Starting your day with a purpose. That sounds simple enough. For most people, this involves waking up, following their normal daily routine, and grinding through the typical 8-5 work week. Then on Friday, at exactly 5:00 p.m., it’s here – the weekend! Sleeping in, cheat meals for every meal, Netflix season marathons, and yet another routine. You know what I am talking about, and know that at some point in your life, you have probably found yourself in the exact same position. It’s hard to imagine, but I found myself in this same position 5 years ago.
Prior to becoming a Doctor, I worked as a highway construction project manager. Hard to imagine, right? Dr. Kramer standing on the side of the highway, orchestrating rebar deliveries to build massive bridges, managing a dirt crew responsible for moving 1 million tons of dirt, and ensuring that the general construction of the highway was progressing forward. It was a great life. My family made great money, we had a small savings building up, our bills were paid, and we were afforded the lifestyle that many people would envy. However, deep inside, I found that I was continually bored at work, and found myself searching for more. I found myself reflecting more frequently on questions such as: “Is this all there is to life?” “This project is going to end – where will my company move me and my family?” “Is this the legacy I am going to leave?”
These questions helped ignite a new type of life. One filled with purpose. Now, let me back up here for a second. The typical job is a great opportunity for a family to make a fabulous living and leave a lasting impact on this planet. There are many people in the workforce who are afforded amazing opportunities through pursuit of a specific career. The difference? They have found a way to live their day with purpose.
You might be scratching your head at this point saying to yourself, “Alright Dr. Kramer, what do you mean living with purpose?” To best illustrate what I mean by purpose, I turn to Hannah Senesh (a WWII hero). She states in her diary, “One needs something to believe in, something for which one can have whole-hearted enthusiasm. One needs to feel that one’s life has meaning, that one is needed in this world.” YOU need to have meaning. YOU are needed in this world.
Five years ago, I was struggling with finding purpose. I was reflecting on the exact questions that the great men and women of history reflected upon at one point in their lives. The questions that caused great action and sacrifice in searching for purpose, pursuing purpose, and ultimately finding purpose, because they knew their lives would be incomplete without it. Five years ago, my wife and I made the commitment to each other that we would no longer replace the pursuit of something worthy in life with some kind of pleasure. I’m not saying that pleasure is a bad thing; however, if the sole pursuit of life lies in pleasure, where is one’s sense of purpose, of feeling needed in this world?
Our CEO, Dr. Shawn Dill, continually stresses to us, “There is no glory in the grind.” If you find yourself in the same position, and are struggling with finding purpose in your life, there are a few tools I have learned over the course of the last 5 years that can help you focus on achieving your purpose.
- Start with the vision. I have found that through clearly defining your vision, you begin to better understand your purpose. A great exercise to help facilitate the process of building a vision is to grab a blank piece of paper and a pen, set a timer for 5:00, and write down everything you want in your life. The sky’s the limit here. Once you have completed the 5:00 task, pick the one thing on that list that will have the most impact in your life, and reverse the process of how to get there. If the most important thing on the list is to be a professional athlete, I’d imagine that you would have to map out your daily, weekly, and monthly goals not only for practicing the sport, but also with regards to diet, sleep regimens, recovery processes, and even mental training. This process may seem awkward at first, but the more you practice, the more clear your vision becomes, and the better you will be able to see purpose in your life.
- Keep a daily journal. Journaling is a great way to look back over your day and review where your vision is taking place. It is also a great way to re-orient yourself when you get off path. Keep in mind that the vision can change to better align with the purpose of your life. Many people will need you, and provide for you the false sense that you are being purposeful; however, make sure that you protect your vision and maintain focus on fulfilling YOUR purpose, not theirs.
- Focus on what you are achieving. The road to living a purposeful life isn’t necessarily easy, but it is rewarding. When you feel as though your purpose is lost, and you start focusing on what you aren’t doing, STOP. PAUSE. BREATH. Now, direct your thoughts on what YOU ARE doing, and how it is helping you with achieving purpose.
These three tools have helped me tremendously in finding my purpose, as well as helping me be clear about who I am and what I stand for. They have helped me direct my time and energy towards achieving my vision for myself and my family. They have helped me wake up each and every day with a purpose, because I have clarity on my vision, I have direction with where I am going, and I know that it will leave a lasting impact on this planet.
Now it’s your turn. Define your vision. Draw your road map. Keep a diary to help you stay on point. Live each and every day with purpose. Remember YOU have meaning. YOU are needed.