4 Steps to a Fulfilling Life Mission
In a previous article, we discussed the power of synergy. Synergy is the powerful force that occurs when your daily activities align with your internal motivations. If you’re confused about what I’m talking about, that’s great because it gives me a chance to do what I love most: explaining synergy to people who can use it to make their own lives happier.
The Four Steps
The path to a synergistic life has 4 steps. These 4 steps are your key to increased energy and happiness:
- Discover your message.
- Discover your strengths.
- Choose your medium.
- Choose your environment.
First, let’s clarify terminology.
- Message: Something you feel compelled to communicate to the world, either explicitly or implicitly through your actions. It is the driving force within your life, the purpose waiting to break free, the reality you want everyone to experience. If you say you don’t have a message, I say you’re wrong. You just haven’t discovered it yet.
- Strengths: The natural talents that allow you to communicate your message. Speaking, painting, writing, singing, designing, analyzing, problem solving, building, and just about any other talent you can imagine are all potential strengths.
- Medium: The context-specific application of your strengths and message. In the business world, this would be your job title.
- Environment: The governing body that regulates your medium. Unless you are self-employed, this is the company that signs your paychecks.
Some tasks may be fulfilling in and of themselves, without any intrinsic meaning or purpose. But many people want work that aligns with their life mission, a desire related to the Protestant concept of a calling. We want to know that our work contributes to the common good, is a good fit for our strengths, and is personally fulfilling — this type of job satisfaction practically begs you to develop a clear personal message.
Most people skip right over this step, which is akin to writing a book without a topic, singing a song without a melody, or beginning a complicated construction project without a blueprint. You might have some idea what you’re doing, but you won’t have any idea why.
An Example of an Average Joe’s Failure to Appreciate Synergy
Joe is a computer programmer. He is frustrated with his life. He feels like the work he is doing is pointless. One night after work, Joe goes to a party. A pretty young girl walks up and asks, “What do you do?”
Joe says, “I’m a computer programmer for Tech Solutions.”
Okay, stop. Look what Joe just did. Joe identified himself as a computer programmer. His whole identity is wrapped up in his job title, his medium of expression. If we assume he is good at his job, he may have also told us something about his strengths: coding, analyzing, and problem solving. And he definitely identified his environment, a company named Tech Solutions. But notice, Joe hasn’t said anything about his message. If Joe’s like most people, he doesn’t know what it is.
Let’s rejoin Joe’s little conversation, already in progress.
The pretty young girl looks at Joe, seemingly impressed, and says, “You’re a computer programmer? Why do you choose to do that?”
Joe thinks this is a very strange question. Maybe this girl has been reading too many self-help books or something. “Why do I write computer programs?” he asks. “I guess because it pays the bills.”
Grabbing another beer from the near-empty cooler, the girl says, “Do you like it? Computer programming, I mean.”
“Actually, I hate it,” Joe says. “I think maybe I’d like to do something else.”
“Really?” she asks. “Like what?”
He pauses for a moment, staring absently at the plasma television mounted to the kitchen wall. “I don’t know what I want to do. Something different, I guess.”
Joe hates his job because he finds it meaningless and unfulfilling. He couldn’t care less about the computer applications he spends all day programming. There is a disconnect between Joe’s internal motivations and his daily activities, and until Joe finds a way to align these two things, he will continue to feel unfulfilled.
Are You Ready to Live Synergistically?
If someone comes up to you at a party and asks what you do for a living, how do you answer? And more importantly, if someone asked you to explain the mission of your life, could you do it?
The next four articles in this Synergy Series are designed to help you think critically about your message, strengths, medium, and environment. I recommend that you bookmark this page so you can use it as a launch-pad to the companion articles and read them when you have time. I hope the information finds you well.
You Are Reading an Article Series — Synergy, The Key to Greater Energy and Happiness:
- Intro: Synergy, the Key to Greater Energy and Happiness
- 4 Steps to a Fulfilling Life Mission
- Discover Your Message — Synergy Step One
- Discover Your Strengths — Synergy Step Two
- Choose Your Medium — Synergy Step Three
- Choose Your Environment — Synergy Step Four
May 7, 2007 Monday at 5:20 pm