Hello, my friends.
I have a pretty provocative question that you may understand right off the bat, or maybe it requires a little bit of explanation.
Here’s the question: “Has your day come?”
What do I mean by that? Does that mean, “Has your ship come in?” or “Have you hit the lottery?” or “Have you met the person of your dreams?”
It could mean any of those things. If that’s what it means to you, terrific.
But what I’m referring to is actually one of the most profound lessons I’ve ever learned from my friend and business partner, John Maxwell. He said, “The two most important days in any person’s life are the day you’re born and the day you find out why.”
Now some people will roll their eyes and say it is pop psychology, or that it is trite. It is anything but that to me. It’s profound. It’s meaningful. It separates people who reach the end of their lives full of regret and “woulda, coulda, shoulda” sadness – from those that reach the end of their lives, not necessarily happy that their life is ending, but full of satisfaction. They are full of joy. They are full of happiness about who they were during their lifetime…who they touched, what they did, what they experienced, the successes they achieved, the failures they endured, and the lessons they extracted from those failures.
When I say, “Has your day come?” I am asking about those two days.
Obviously, you were born. So, day one, check the box. Wonderful. You can’t get to day anything until you get to day one.
What about day two? Have you discovered why? Have you discovered your purpose?
I just returned from a trade show, where I got to witness literally thousands of people. I didn’t speak to all of them – I’m not going to exaggerate – but by and large, it was obvious the people in the room were living their purpose. It was in the fitness industry.
It is not an industry I know very much about. I certainly don’t participate in that industry. But when I spoke to people about what they did, how they did it, and how they found it, there was a recurring theme that was unmistakable.
It was, “I did X, but then I discovered Y.”
“Y” for these people had something to do with the fitness industry, whether their own physical fitness or helping others with their fitness, or products or services associated with a healthy diet, exercise, and nutrition, staying active emotionally, physically, mentally…you name it…all of the ways we can stay healthy.
It was quite remarkable, almost funny to me. Conversation after conversation followed the same pattern. For each of these people, either from a very early age or at some other time of their life, the light went on. And they said, “This is what I was born to do. I would do it for free, but I have to pay my bills, so I found a way to make money doing something that I love.”
Don’t settle in your life. Maybe you have studied something for years, thinking it was what you always wanted to be – and then you became that thing. But then you discovered, much to your chagrin, it’s not really what you thought it was going to be. Or perhaps you changed, or it has changed, or the circumstances have changed. But for some reason, you are just not liking it the way you thought you would.
Well, guess what?
You can act now!
It is always the right time to make the right decision. I use this example in live talks on a regular basis. If you are familiar with the United States, you know that New York is in the east, Los Angeles is in west, and Chicago is near the middle. Imagine if you were in Chicago, and I asked you to deliver a package by car to someone in New York. For some reason, you started driving west from Chicago. And you drove west for two days. You were making great time – you were almost to Los Angeles – and you and I spoke on the phone, and I said, “Well, how far are you?”
And you say, “Oh, I’m a hundred miles from LA.”
“You’re a hundred miles from Los Angeles!? You were supposed to drive east to New York.”
This is a silly example, but it’s a metaphor. Imagine your shame. Imagine your embarrassment when you realize you are driving to the wrong city. Let’s further imagine I say, “Listen, it is okay. We still need the package to get to New York City.”
You can’t mail it there. It’s too big. So you are driving.
Here’s the question…are you going to finish the journey to Los Angeles, which is the wrong destination, in the interest of being “productive”? Are you going to be thinking, “Man, I’m making such good time toward the wrong destination?”
Or are you instead going to turn around and go in the right direction at that very moment?
It is a metaphor for your life. Don’t settle.
Don’t use a sunk cost analysis of how much time you’ve already put into a particular direction, location, or lifestyle that no longer serves you. You only get this one life.
Don’t settle for anything less than what drives your engine, fuels you, gives you great joy, and provides a sense of self-actualization or sense of living your purpose. When you are living your purpose, there is a bounce in your step. There’s an ease in your attitude. There’s very little stress associated with it.
This article and video is either going to make you say, “Well, sure, Ed, I’ve got it. I agree. I found it. I found it early on (or I found it late in life).” Or else it is going to bug you because you’re going to know that you have settled.
This is a tough conversation. I’ve had executive coaching clients who have made significant changes in their lives, in part, because of their answers to these questions. When they truly took the time to reflect on what brings them joy, what brings them satisfaction, what brings them a sense of being the best that they can be; they realized their day had come to make a change.
They discovered what it was, but they had let it pass on by. And they knew that if they didn’t take action right away, they were going to reach the end of their lives, full of regret: “If I had only…if I had only had the courage; if I had only taken the time…”
I am not suggesting these are easy things to do. They’re often quite complicated and require significant effort over an extended period of time. But what better reason to spend a significant amount of effort over a significant amount time than to live your purpose?
Wherever you are, I hope that you are living your purpose and making the most of your day!