PurposePursuit

INTEGRITY

Integrity copy

There is a story I read recently about the man Henry Heinz. He started a business selling horse-radish, but in 1875, a national financial collapse drove the young company into bankruptcy. Despite the legal freedom bankruptcy gave him, Heinz regarded each of the company’s outstanding debt as a moral obligation and personally paid back every penny. He later went on to found the H.J. Heinz Company with its 57 varieties and became a leading American businessman. A devout Christian, he was known for the generous treatment of his employees and his generosity to Christian causes and throughout his life, Heinz conducted his business and personal dealings with the same integrity that led him to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars he technically did not owe.

Heinz’ story illustrates how important a man’s integrity is to the kind of impact his life will be known for. Indeed, the quality of the impact of your purpose pursuit will ultimately be defined along the lines of your integrity, competence and charisma. So, I’ll like to share some thoughts on how you can become a person of integrity. The list is not exhaustive. I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me when you finish reading mine.

  1. MEAN WHAT YOU SAY AND SAY WHAT YOU MEAN

One of the fastest ways to demonstrate your integrity or lack of it, is by things you say, the promises you make and the commitment you pledge yourself to. So, to develop a reputation of integrity you may want to adopt the James Solution: To be quick to listen and slow to speak. Think very hard before you make any promises knowing that your integrity is at stake and it is easy to lose. Don’t make any promises you don’t intend to keep and count the cost of every commitment before you use your tongue to break your hand.

  1. LIVE BY PRINCIPLES NOT FEELINGS

People who have committed themselves to the ideals of sexual purity are able to keep up with the integrity of their positions because they are committed to principles and not how they feel. Most sexual purity advocates can tell you about how sometimes their feelings go wild, yet they keep them under because they live by principles not feelings. Same goes for people who are punctual to every meeting. They certainly don’t always feel like getting out of bed, but they realize that time is the currency of life and they live by this principle always. The reason why many people lack a reputation of integrity is because they lack any form of creed by why which they live their lives. If you have not identified your core values and life principles by which your life will be guided, it may be difficult to become a person of integrity.

  1. WALK WITH PEOPLE WHO MODEL INTEGRITY

Integrity like every virtue, can be imparted by the act of modelling. If you walk with the wise, their wisdom will rub off on you. If you walk with people of integrity, their integrity will subconsciously become your aspiration and then your reality. So, identify people in your circle of influence who have demonstrated a record of unflinching commitment to integrity and intentionally commit yourself to stay round them more often. You can easily tell people who have integrity by paying attention to points 1 and 2 above, check if their words mean the world to them and if they walk by principles and not how they feel.

I’ll close with these words of former American President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. They have inspired my commitment to a life of integrity, I hope they do so for you too.

“If a man’s associates find him guilty of phoniness, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. A leader’s first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.”

Blessed? Let me know in the comment section.

Today and always, I call you blessed!

PurposePursuit

ATTITUDE

Attitude copy
Background image by Viviane Berty via flickr.com

There is a story about how the noted English architect, Sir Christopher Wren was supervising the construction of a magnificent cathedral in London. A journalist thought it would be interesting to interview some of the workers, so he chose three and asked them this question, “What are you doing?” The first replied, “I’m cutting stone for 10 shillings a day.” The next answered, “I’m putting in 10 hours a day on this job.” But the third said, “I’m helping Sir Christopher Wren construct one of London’s greatest cathedrals.”

Do you see how attitude can make the most difference in how we assess our experiential realities? The three workers were doing the same thing yet they approached the work differently. The three workers were doing the same thing but because of the difference in their attitude you can expect a difference in their outputs. Attitude may not be the most important determinant of success, it is however, an important factor- important enough to make all the difference.

When I think about how attitude is important in our pursuit of purpose, the story of Paul always comes to mind. The book of Acts chronicles stories of different occasions of persecution and pain to which the Apostle was subjected to. Yet, in all of his letters, Paul communicated a joyful attitude that I believe is worthy of emulation. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul repeatedly instructs his readers to rejoice and be thankful. (Phil. 4:4) This was despite the fact that he himself was in prison when he wrote the letter.  Somehow, the Apostle had learnt to choose joy in every situation. He had learnt to cultivate an attitude that does not depend on any external factor. I love what Viktor Frankl said that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: To choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.  I am certain the Apostle understood this and every single time, he chose a joyful attitude over despair, love over hate and grace over bitterness.

Of course, having the right attitude is not only about being joyful when things are not very comfortable. It is important to maintain the right attitude irrespective of times and seasons. Apostle James espouses that the right attitude is always a function of the right knowledge. (James 1:2-3) When we have become convinced about who God is and what He has undertaken to achieve through us, an attitude of hope, joy and delight is stirred in us because of the beauty of that knowledge.

I’ll like to close with the story told by Harry Emerson Fosdick about how as a child, his mother sent him to pick a quart of raspberries. Reluctantly he dragged himself to the berry patch. His afternoon was ruined for sure. Then a thought hit him. He would surprise his mother and pick two quarts of raspberries instead of one. Rather than drudgery his work now became a challenge. He began to enjoy picking those raspberries not because the job had changed but because his attitude had. We too can have a tremendous increase in the output of our pursuits of purpose if we cultivate the right attitude by thinking positively, keeping company with people with the right convictions and living our lives based on the changeless truth of God’s Word rather the ever-changing circumstances in our environment.

God is helping us. Amen.

Blessed? Let me hear your thoughts in the Comments Section and don’t forget to share this post with people in your tribe so they can be blessed too.

You matter to me always.

JustPurpose

THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY?

thank God

I had a discussion with some friends some days ago about how our jobs may be keeping us from doing the things we are very passionate about. It became clear to us that sometimes all that a job does for you is to keep you from working. Does that not sound interesting? Is there a difference between your job and your work?

Have you ever heard speakers say if you look forward to Friday in your current workplace, you need to find a new job? I have read many stories of people who left their jobs because they felt it was not expressing their passions. The story of a young man who resigned from his six figures paying job to pursue his dreams readily comes to mind. He soon found out that life was not as easy as he thought and that people who stay stuck in an unfulfilling job do so for good reason which is that it puts food on their table and helps them keep body and soul together.

So, I’ll like to share some thoughts on this issue. If you feel stuck in your current job, I hope these thoughts help you find clarity and begin to live fully and well.

  1. UNDERSTANDING THE WORK-JOB DICHOTOMY

There is a difference between your job and your work. Some of us are blessed to find both in one preoccupation. Your job is what you do to keep you busy and meet your physical needs. Apostle Paul suggested that anyone who used to steal before they got saved, should go get a job so they can earn a living to be able to serve others. Paul himself was a tentmaker. So, your job is how you earn your survival. Your work on the other hand is the God-intended medium by which you were planned to live fully and maximise your life. Your work is how you interact with your domain of impact and advance God’s Kingdom on earth. The purpose of your job is so you can earn. The purpose of your work is so you can live.

  1. EARNING OR LIVING: WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT?

I have established that there is a difference between your job and your work. Your job gives you a source of earning, your work gives you a source of living. Now, many people never get to decide which is more important to them. The society already configures us to run after earning rather than living. Do you eat to live or live to eat? Why do we eat if not to have strength to live and live well? Why should you earn at all if that would not help you sustain a meaningful existence? So, you see, you were planned to live fully not just survive. You were made for more. And in the final analysis, the more you were created for isn’t first a function of how much you earn but how well you live.

  1. FINDING THE MEETING POINT

I believe one of the keys to a fulfilling life is to find the meeting point between how you earn for survival and how you really live. One, your job may be flexible enough to accommodate your engagement with your life work. In this case, your job may serve as financier for your life assignment. This was the case for Apostle Paul. As a tentmaker, he was able to earn enough to sustain his missionary activities in addition to donations and contributions from other co-workers in the ministry. Two, your job may be an expression of your work. I am a lawyer. My legal practice puts food on my table. However, it does more than that. I believe God has called me to eradicate crime from our society by bringing the message of purpose into the criminal justice system of our society. Three, your work can become your job. There is a way you can monetize your work so that it does more than expressing your passions, it also becomes a source of income. The idea of course isn’t to make your pursuit of purpose about your making money, but as you do purpose, you create value people can pay for and as they do so, you earn.

I believe it is because most people do not understand the work-job dichotomy that they are stuck and unhappy in their jobs. That is why we have people who earn so much but are so unhappy. They feel stuck in between the need to make ends meet and live fulfilling lives. But this does not have to be the case. If you first of all believe that your life serves a purpose greater than what you earn, then you can find the courage to admit the meeting point. Before you leave your job in the pursuit of your dreams, you must be sure to make plans for your transition because you understand that you have to be alive to live. Whether or not you look forward to every Friday of the week really isn’t as important as whether you are truly deriving the satisfaction you were planned to derive from your life and whether, you are living in such a way that society can be overflowing in gratitude to God for your existence.

Blessed? Let me hear your thoughts in the comment section.

You matter to me always.