The world we live in welcomes us by giving us its agenda for our lives, and we spend the majority of the remainder of our lives in search of –or reclaiming– our own sense of purpose and direction. Often we are “gifted” with opportunity that doesn’t match our aspiration and we climb ladders that we ought not have climbed, only to arrive at the top of said ladder realizing we despise both the climb and the view from the top. I’m learning that it doesn’t have to be that way, and that there’s always a way back to our own “true north.”
“Welcome to the real world”, she said to me
Take a seat
Take your life
Plot it out in black and white
Well I never lived the dreams of the prom kings
And the drama queens
I’d like to think the best of me
Is still hiding
Up my sleeve”
My high school counselor told me that my grade didn’t warrant an upscale college education and that I should consider work in the service arena. Ironically, my teachers said different things to me. Mr. Hall, my 7th grade English teacher, once told me –in front of my parents no less–that if I ever applied myself that I could “blow the lid off” my high school. Something in me believed that, but a greater part of me doubted. Like many of my generation, I grew up knowing I could do anything, but was short on definiteness of purpose. I didn’t have my own agenda for my life. Despite a strong gift in technology, arts and music my father advised me to go into business management. It took years for me to carve out my own understanding and expression of whom I am and what I have to offer the planet. Today my generation is coming into its own with a fierce sense of focus and determination that defies the psychographics of my high school days. We found our place in the world in the arts, music, technology, science and other world-changing contributions. Generation X is now seen as the extraordinary generation. The experts said we didn’t have hope, but as it turns out, hopefulness drove our collective agenda.
“They love to tell you
Stay inside the lines
But something’s better
On the other side”
So what is your agenda? Do you know the specific contribution you want to make in the world? Is there a passion to serve, help, teach, govern, and lead? Was there a fire in you long ago that was extinguished by some well-meaning teacher, parent, and authority figure? It’s still burning. It still burns in you and you know it. Every time you see your dream on television, or on a billboard, or on a city street or observe someone else living your dream. You know that fire well. You need to get back to that fire.
The agenda is your NOW will and testament. ; Your template for living fully and the guardrails for your drive through life. Without an agenda you will end up everywhere you don’t want to be; WITH an agenda you will always be on purpose.
“I wanna run through the halls of my high school
I wanna scream at the
Top of my lungs
I just found out there’s no such thing as the real world
Just a lie you’ve got to rise above”
So how do you excavate your agenda? It comes down to self-awareness. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teen or a senior– you’ll be pressured to follow the conventions and belief systems of your predecessors–but I advise that you do the following:
- Get to know yourself again. Just like the college debt you may incur in your pursuit of knowledge and preparation–your future will be your responsibility and no one else’s.
- Get involved in areas of interest and find out what you LOVE to do.
- Look for opportunities to serve and collaborate and lead others.
- Remove money from your analysis–deliberately create value from your talents instead. Value attracts money.
- Find something to do that feels like play but results in great service to the world.
- As Stephen Covey teaches, begin with the end in mind. Do everything with specific intent. Understand your choices.
Armed with your own agenda for life, the circumstances that come to you will make no difference. You may have to adapt your plans–keep them flexible–but your agenda will inform your actions and help you say no to good things and make room for great things. It is your definiteness of purpose that will compel the universe to join you n the creation of the life you imagine.
“I just can’t wait til my 10 year reunion
I’m gonna bust down the double doors
And when I stand on these tables before you
You will know what all this time was for”
(No Such thing, John Mayer)
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Perennial WisdomTry not to become a man of success but a man of value.
“Kevin is an awesome coach and facilitator! He has a gift for helping others to break through barriers.”
— Talayah Stovall, Chicago, IL
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