Last week I wrote about three steps to discover your purpose. But what happens when you find your calling? How do you go about building your dream, making an impact and changing your life and the lives of others?
Bringing a dream to reality is not easy. We think the discovery part is hard until we realize we have to actually begin the work. Often the thing that we feel called to is difficult and pushes us out of our comfort zone.
Following a calling is simple, but not easy. The path we need to take is usually right in front of us, but those first few steps are hard. So what do we do? I found myself in this place recently. Like many of you, I found a calling in work I do outside of my day job, making time my greatest challenge.
I had just come off of a busy time in life, finishing an MBA and tackling a huge project at work. I had not been able to put much time into Driven Life and was anxious to get back to it. The semester ended and my evenings freed up. My thoughts of building new resources, taking on additional clients and writing new blog posts vaporized as I went on a two week Netflix binge. While Stranger Things was indeed pretty epic, I had to get focused.
You may be in this situation right now. While it may not be completely clear, you have an idea of what you need to do to start but are having trouble finding the time. So how do you avoid the less important things that steal your time? How do you overcome the desire to continue to plan and tweak ideas vs. starting and then learning along the way?
Have you ever decided to lose weight or become serious about training? Normally the first thing a coach will want to know is what you are eating. They will ask you to keep a meal log, tracking the food you eat for the purpose of making sure you are getting the proper amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. It's the basic idea that you cannot begin to build toward something from a poor foundation. Preparing to pursue your calling requires the same foundational approach.
I want to share a worksheet I built that is a simple "daily time inventory". It's like a meal tracker, but instead of food, I'm asking you to take an inventory of your time. Think of your calling like a marathon and your time as the food to fuel your effort.
Is how you spend your time making your dream stronger? Or are you consuming too much of the sugary sweet (aka easy) stuff that only serves to weaken or postpone your dream?
I'm going to challenge you to download the worksheet and fill it out every day for one week.
- Print it out and mark the day of the week at the top of each page
- List the activities you did morning, afternoon and evening
- Reflect on three questions about your day in the summary section
- Add up the number of hours you spent "on purpose" - working toward your dream
- Summarize your results at the end of the week
Be honest. If the ESPN gods pulled you in or the Bachelor was just too hard to resist, notate it. After one week, see where most of your time went. Just like a meal chart quickly shows nutritional deficiencies, how you consume time will also show what you can change to be stronger.
Like a well-balanced diet, the goal is not to figure out how to spend every moment working, but rather, to make sure some of your time each day is spent moving your dreams forward.
I can assure you there are people out there waiting for what you have to offer. Distractions are the world's way of suppressing your gift. Refuse to allow your dreams to pass you by. Take the first step today of making an inventory of your time and then get up every day and make an effort to be more intentional.
Just like eating a little better can have a huge positive impact on your athletic performance, allocating just a few hours a week can go a long way to bringing your dreams to reality!