I found my purpose beyond the pages.

I found my purpose beyond the pages.

The following post is the epilogue to my new book, A Story on Purpose. You don't need to have read the book to draw meaning from this post.

Today is a special day. My second-born son turns two today, and while his birth was a bit dramatic, I wouldn't change any of it. We are shaped by our experiences.

We were shaped by this one.

Life tends to throw stuff at us. Life is constantly catching curveballs and finding a way to throw them back.

That’s what Stoic Epictetus meant when he said, “Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own.”

Taking responsibility for our choices is not easy. If that were the case, I would tell people to read this book and the world’s problems would be solved. Managing life’s choices is about as easy as not getting stabbed by a rosebush while searching for an overthrown ball. Despite your best efforts, you always walk away with drawn blood and sometimes no ball in hand.

Purpose is not something you can only imagine.

Rather, it’s something you can appreciate and fulfill in your life. It’s tough, but it’s not impossible. With the concerted focus on three areas detailed out in this book—reframing our fears, managing our thoughts, and modifying our behavior—we can become ball-recoverers, rose appreciators, and choice dominators. That is not empty motivation or dull self-help talk. That is a call to action to take 100-percent responsibility for your life, recognizing that while you can never control events, you can leverage them in your response.

This book can serve as a field guide on how to take steps toward a life of purpose.

It’s November 1st, and at the moment of writing this paragraph, I’m sitting in a hospital room with a recovering warrior (my wife) and a little “squeaks” (my newborn son). We were rushed here with blaring horns and flashing lights after my wife went into labor with a placenta previa. For those not savvy of medical jargon, labor and placenta previa do not like one another.

Translation: life threw us a curveball this morning, and now, more than ever, I recognize that life is unpredictable. Regardless, our response should be described as something other than a wrecking ball swinging from one extreme to the other.

Instead, think of life as a tightrope. The tightrope walker is in a constant state of balance but is never balanced. Similarly, your life must consist of subtle shifts to keep you upright and on the tightrope.

Let go of the need to feel that life needs to give you a break—because it won’t. Focus on the present moment and the good that is in the world.

I wrote these Principles because I know what it means to be paralyzed with fear—fear that I will never amount to anything or that all my closest friends will not find me good enough; fear that I’ll botch it as a parent, that my sons will make choices I don’t understand; fear of the world changing too fast for me to keep up; fear of missing too many good opportunities; fear of being alone or rejected by those who love me most because of my brokenness and failures; fear of uncertainty of the direction of my life and whether I’m doing everything in my power to do the right thing; fear of bad things happening to my family or me; fear of getting hurt, handicapped, or mentally broken; fear of being judged for my accomplishments; fear of being judged for my inadequacies; fear of being fired; fear of letting others down; fear of being disappointed in my life when I grow old; fear of death.

I know it doesn’t always make sense, but fear is reasonable.

As Steven Pressfield says, “Fear tells us what we have to do.” These Principles, which have resurrected me from my paralyzing fear, were not born into my mind. Instead, they were infused by those who have directly or indirectly influenced me.

While I never had a mentor who fits the mold of Don, I have gleaned from the wisdom of numerous men and women, both those I know personally and others I have never met but whose work I admire.

Here is a list of books and authors that have directly influenced the content of this book:

  • The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield
  • Soundtracks, by Jon Acuff
  • Energy Bus, by Jon Gordon
  • The Power of One More, by Ed Mylett
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
  • When Everything's On Fire, by Brian Zahnd
  • Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems before They Happen, by Dan Heath
  • Can’t Hurt Me, by David Goggins
  • Good to Great, by Jim Collins
  • The Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy
  • The Ride of a Lifetime, by Robert Iger
  • The 5 AM Club, by Robin Sharma
  • Water from a Deep Well, by Gerald Lawson Sittser
  • Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace, by Gordon MacKenzie
  • The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
  • Atomic Habits, by James Clear
  • Deep Work, by Cal Newport
  • Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill
  • The Obstacle Is The Way, by Ryan Holiday

You get the idea. There are a lot of great books out there to read, but this should be a starting point for you if you desire to execute these Principles with power and clarity in your life.

I pray that you live out the life you were designed and destined to live, that you feel surrounded by a great witness of people (afar and close by) pushing you closer toward your purpose. I pray God makes clear the actual image in which you were made.

You were designed for greatness—I know this because you were created in the image of God. You were formed in the likeness of Jesus, who lived the ultimate life of purpose and greatness that should be modeled. 

I hope this book helps you live your story on purpose.