Stop Making Excuses

Stop blaming othersPlease stop making excuses or blaming others if you’re not enjoying the success you had hoped to achieve at this point in your life.

I know from personal experience that it is all too easy to blame someone else for our misfortune, shortcomings, failures, or the lack of achievement in fulfilling our goals, dreams and hopes for the future.

The blame game is as old as humanity itself – since Adam & Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden and Eden.

But the truth is this:

Our lack of achievement is our fault.  

Actually, it’s our choice.

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Living to Your Full Potential – A Personal Growth Lesson from the Farm

Reach your full potentialOne of my biggest lessons in personal growth and how to reach your full potential came from an apple, of all things.

I grew up living next-door to my grandparents’ fruit farm.  They grew cherries, peaches, grapes, blueberries, pears, plums, apples, and more.

One day, my grandfather shared with me the amazing power and potential contained within one solitary apple.  It was a lesson that stayed with me for life.

At the time, I hadn’t really thought much about the apple.

For all I knew, an apple was just a piece of fruit that could be consumed – all except for the seed-laden core, which I would just throw in the garbage.

My grandfather explained that if I planted that apple’s six seeds in the ground, I could grow six apple trees that, when mature, would produce anywhere from 150-250 apples each (depending upon the variety of apple tree).  [Read more…]

Knowing Your Life Purpose Can Help You Overcome Problems and Pain

I recently ran across this quote from Rick Warren from several years ago, when his wife was diagnosed with cancer.  Warren is the author of the New York Times Bestseller The Purpose Driven Life.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys – you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don’t believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems. If you focus on your problems, you’re going into self-centeredness, which is “my problem, my issues, my pain.” But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

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My Life Purpose: Be the Best Me That I Can Be

On Sundays I write on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics. I do it because I believe we’re all spiritual beings and have some sort of a moral compass in our lives. You can learn more by clicking here.

For as long as there have been people living in this world, people of every age, race and gender have sought to understand the meaning and purpose of life.

At one level, it’s the stuff that philosophers and theologians question and debate. At another level, it is something that all of us grapple with at one time or another.

Today, it seems like more and more people are searching for the meaning and purpose of their lives.  If you doubt me, simply consider the fact that over 30 million copies of a book called The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, have been sold since it was first published in 2002.

I’ve been trying to remember when I first learned that my life had a purpose. I don’t mean when I first discovered what my purpose was…but when I discovered that there was a reason for my existence.

I think it must have been when I was a child, thanks to the influence of my parents, church and school.  As far back as I can remember, I’ve believed that God created me, wants a relationship with me, and put me here on earth for a reason.

Of course, this begs the question:  “What is the reason?  What is it that God wants me to be?”  I’ve discovered that this question has led to one of the greatest adventures in my life.  Gratefully, my parents, teachers, pastors, mentors, friends and others have helped me over the years to understand and clarify my purpose and calling.

Through reading the scriptures and listening to the experiences of others, I’ve discovered that God wants me to be the best “me” that I can be, according to the passions, interests, talents, skills and abilities He’s given me.  Gratefully, he doesn’t expect me to be whom I’m not.  He simply wants me to live up to my full potential as the “me” he made me to be.

What happens when we don’t understand and live according to our God-given purpose?  From my observation, we can experience more stress, conflict, feelings of unfulfillment, work-life imbalance, frustration and even a sense of hopelessness and depression.  These are all things I want to avoid in my life – how about you?

So, do you know that you have a purpose in life?  And do you know what your life’s purpose is?  One of my goals here at Life Compass is to help you discover your purpose and live out every day…to help you be the best version of you that you can be.

Why?  Because I’ve discovered that my purpose in life is to help others find more freedom, purpose and fulfillment in their life and work.  I hope you’ll come along with me on the journey, and I hope you’ll share your questions and thoughts!

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How One Man Found His Higher Calling

Oakland A's prospect Grant Desme is retiring from baseball to enter the priesthood.

Oakland A's prospect Grant Desme is retiring from baseball to enter the priesthood.

For those of you who are new to Life Compass, I write on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics every Sunday.  Here’s why.

Have you ever thought that some people have a “higher” calling than others?  As a child, I often believed that those who work “in the ministry” as a pastor, priest, nun or missionary had a higher calling than everyone else.  After all, they serve God, right?  And everyone else serves…uh…someone else, I guess.

As a young adult I learned that God has given everyone a purpose and calling in life, and that we all can serve Him by doing what He called us to do to the best of our ability.

Whether we’re a plumber, baker, banker, attorney, mechanic, or something else, the Bible tells us, “Whatever you do, do your work as for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23). It also gives numerous examples of how our work benefits and enhances the lives of others.

The problem, of course, is that we need to figure out what it is that we’re called to do.  And it seems to me that only a few people actually do that.

Yesterday, Fox News ran a story on their website about a young man who discovered his true calling.  Normally, something like this wouldn’t make the news.  In fact, I can’t recall the last time I saw a headline that said something like, “Susan Smith discovers her calling and will become a banker” or “Bob Johnson finally figures out he’s supposed to be a teacher.”

What makes this a newsworthy story is that it’s about a top major league baseball prospect who discovered his true calling and decided to enter the priesthood:

As a top prospect for the Oakland Athletics, outfielder Grant Desme might’ve gotten the call every minor leaguer wants this spring.

Instead, he believed he had another, higher calling.

Desme announced Friday that he was leaving baseball to enter the priesthood, walking away after a breakout season in which he became MVP of the Arizona Fall League.

“I was doing well at ball. But I really had to get down to the bottom of things,” the 23-year-old Desme said. “I wasn’t at peace with where I was at.”

“I love the game, but I aspire to higher things,” he said. “I know I have no regrets.”

Some will applaud Desme because he is giving up the potential fame and fortune of major league baseball for the priesthood, thinking that “ministry” is more important than baseball.

I too want to applaud him – but not because I think one vocation is more important than another.  It’s not that baseball is not right. It’s just that baseball is not right for him!

I applaud Desme for taking the time to clarify his calling and for being brave enough to make the change, no matter the cost. And what led him to make this decision to find the work he was meant to do?

  1. He realized he wasn’t at peace and didn’t feel fulfilled.
  2. He aspired to be all that God wanted him to be (he called that “the higher things”)
  3. He wanted to live without regrets.

What about you?  If you were on the pathway to be a major league baseball player (and perhaps earn millions of dollars), but you knew things weren’t quite right, would you keep doing it for the money/and or the love of the game?  Or would you follow your heart and do the work you were meant to do?  Please share your comments below.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Knew His Mission in Life – Do You?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Being Arrested

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Being Arrested

Today is a holiday in the U.S. to honor slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

As a nation, we honor him for his fight for justice for African-American people who had been oppressed by unjust laws and immoral abuses.

Speaking of justice, I don’t think I could do Dr. King justice by trying to write about all that he sought to and did accomplish through his civil rights work.

I’m sorry to admit that I’m a white man who hasn’t taken the time to truly read about and understand all that Dr. King stood for, and the impact that his words and actions have had on our country – and on other people around the world.

But today, I read Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” written from a Birmingham, Alabama jail cell on April 16, 1963.   Dr. King had been arrested for participating in a civil disobedience demonstation and was being criticized for his tactics by white ministers from the community.  Dr. King wrote this letter to answer the charges and questions from these critics.

King’s critics asked him why he had come to Birmingham to stir up trouble, so to speak.  He replied with a simple answer:  “because injustice exists here…and I feel compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own hometown.”

He went on to explain that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

As I read the letter, I was immediately amazed and impressed by the sense of mission that I could feel through his writing.  Dr. King was a man who understood the times he lived in.  He knew his calling and mission in life.  He knew the price he would have to pay in order to fulfill that mission. And he was determined to pay the price.

When I finished reading, I couldn’t help but ask myself:

  • Do I really know my mission in life?
  • Do I know the price I need to pay in order to accomplish that mission?
  • Am I willing to pay the price?

What about you?

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