Dixie Darr

In work on December 15, 2006 at 9:46 pm

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It

The goal is to have your work be the principal expression for your mind and creative talent. Ernie Zelinski

We were put on earth for a reason. Some lucky people seem to be born knowing why they are here. Others spend their lives seeking their mission. You’re never too old to continue the search. As Richard Bach, the author of Illusions said, “Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.”

On the theory that you teach what you need to learn, I recently taught a class in Finding Your Mission in Life. Here’s what I learned. It’s a popular topic. A Google search resulted in 4,710,000 hits. Amazon shows 67,097 related books. Remember, the Blues Brothers were “on a mission from God.”

Even those who recognize and follow their calling early in life may find that it changes shape at different stages in their lives. One of my students, Diane, spent the first several years of her adult life as a stay-at-home mom, devoting her time and energy to raising her children. As they grew older and more independent, Diane searched for another way to use her care giving talent. Transforming her family home into a group home for developmentally disabled young men allowed her to continue parenting on a different level.

Now in her mid-forties, she is returning to college to earn a nursing degree, learning new skills and credentials, but continuing on her path of providing care to those in need. She and her husband have already started laying the foundation for their non-retirement. They have started a non-profit corporation, Assisted Adventures. “This company integrates my love of travel with my desire to continue to help those less fortunate than me, by providing direct care and assistance to developmentally disabled adults that have the ability to travel with supervision.”

This will use all of her previous experiences and allow the couple to continue earning a living while doing the traveling they look forward to.

As is evident in Diane’s story, your mission combines your values and talents with the issues that are important to you. Author Frederick Buechner explains that your calling “is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” So begin your search for mission by defining what you really love to do. If you don’t know, ask a friend or family member what subject makes you light up when you talk about it. Then think about how you can use that talent or interest to make the world a better place.

Some people seem to think they’re here to accumulate as much money or material goods as possible, and that doing what they love means living in poverty. One friend told me, “people who make a lot of money are miserable.” I disagree. I don’t think Bill Gates is miserable, and he certainly seems to be doing what makes him happy. Most movie stars, rock stars, and best-selling writers are doing work they love and making a whole lot of money doing it. We need to remember that it isn’t money, but the LOVE of money that is the root of all evil. Stephen King didn’t get into writing because he heard he could make a lot of money. He started writing because he loved it, couldn’t not do it.

Here’s a test to see if you’ve found your mission. If you won the lottery, would you you’re your job? Answer yes and you’re in the wrong line of work.

©2006 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved

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