July 04, 2010

But how can I be sure?

The other day, a good friend of mine asked me how a person can be certain that they are doing the work that they have been uniquely designed for. Having read a multitude of books on personal growth, leadership, and making a difference, I naturally felt that I was informed enough to field this question.

My response to him was this:
  • Listen to the whispers that are calling to you, keeping in mind that the distractions that seek to prevent you from doing what you have been designed for are in your face and screaming for your attention.
  • Try doing many different things often until you find what you love to do. The key to this is failing fast and often until you find what works.
  • Focus on doing what you are best at, and manage your weaknesses.
From a textbook perspective, I get this and it makes perfect sense. However, as is often the case, reality proves to be much more different than theory. Application is all that really matters.

The short and honest truth is that you can't fully know that what you are doing is what you have been designed for. This is where that component of faith and trust becomes imperative. You can chase what you think you have been designed for, but if your focus is not on the one that knows best, your chasing is meaningless.

From my experience, here are a few things that I have found to be fairly good indicators of being on the right path:
  1. The path looks impassable, impossible, scary, and lonely. Just thinking about what might happen is usually enough to prevent even the bravest of souls from taking the first step.
  2. Once you decide to take the first step, everyone calls you crazy and will try to talk some sense into you. Most of the time, doing what you have been designed for looks foolish and impractical. Oddly enough, it is often the foolish and impractical that makes the greatest impact.
  3. You know that you're doing the right things when time ceases to have meaning. Hours pass in what feels like mere minutes; Days in what feels like hours.
What are some other ways that we can have an idea that we are doing the right things?

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