I believe that our personal and professional lives must be supported by four pillars which provide long-lasting strength and support, during both sunny and stormy seasons. With these four principles to guide us, we remain grounded in what God is doing in us and through us, and we have greater contentment and joy knowing that we are living in alignment with His plan. If any one of these pillars becomes weak, then we experience frustration, stress and even depression.
Pillar #1: Preciousness
You were created as a precious child of God. Psalm 139:13-16 in The Message says this:
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
Did you get that? You were sculpted into a beautiful masterpiece by the Creator himself! As you were being “marvelously” created, God put within your DNA a set of gifts, values and personality traits that make you uniquely you, and set you on a journey that He designed to support His divine plan for the world. He gave you just what you needed for your journey, and He didn’t give you what you didn’t need as well!
Unfortunately, our humanness gets in the way all too often, and we let perfectionism, comparing ourselves to others, fear and self-doubt cloud our perception of our value. The pillar of preciousness must be shored up to preserve our emotional and physical strength, and to give us a clear picture of who we are in Christ, which is all that really matters in the grand scheme of things. Acknowledging that you are enough, just as you are, and fully equipped to live out your purpose will release you from the never-ending race to be more and do more, so you can focus on being the best version of yourself instead of someone else.
How does embracing your preciousness impact your career? Embracing your immense, unique value and having a clear picture of your innate gifts, strengths and skills helps you discern your career path. It keeps you from constantly comparing your success to that of others, and gives you the freedom to be authentic and approachable. It allows you to strive for excellence over perfection, which in turn reduces stress and anxiety. It gives you the confidence to be bold about your value as you “sell yourself” to a client or potential boss, and to know if they are a good fit for you.
Pillar #2: Purpose
Each of us was lovingly created with a purpose to fulfill, and equipped to live according to that calling with the “preciousness” I have described. In 1 Corinthians 12, we are told that each of us has a job to do as part of the body of Christ, and no part is less than the others. As you live out your purpose, you support and bring life to the body as a whole, empowered through the Spirit for the common good. Your service through living your purpose honors God’s creation and is essential for His magnificent plan to succeed.
Once you know your gifts, you are supposed to use them not sit on them! Matthew 5:14-16 give us this command:
“ Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” MSG
Pinpointing your gifts, values and unique skills, then using that insight to identify your life purpose statement will enable you to truly shine! It’s what you were created to do, so rejoice in knowing these things, and embrace your purpose as you turn up your personal brilliance.
How does knowing your life’s purpose affect your life and your career? Your life purpose statement is like your GPS, pointing the way to reach your God-designed potential. It provides clarity in making decisions, confidence in taking risks and excitement as you dream bigger dreams. Your life purpose stirs your passion, ignites your energy and deepens your faith. And it gives you peace in knowing that God has everything planned out for you, so all you have to do is hold His hand as you soar to places beyond your own imagination. It is who you are at your very core, who you are destined to be.
When you are an entrepreneur, your personal life purpose statement is the foundation for the mission for your business. After all, your business is just an extension of who you are, what you are passionate about and how you serve others as you honor God.
For example, my purpose is “to inspire joy by reflecting Christ,” and I have been doing that all my life in different ways as a mother, volunteer and now a coach and mentor. The mission for The Flourishing Life is “to inspire and equip women to flourish, inside and out,” which fulfills my life’s purpose as I guide others to live, lead and succeed with purpose, letting their true God-given brilliance shine.
Pillar #3: Plan
When you have confident strength in your preciousness and your purpose, you can more easily create a strategic plan to navigate your ideal future. This plan is like your detailed road map that will keep you on track, doing the things that support your purpose instead of driving in circles or taking unnecessary detours, ultimately saving you from wasting time, energy and resources. Your plan will reduce your overwhelm, as you have clearly defined goals that are broken down into small manageable steps. And it will give you the tools to overcome the obstacles that get in your way.
Motivational Speaker Les Brown says, “ If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.”
And one of my favorite quotes is by Jim Rohn: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
The Bible even promotes goal setting! Proverbs 21:5 says “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” In Proverbs 6, we are instructed to learn from the ant, who stores food for the future without being told to do so. And 2 Chronicles, 15:7 tells us “But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”
When you have a strategic plan that is tied to your purpose, you have a means to achieve your heart’s desires (which are planted there by God!). Whether it is advancing in your current career, starting your own business or anticipating retirement, your “dream destination” is within your reach as you move forward, step-by-step, keeping your eyes on Him. Yes, He has designed your life’s journey, but you must move your feet to fulfill your destiny!
Pillar #4 Praise!
When I was at a one-day VIP retreat with my coach Joy Chudacoff, she was guiding me through some deep reflection as I was experiencing a “shift” toward taking a stand as a Christian coach. We had discussed my core principles as the “three pillars,” and suddenly I could feel God’s presence moving through me and overflowing with a fourth and essential pillar for success: praise. Your preciousness, purpose and plan were all masterfully created by God, and it is vital to recognize His hand in your life’s journey.
Praise God for so lovingly creating you with hand-picked gifts, values, skills and personality traits that make you unlike anyone who has ever lived or who will ever walk this earth. Praise Him for laying out a path for you to follow, with a brilliance that shines as you follow the purpose He has called you to fulfill. Sing praises that He will guide you through your strategic plan, with priorities, goals and daily to-do lists that make the journey fruitful and easy.
Live each day with a grateful heart, knowing that you are precious to God and to those who know you. Don’t let a day go by without thanking Him for at least one blessing that you have received, no matter how small it is. Shower others with words of gratitude, and most importantly, be grateful for you, just as you are.
You are precious and you have a beautiful purpose, so follow His plan with great expectations about where He will lead you from today forward. I am grateful for you!