In the Advance Planner I outline three connected areas which are important to identifying your purpose:
Passions are things you really enjoy doing. You don’t care if you get paid to do these activities or not— you do them anyway.
Here’s a hint: if you schedule your day around some things to make certain you have time + space to enjoy them, they’re likely your passions.
Financial opportunities are things people will pay you to do. It doesn’t necessarily mean you enjoy these activities, but you can make money doing them for others.
Expertise means you’re highly skilled at something. You’re really good these things— so good that you excel at them. In fact, you’re probably the best (or one of the best) in your circle of influence at these activities.
All three of these areas are important. Notice the equations below—
Let’s make a few observations.
First, if you don’t get paid to do something… it’s just a hobby (see the first line in the chart above.)
I’ve referenced a home-based business several times throughout the Advance book. We earned high level commissions working that business. We treated the opportunity as if it was a full-time job, blocking specific hours for work in the same way we would for a place of employment.
At the same time, there were many people on our team who never earned a paycheck. Or, they earned just enough money to “get their products for free.” In other words, they didn’t treat the opportunity like a business, they treated it like a hobby.
There’s nothing wrong with hobbies. In fact, Sabbath and fun and rest are all essential to living a fully-charged, high-octane, well-balanced life.
But, you most likely won’t find your purpose in a hobby that remains a hobby.
Second, if you lack skill or expertise, the venture will be short-lived (second line of the chart).
I like fitness. I enjoy it… a lot. I have dedicated space in our home where I workout a few times a week. On the days I don’t workout in my garage gym, I cycle on a high-end carbon fiber bike or go for a long run.
But I don’t have the skill level in this area to morph fitness into a career. I’m older and most athletes are younger. I’m fast, but they’re all faster. I’m strong, but they’re stronger.
In other words, if I decided to enter the world of professional athletics— in any form— my career would be short-lived. It doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy physical fitness (as a hobby that’s extremely beneficial to my lifestyle). Rather, it highlights the fact that my calling— my unique design— points towards something else.
Or, to say it using Brandon’s language from a recent podcast, “I’m a different kind of arrow.”
Third, if you find something you can earn money at (financial opportunity) and you’re good at (expertise), it still might not be your calling (see line 3 in on our equations). We want to do something which also aligns with our passions, that is, the areas we love. Especially since we’ve got to do it for 40+ hours a week, for 40+ years…
When I was a kid, my Dad taught my brother and I how to wash the cars. And we did it faithfully just about every week.
Whereas I loved working in the yard (and still do), I hated washing the vehicles. To me… it was toil.
Don’t get me wrong. If I was out of work and needed to earn money to feed my family and keep the lights on at the house, I would wash cars in a moment. That is, I’m not “above” the work. I just know that it’s not in my wheelhouse.
Here’s the deal…
I think a lot of adults find themselves stuck on this third line, doing the equivalent of washing cars they’d rather be driving:
— passion + expertise + finance = toil
You see, we enter the job market post-college and look for something, anything to begin paying our way through life as we venture forth on our own. Many of us rationalize that we can always return to school later, that we can shift jobs when the market changes, and that whatever we’ve settled for is just temporary.
Before long, we find ourselves strapped to car payments and mortgages, such that we actually need the careers we once thought were temporary chapters of our life. More accurately, we need the money.
And we’re good at what we do. After all, if you work at something for 40 hours a week for 50 weeks every year… and you push at it for several years— or even decades— you develop a high level of competency.
Then, dare we admit it— we find ourselves as experts in the very thing which now keeps us from pursuing our true purpose and passion?
I think a lot of adults resonate with this position: disconnected from passion and purpose, toil is where many people find themselves today.
For more study--
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates