Brick by brick and nail by nail, we all attempt to build a life of meaning from the raw materials we are given when we arrive at the construction yard of life. Some of us have a template provided and resources to easily help fashion our lives into a grand cathedral. While others are in a daily struggle to develop a meaningful blueprint of their own. No matter where we begin, we all have a responsibility to build and grow our lives to their full potential. The good news is it is our innate desire to be something more that we already are. This is something that is a part of our nature. I have yet to meet a person who, when asked, does not desire to have a life of greater significance. The definition of significance may vary from person to person, but the desire to be more than what we already are is universal.
MY SEARCH FOR SIGNIFICANCE
As a parent, I don’t just want to be a good parent I want to be a great parent. I want to foster a loving and encouraging environment for my boys. My wish is to be the first person they call on in their time of trouble and be someone they can look up to as a model for their own life. Being honest, some days are better than others but in my own life I know there is so much room for improvement in my journey to be a better parent. I have a desire to have a larger significance in my home with my family than where I currently am.
It is the same with my career. For years I was a unhappy disgruntled employee. My frustration for years, I thought, was due to external forces limiting my ability. Instead I learned that my frustration was with myself for not taking the time to find my strengths, challenge and push myself beyond a perceived capacity, and go after the career I wanted. I was unhappy because I wanted to make a bigger contribution and impact with my career than what I had done. I felt stuck. I wanted a job with more significance.
BUILDING A GROWTH PLAN
To build a masterpiece of our lives, we must take in the terrain we have been given to build upon and decide how and what we want to forge. If we want to take our pile of dirt and transform it into a beacon of hope and life for others like a lighthouse in the midst of a devastating storm, we have to start by building a growth plan (blueprint) that works. It doesn’t have to be complex. It doesn’t have to be an eloquent 40 page color document with long term projections and a balanced budget. It simply has to be created and nurtured from that internal desire to get yourself to the next level.
A growth plan in my life began with the simple recognition of where I was in comparison to where I want to be. After years of not knowing where to go and what to do, I put a simple plan in place with the assistance of several written and video resources. What I will share below are a few simple tips you can use to create a (starter) plan to grow to the next level in you life.
THE BRICKS OF THE PLAN
1. Become Aware of Your Current State – “The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step.” The least you can do is make sure that your step is going in the right direction. Take a moment to gauge what you have, where you are, and what you want to build.
2. Determine Where You Want to Go – What does the finished project look like? Is it a lighthouse? Is it a skyscraper? Is it a hospital? What type of significance are you looking to achieve? What do you want to build a life of? Think deeply about this to make sure you don’t build with the wrong type of material.
3. Create New Habits – With an understanding of what you have and what you are trying to build, it is now time to learn a new trade. You can’t build a brick house if you only know how to put up drywall. Invest the time, energy, and effort necessary to master the new skills in order to build a new you.
4. Change Your Circle – Surround yourself with people who are building as well. You can learn from their experience. They will encourage you. They will lift you up. In addition, you can help them along the way as well. Don’t stay around people who consistently engage in destructive behavior. They will only destroy what you have created.
5. Plan Your Progress and Check In – After the first four steps are completed go back to the top and reassess and adjust the plan if necessary. You will be amazed how far you have come.