LEVEL 7: ENDURANCE
our purpose if it was a race is a very long relay-marathon race. Let me explain. A relay race is very short and it is set up to work with teams. A marathon is a very long enduring and arduous race that is set up to glorify individuals who will push themselves to the limit for long hours. When a marathon is over, only one person wins. When a relay race is over, a team wins. In the race of purpose, there is both the marathon and the relay. The relay though comes towards the very end of your marathon where you are supposed to pass on the baton to someone else…but I am going a head of myself to level 8. The point I am making is that you will be tested to the core just like a marathoner is. You will be afforded numerous chances to give up or to settle for something less like…just finishing the race. When it comes to purpose though, that is not good enough.
The Need for Flexibility
In the previous post, we saw that preparation is absolutely key for you to have endurance. If you just stumble into your purpose pursuit unplanned, you will be shocked at what upheavals, opposition, intrigue and countless twists and turns that come as as result of your pursuit. But if you take stock of time, money and other resources that will be needed, your chances of endurance will be higher.
That’s beside the point thought that I want to make today. I have come to realize that there will be opportunities for you to be flexible in at least two different ways. This though is the crux of the matter. Once you have realized what your path to purpose is, chances are that you have been empowered to say “NO” to requests and gigs that do not support your core purpose. The question though is: Are you being realistic? Suppose somebody offers you an opportunity to do “Data Analsysis” for example. This is something that you are skilled at but you do not feel in your gut that it is what your purpose entails. In other words, you do not want to be caught doing “Data Analysis” five years from now. What do you do? Do you say “No” to that opportunity and “wait” for an opportunity of your purpose to show up?
The Other Side of Endurance
These are tough questions to answer. I already narrated to you my story that happened years ago. I was relegated to the village after clearing my Higher Diploma in Management Information Systems. At the village, I refused to take any leadership responsibility at the local church because I thought that I would be sealing my fate. I did not want to get attached. It wasn’t until later on that I learnt that I was wasting not only time, but precious opportunities to learn, grow and have endurance and resilience in life. Later on after that season, I wrote in my journal something so profound that I could preach a month of Sundays about. I wrote:
“Wherever you go, put let your roots go deep, and give your all self at that moment in time”
So the other side of endurance is to take your roots down on what you “have to” do right now, with the full knowledge that your purpose is not in it, but that it is part and process of your purpose discovery. This is what I call being tangential about your purpose.
The Danger of Being Tangential About Your Purpose
The danger is that you can get used to it, make the necessary mental and physiological adjustments and then settle! The greatest impediment of purpose discovery is to settle down to something less than what you are capable of. John C. Maxwell in one of his iconic books (I forget which one) tells of a story of mountain climbers. There goal is to reach at a certain peak. On their way, there is a small cozy resting tent that gives you momentary and much needed reprieve. However, if you tarry there a little longer, apathy and lethargy sets in, and before you know it, you start congratulating yourself for at least making it half way through the mount. It is only after your friends come back from conquering the mountain that the foreboding comes on you so strong. You realize that you would have endured just after a brief rest and pressed on. The truth of the matter is that after you have had some reprieve in life (a job, further studies, a contract etc) that helps you put food on the table, you need to keep your feet on the path of purpose.
The Better Way
The passionate purpose pursuant does not just use the opportunity for a reprieve to rejuvenate. At times when you are pursuing purpose, you might not have a single dime not only to fund your purpose, but to meet your needs on the bottom pyramid of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Then, something wonderful happens: you get a job, a project or a contract, albeit in something that does not relate to your purpose but you can do it. What do you do? You immediately craft a way of funding bits and pieces of your purpose until it grows to such an extent that it can cater for your needs and for itself. That is the other face of endurance. The “tangent” that you are taking, though momentarily is like a fertilizer to your purpose, not a replacement of it. This is absolutely critical to note.
Purpose Takes Care of Itself?
Yes it does. If you finally land on what you were created to do, inherent in you and in your environment, you will find enough sustenance not only to bring it to fruition but also to “scale”. However, realize that by now, you are still on the “path” to purpose. In fact, chances are that as you keep moving, you will need to pivot several times until you settle on what your purpose really is. We shall pick up that thought in the next article.