The Sum of All VisionsPosted on February 3, 2018 in Identity and Purpose
Third in a series on Identity, Purpose, and Vision
Who are you? Why are you here? What is the output of your life? How did that happen? What choices and actions got you there?
Do these questions occupy your mind? If so, have your answers changed over time?
A framed faux stained glass rendering of Shakespeare’s Seven Stages of Life hangs in our family room window. It was spoken of in the famous “All the world’s a stage” monologue in The Bard’s comedy As You Like It. The character who gives the monologue, Jacques, bends decidedly to the negative, in contrast to the other characters’ sunnier outlooks. His pessimism notwithstanding, the seven stages have a ring of truth in them for today:
Infant (dependence), Schoolboy (coming of age), Lover (early adulthood), Soldier (calling/career), Justice (wisdom of years), Pantaloon (declining mental faculties), and Old Man (return to dependence).
It doesn’t matter whether these seven stages are right. Like it or not, intentional or not, the story of our life is a series of acts where our chronology, choices, actions, and the conflicts we navigate take us through “doors of no return” that narrow the range of our possible ending.
Like it or not, intentional or not, the story of our life is a series of acts where our chronology, choices, actions, and the conflicts we navigate take us through “doors of no return” that narrow the range of our possible ending.
Last summer I wrote the first two articles in this series, The Most Important Question We Ask Ourselves and Identity and Purpose: Which Comes First? in which I unpacked my journey through The Purpose Train, a model for life planning developed by my friend Stephen De Silva. Here’s a graphic representation:
I’ve internalized the five parts of the Purpose Train model this way:
Identity: Who I believe I am in Christ and who God uniquely made me to be is the “track” on which my life will travel. My God-given personal identity is as unique as my physical appearance, and it’s my job to discover it with Him.
Purpose: My understanding of purpose is the “engine” that pulls me through life. As a follower of Jesus, I have a core purpose—love God, love people, make disciples—and one He prepared just for me. Again, it’s mine to discover with Him.
Vision: God created each of us to bear unique fruit. Ideally, our envisioned life output—what we produce and who we become in the process—aligns with God’s vision for us.
Strategy: The things we will do and won’t do to manifest our vision. We can make our own decisions and plans about strategy, but the Lord gives the right answer if we seek Him (Proverbs. 16:1).
Tactics: Our “action plan”—daily choices and actions to execute our strategies. My biggest challenges are allowing the “urgency of the moment” or “how I’m feeling today” to push my life train forward.
In the last six months, I’ve done five drafts of my Purpose Train plan. As I worked through iterations of identity, purpose, and vision, I began to see a level of clarity about the road ahead I’d not experienced before. It’s what Dr. Lance Wallnau, a world-class business consultant and life coach, calls convergence—a phase of life where “it all starts coming together,” when the work you do is the work you were created and called to do, and you use 100% of your gifts, talents, and acquired skills.
In Shakespearean terms, I’ve transitioned from the soldier to justice stages in the last five years, and God willing I’ll skip Pantaloon! As the Purpose Train model has helped me look backward to see forward, one clarity I’ve gained is that my forward vision is built on the sum of all previous visions I’ve had for my life—family man, business executive, entrepreneur, consultant, mentor. The road to convergence.
Realizing this has been a shot in the arm unlike any I’ve had in the last decade. You can have it, too, if you’re willing to do the work of examining what’s in you, what’s come before, and what God has to say about it all.
I’d be happy to share the tools I’ve used for applying the Purpose Train to my life and my own personal examples. Click here to email me.
To your destiny,