Three Questions For Your Weekend

Determine your Passionate Purpose, become world class at it, use it to serve others, and enjoy the entire ride.
–Greg Knapp

If you’re struggling to find your Passionate Purpose, or you just want more out of life, I have three questions to ask yourself this weekend.

1) What things have you done that you’re passionate about and that bring you joy?

2) What things have you that you felt brought meaning to your life?

3) What are you good, or even great at? (Or what could you become great at?)

To have this work, you need to spend some real time doing deep thinking. Start with your childhood and slowly work your way to today.

Look at every type of thing you’ve done in every category you can think of. Go DEEP.

Don’t censor yourself, or let other people’s expectations color this exercise. This is all about you.

Action steps:

  • Schedule some time by yourself. Ideally, find a quiet spot that you enjoy.
  • Turn off all electronic devices – yes that means your phone!
  • Pray or meditate on the questions
  • Keep writing answers until you have at least 10 answers to each question.
  • Then come up with 10 more
  • Look for overlapping answers
  • Narrow the answers down to your top 3

Let’s GO!

(If this post resonated with you, share it with a friend and check out my book, GO! How to Find and Pursue Your Passionate Purpose, available in paperback and audiobook.)

“Better Safe than Sorry” Is a Lie

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After my last blog post about planning your escape from your current job, I received an email: “Greg, it sounds great to go after the life you want, but haven’t you ever heard the phrase, better safe than sorry?”

Yes, I’ve heard that expression. (In fact I just read something about it in Bob Proctor’s book, It’s Not About the Money. I don’t believe in coincidences, so let’s talk about it. )

My emailer continued, “I’m, nervous about trying something new and leaving my safe, stable job where I know I have a steady income.”

I totally understand where that guy is coming from. We were taught from an early age that the “safe” thing to do is to get a “good” job at a “good” company with a good salary, health care plan, and sick leave and vacation policy. When you get that, hold on tight and don’t let go.

I get it, and I always tell people that to decrease your risk you should keep your day job while you begin working on your Passionate Purpose. Then, slowly transition to your new thing.

With that in mind, here are the problems I have with the idea of “Better Safe Than Sorry:”

1) It implies that if you play it safe you will never be sorry.

Is that true? I’ve gone the “safe” route a few times where I still regret it to this day. I’m sorry I played it safe. I missed out on some great stuff.

No one on his deathbed ever said, “I didn’t really enjoy my work. I never went after what I really wanted. Maybe I could have lived the extraordinary life of my dreams. But, better safe than sorry!”

Don’t you want more than a job you barely tolerate because you think you won’t get fired?

2) Is any job really “safe” anymore?

During the 2008 recession, the United States lost 8.7 million jobs. How many of the people who were let go thought their jobs were safe? I thought mine was. Boy, was I wrong. How about you?

But, Greg, the recession is over. “Good” jobs are safe again. Really? Hmm…here’s a report from CNBC:

“In the first four months of the year, employers said they would hand out 250,061 pink slips. That is the highest total for the January-to-April period since 2009.”

I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer. I’m a glass is half full kinda guy. But, I’m also realistic. You could lose your job today. There is no safe job anymore (unless you work for the government – then you’re more likely to die than be fired). So does it make sense to stay in a job you don’t like, or even hate, because – better safe than sorry?

I think it’s safer to follow your passionate purpose. You will enjoy your work and life more right away. Because you love what you do, you’ll keep getting better at it and improve your chances to generate more income regardless of what’s happening with our economy.

And you’ll have fewer regrets.

Questions:

  • Are you fulfilling your Passionate Purpose with your current job?
  • Are you excited to get out of bed every morning?
  • Do you know that your life counts and that you matter?
  • Are you a success because you’re doing well financially, even if you don’t like your job?
  • Or, does your success come from using the gifts you were born with to make the most out of the purpose you were created for?
  • Is it time to start working on your Passionate Purpose today and create a plan to transition away from your current “safe” job?

Let’s GO!

(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)

Have You Ever Fallen Into The Impressive Trap?

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Why we do something is vital to the level of motivation and persistence we give to it. It also figures prominently in determining how much enjoyment we get out of it. Sometimes we put out a lot of time and effort before we realize we’ve anchored it all to a “why” that doesn’t serve us very well.

I was reminded of this when my daughter was practicing the piano and working on a fairly difficult jazz piece. After a while she plopped down on the couch beside me, looking frustrated.

I asked her what was wrong and she said, “I want to impress people by playing this song, but it’s hard.”

Before I could stop myself, I laughed out loud. I reminded her that if it was easy, everyone would do it. But then we got to the more important point. Doing something to impress others will never truly satisfy. The feeling you get from it is hollow and won’t last. It also means you’re allowing others to determine your worth. Why would you want to do that?

We all know this, yet somehow the “impressive” trap can sneak up on us. My wife, Anne, admits how it got to her in the story of her two careers.

Her first degree is in finance. Anne had big plans to become a senior executive in the banking industry. In just her first few years out of school, she was well on her way as an assistant vice president in private banking.

But, then she started volunteering as a tutor for at risk students at an inner city elementary school. She loved helping the little girl who was assigned to her. After a while, Anne realized she enjoyed tutoring much more than she enjoyed banking. If she was going to be honest, she didn’t like her job at all.

Anne had thought about becoming a teacher earlier in her life, but she worried about what other people might say. “Anne, you’re a straight A student, why would you use that just to teach elementary school?”

She knew that people say they value teachers, but many think if you’re a teacher it’s because you can’t do anything else. Or, you just want your summers off. Anne knew that wasn’t true, but she was letting other people’s opinions decide her fate.

She finally admitted to herself that the main reason she chose to be a finance major and go into banking was to impress others. Anne wanted people to know she was smart. She wanted the prestigious job title. She didn’t want anyone patting her on the head telling her what a cute, little teacher she was.

Once she figured that out, it didn’t take long for her to rework her “why.” She wanted to help inspire and teach our children to make our future brighter. Anne went back to school and got her Masters in Education.

She has helped change the lives of countless children and just won the award for teacher of the year at her school. She gets great joy out of teaching! She found the “why” that motivates her.

The “whys” that truly motivate us for the long term, and for the best results, are intrinsic. It’s not about impressing someone, or making our parents/significant other/society happy.

It’s about creating the extraordinary life of our dreams. It’s about growing, learning, being challenged, and achieving. It’s about enjoying what we do, not just the results of what we do. It’s about being the masters of our fate and embracing that.

Most of all, it’s about transcending ourselves, making a difference, and living a life that matters.

“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.”
–Daniel Pink

What is motivating you right now?

(I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.)

How to Become an Expert in Your Field

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The best way to become successful is to serve other people. The best way to serve others is to share your expertise with them. So how do you become an expert? You can do it in less time than you think.

1) Determine what you want to be your expertise. It’s easier and faster to become an expert at something you’ve already been working on and that you enjoy doing. If you’re looking to become an expert in something totally new, you can do it; it’s just going to take longer.

This is where I advise finding your Passionate Purpose. Working to become an expert at that will lead you to be more successful, fulfilled, and joyful, than simply looking to become an expert in something you think will make you money.

Don’t get me wrong, making money is great, but it’s super great if you’re making money doing something you’re passionate about. Otherwise, it can turn into a pair of golden handcuffs.

2) Go one step further and determine in what niche you want your expertise.

Whatever field you decide to study, there are countless niches to focus on. Find a niche that matches what you’re passionate about and that you can generate income with. (Remember – everything you love won’t make you money.)

3) Go deeper still and define the market you want to target your expertise to.

Keep this target market in mind as you’re becoming an expert. What do they want to know? What problems can you help them solve? What pain can you take away, and what pleasure can you help provide, with your expertise?

4) Determine the keywords that define your expertise.

Use those keywords to:

  • Set up Google Alerts – this will allow you to receive daily updates on the latest news in your field and niche
  • Search iTunes for related podcasts – listen to the most popular ones
  • Search YouTube for related “how to” videos – watch the most popular ones
  • Search for blogs – read the most popular ones
  • Search for seminars and online courses – use the ones that hit your target the best

5) Read one, best selling book a month on your subject.

It amazes me how many times I hear people brag about not reading books. Why is that now a badge of honor? You can get more out of a great book than you can out of a college course, a seminar, or one video – and for a lot less money.

Read these books to use the knowledge that is in them. I read books in my field as if I’m going to have a final exam.

I read like this:

  • Frist time through I just read the book
  • Second time through I highlight what resonates with me and make notes
  • Third time through I focus on my highlights
  • Fourth time through I start implementing the ideas into my life

If you read one book a month, in just one year you’ll know more about the field than 99% of the people you come in contact with.

Bonus: If you’re a great reader/studier, you can supercharge this be reading one book a week.

6) Start blogging about your quest to become an expert right away.

People love to see how other people do it. They love getting a behind the scenes view to your struggles and your successes. The more honest you are about the obstacles you’ve hit, the better.

Blogging about this will help you improve your writing skills, lock in the new information you’re learning, and build your brand.

Google “how to start a blog.” It’s very easy and cheap to do. For around ten bucks you can buy a domain name, and for another ten a month you can have your site hosted. Use a free theme on WordPress and you’re ready to roll.

7) Use what your learning in the real world.

It’s one thing to know theories, facts, and how to do something. It’s very different to actually do it. Your story of using your expertise in your life will carry more weight with most people than any letters after your name.

Once you’ve completed these seven steps, it’s time to start displaying your expertise. I’ll cover that in my next post.

I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets. Click here for more details.

Once I Become Successful, Then I’ll Worry About Fulfilling My Purpose

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Greg, that idea about finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose sounds great, but haven’t you heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? You have to take care of the basics befor you go after self actualization. Once I’m a success, then I’ll worry about my purpose.

I’m a big believer in Maslow’s theory. If you don’t have anything to eat or a place to live, you’re probably not as concerned about going to a museum to look at a piece of art. I get it.

But, I think finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose helps you get everything else you need to live – not just to live better.

Most people have heard of Viktor Frankl’s classic, Man’s Search for Meaning. (If you’ve never read it, start reading it today.) He gives his account of what it was like to be in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII, and then he turns to the importance of purpose.

Frankl found that if a prisoner had no purpose left in life – if he saw no hope – he was doomed. If, however, a prisoner saw a purpose in life he could cling to, his chances of survival dramatically improved.

Research in some of the poorest places in the world has supported the idea that a strong sense of purpose keeps people going in the direst of conditions. In many cases, it helps people live happy, healthy lives where we would think there would be no hope.

People living in third world countries have said their Passionate Purpose is to:

  • Help my family survive.
  • Educate the children in my village so they will have more opportunities.
  • Spread happiness to everyone I meet.
  • Get my village clean drinking water.
  • Be able to move my family to a better place where we will all be safe.

These purposes keep them motivated and inspired to live a life with meaning -to live a life that makes a difference.

In fact, finding and pursuing a Passionate Purpose may be more important before you become successful. It’s what gets you up when you really want to stay in bed. It’s what gives you optimism when your circumstances can’t justify it. It’s what gives you courage to face the tough situations. And, it’s what let’s you enjoy this life, when others would wallow in depression.

My belief is that finding and pursuing your Passionate Purpose is at every level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs scale. Regardless of where we live, or how much money we make, to live our best lives we need it in everything we do.

Let’s GO!

I now offer one to one coaching and an online coaching program for various budgets.Click here for more details.