“Hear me well on this day… when you are deciding on next jobs, next steps, careers, further education, you would rather find purpose than a job or a career. Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill.” – Chadwick Boseman
A wealthy man in the neighborhood passed away. He was known for his business prowess, cunning frugality and perpetual seclusion. His neighbors assembled at the funeral, more out of curiosity than acquaintance. Many were discussing his shrewd business dealings and began to speculate among themselves on the accumulation of his wealth. Finally, one neighbor approached the minister and asked, “Do you know how much he left?” The minister looked up at the gathering, smiled sadly and said, “All of it.”
Our book began with our first breath and it will close with our last. What happens between those first and last chapters defines what we leave behind: the epilogue. It is the sum of what we have done in this life and the mark we have made upon the shelves of history. So much of life can seem like inconsequential progressions of putting one foot in front of the other. We are surviving, following and reacting to external forces. Those narratives leave no permanet mark in our story or on those around us. What story do we want to leave behind?
What is your mission? What is your purpose? I remember being asked those questions many years ago and frankly, I struggled with the answer. I had fallen into the mechanics of living, breathing, moving, and working, but it was without direction or purpose. My friend challenged me, write down the statement of your purpose and define your mission. It was transforming. I suddenly had a compass and a light to guide my path. I was writing the script instead of letting the script author me. Meaning and clarity brought gifts of peace, passion and proactive planning. I knew where I was going and how I could shape the epilogue of my life.
What is your purpose? What do you want to leave behind? What is the reason you get up each day? If you haven’t done so already, I challenge you this week to write down your purpose and mission. Make it aspirational. Like mine (see here) it won’t be perfect and you will tune it over time. But from your purpose, you will develop your mission and steps that will guide you in your work, family, community, career, faith and leisure. We don’t get to write our own epilogue but we can shape it. Invest in eternity, starting today, by pouring yourself into your purpose and be the person you were always meant to be.