By Jim Whitt
People confuse roles, goals and vehicles with their purpose. That’s why Chad had a 3,000 word mission statement (for more about Chad see page 42). It included a lot of roles, goals and vehicles. It was well meaning but didn’t have much meaning. Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul” knows music is not the destination but merely a means to an end, “This is a vehicle for my creative expression and I enjoy bringing happiness to others.” Bringing happiness to others is the end, while music is the means.
Vehicles are not just vocations — they can be other roles we play in life. We have had some people who have come to our workshop believing their purpose was to be a mother or a father. Those are critical roles but we only actively play those roles for part of our lives. We play many roles — husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter.
We have vocations and avocations. We may do volunteer work. All of these can be vehicles. How many can you have? Who knows? It’s not important. What is important is to find our purpose and focus our energy on fulfilling it. When I did that I discovered the vehicles came to me. I know — that’s not natural. You’re right, it’s supernatural. Of course you have a choice when presented with a vehicle. You can kick the tires and give it the once over or you can crawl behind the wheel, turn the key and take it for a spin. You may not know exactly where it will take you. Consider John’s story:
When I came to the workshop, wearing skepticism and doubt like an unholy toga, I was a very unhappy computer technician. I knew that I was missing out on something but I didn’t know what.
I found my purpose on my first day and I knew that I was supposed to “Connect with People and Ignite Their hearts.”
Since then I have been in five different commercials and a national trailer that will show nationwide this year in over 800 theatres.
I now work for a video production company as a creative writer. I also produce many of our projects as well.
I will perform live in front of 13,000 people next year. My writing is now in front of thousands and I am now in the best place ever to get my book out.
I can’t tell you how many people I know are struggling in their life trying to find some meaning in the everyday mundane. I find that it has so impacted me that it filters its way into everything that I write. Movies where the hero discovers their true potential now leap out at me.
I received the above letter from John a year after he attended our workshop. He discovered his purpose and his superhuman was liberated.
He was riding in the vehicle of an unhappy computer technician and now has a fleet of vehicles that include acting, directing, producing, writing and speaking. This is how the transformational power of purpose works.
It isn’t natural, it’s supernatural.
We also have people come to our workshops and after finding their purpose discover they are already in vehicles that are perfect fits for them. But now they know. They aren’t continually asking themselves, “Is this what I’m supposed to be doing in life?”
Red Skelton played many roles in life. He starred in vaudeville, radio, movies and television. But it was in television where he left his most indelible impression. He created and played an array of unforgettable characters on his program like Clem Kadiddlehopper and Freddy the Freeloader.
Red ran away from home at the tender age of ten to join a traveling medicine show: “Mom used to say I didn’t run away from home; my destiny just caught up with me at an early age.” While he played many roles in many mediums of the entertainment industry he never confused his roles, goals or vehicles with his purpose. Red Skelton knew exactly why he was put on planet earth. “If I can make people laugh,” he said, “then I have served my purpose for God.”
The thing I always liked about Red Skelton was that he seemed to be having as much fun during his performance as the audience. He laughed and he made us laugh. That’s the wonderful thing about being on purpose. Like Ray Charles says, “It’s natural babe.” It’s supernaturally natural. It flows, it’s fun and it’s fulfilling. Serving others, ironically, is self-serving. In the words of William H. Danforth, the founder of the Ralston Purina Company, “You give your life away and behold! A richer life comes back to you.”
At the conclusion of his television program, Red Skelton signed off with his trademark, “Good night and God bless.” He did indeed serve his purpose for God. And God certainly did bless. He blessed us with Red Skelton.
The Transformational Power of Purpose: Finding & Fulfilling Your Purpose in Life contains exercises at the end of each chapter that will help you find your purpose in life and set you on the path of its fulfillment.