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Set a Clear Path in a Worthwhile Direction

By John C. Maxwell | January 8, 2019
Set a Clear Path in a Worthwhile Direction

Like everyone else who blogs, I thought January would be a great time to share a post that will help you set your course for the coming year. But while others write of “must-dos” and “should-dos”, I’d like to encourage you to consider something different.


As in, What are you meant to do?

It’s an out-of-the-box question for the first post of the new year, but it’s one that’s vitally important to everything else you have planned for 2019. You see, resolutions aren’t worth much if they don’t move you closer to what you’re meant to be doing.

I believe wholeheartedly that human beings are intended to live for a purpose—that every person who walks this earth is here for a reason.

Because I’m a person of faith, I believe God creates us all with a specific calling. My calling is to add value to leaders who multiply value to others. I’ve known this since I was 29 years old, and it’s shaped the substance and direction of my adult life.

But even if you’re not a person of faith, the idea of a calling shouldn’t feel unfamiliar, especially for leaders. Leaders have a pull towards something bigger than themselves—a sense that there’s more to be discovered.

Author Richard Lieder, who founded Inventure, offers a great definition of a calling:

“There is a raw self within each of us, too, that is our seed of destiny. Like acorns, we are oaks-in-waiting, raw potential waiting to find our calling. At the core of our destiny lies the necessity of choice, the potential to choose to become something that has never existed before. When we fail to express our embedded gifts, we starve our seed of destiny…A calling is the urge to give our gifts away.”

In my new book, Leadershift: 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace, I devote the final chapter to the shift from career to calling. Everyone has a calling—a gift to give to the world—and the day you discover your calling is among the greatest days in a person’s life.

While the book has a lot more to say on this topic, I want to share with you one of the simplest ideas on how to begin living out your calling.

If you want to make 2019 the year you discover and live out your calling, set a clear path in a worthwhile direction.

There are plenty of worthwhile directions to be found. All you need to do is look at the world around you.

You are surrounded by people who need help, people who need encouragement, people who need someone to show them a better way. You can lend your voice to the voiceless or bring clarity to confusion but do something. The key to discovering your calling is action that benefits others.

That’s because our lives aren’t meant for just ourselves. We are all made to add value to the people around us, to serve through our giftedness. You see, a calling is discovered over time, and leaders flesh it out as they serve and learn and grow.

But that movement—that growth—is essential.

One of the paradoxes of life is that you must follow your calling with clarity and purpose—all while living with uncertainty. Too often, people think they have to have it all figured out before they can live a life of calling and purpose.

The truth is, you don’t have to have all the answers. But you do have to act.

Your cannot choose where your life will end up. But you can determine the direction you take today.

So set a clear path in a worthwhile direction.

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