet, it might be the very reason other things suffer in their lives.
The North Star
My North Star statement is to live a life pleasing to God, to have a family guided by love, and to live a life that impacts my world and gives me a name and the financial capacity to live my life on my own terms.
This simple statement serves as a filter for every seeming opportunity coming my way. Will it be pleasing to God? Contribute to my family’s harmony? Afford me a platform to impact the world? Boost my financial capacity and give me the freedom to live life on my own terms?
Without a North Star, it is easy to make decisions only based on financial implications of opportunity but with a North Star, you take opportunity through vetting. This will save you from a lot of trouble and regret later in life.
Finally, why are you doing what you are doing? Adversity will undoubtedly show its face and stumbling blocks emerge, forcing you to consider abandoning ship. The one thing that always overrides logic is motive. The thief that goes to steal knows that if he is caught, he will end up in a lot of trouble.
However, motive overrides logic. Motive gives a level of boldness. Boldness is what happens when you have found reasons greater than your fears and this is what motive does to people. It is what will keep you going even when it looks like there is no reason to keep going. It is the “Why” of the things you do.
I defined my “why” in very simple terms. I do what I do because if I don’t, my life will have been a failure, for which I will have to give account to God.
A mentor of mine had done so well in life and successful by every measurable standard. When he turned 60, he was confronted with the question of purpose and finally understood the reason for which he was born.
At almost 90 years today, he says the discovery of purpose helped him know what to focus on for the rest of his life. Purpose gives direction to success and shows enthusiasm on the way to go.