Amy Rees Anderson

“Is What I am Doing Right Now Leading Me To___?”

In the world of business we spend a significant amount of time coming up with company mission statements and company values.  We then set company goals that we believe will help us achieve our company purpose.   In companies it’s just expected that every company has gone through that exercise.  But when is the last time we went through that process in our personal lives? When is the last time we sat down and came up with our personal mission statement?  When is the last time we sat down and wrote up our personal values that we were dedicated to live our lives by?  And when is the last time we set or updated our goals that we believe will help us achieve our life purpose?  Do we even have a vision of what we want our life purpose to be?   To discover our purpose we have to ask ourselves questions like:  “When your life is over and you look back at it what do you hope to have accomplished with your life?  What do you hope people will recognize about the life you lived?  What are you passionate about?  What gifts and talents has God blessed you with that could be used to help others?” We have to remember that we are the pilots of our own life – we are fllying this plane so we dang well better know where we are trying to fly it to!

It’s amazing how life can get so busy that we find ourselves simply going through the motions every day of doing the millions of things that seem to be urgent to get done, and often times we don’t even stop to evaluate if the things we are spending our time on are taking is in the direction toward accomplishing our life purpose.  After all, who has time these days to stop and think about it???  It’s always go, go, go, with endless lists of tasks, and endless unread emails, not to mention the voicemails you haven’t returned.  Then add to that the groceries and the laundry and the cleaning and the children and it goes on and on and on.  There is no end to the “stuff” to do every day.  So how the heck could we ever take time out to evaluate how we are spending our time?  That would require that we have time to take a time-out, which we just established won’t ever happen!!

Does any of that sound or feel familiar?  It does to me!  So often I get caught up in doing things that need to get done that I never even stop to consider the fact that doing some of those things is not getting me any closer to accomplishing the true purpose that I want to accomplish with my life.  So why am I doing them??  That is a fantastic question!  And one that I need to really consider if I am ever going to get my time balanced and focused on doing the things that matter most.

When I was the CEO of my last company I used to advise the employees to ask themselves the question “Is what I am doing right now leading me to a _______________”.  For someone in sales they would fill in the blank with the word “sale”.   For someone in customer account management they would fill in the blank with the word “happy customer”.  And so on.  It was a great question to keep people focused on doing only those things that would lead them to accomplish their purpose at work and asking themselves that question would help them to recognize when they were doing something that was just busy work and that wouldn’t lead them to achieve their purpose.

I realized today that we need to apply that same question to our personal lives.   We need to ask ourselves “Is what I am doing right now leading me to  _________________________”.  Then we would fill in that blank with the life purpose we have a vision of achieving.  It might have things like “be a great parent” or “help other people”  or “God”.  Everyone can fill in the blank with whatever they want to achieve in their personal life.  Asking that question will help us to be more focused and effective with how we spend our time.  It will also help us to eliminate the things that are simply “busy work” and that are not helping us to achieve our purpose.

So my suggestion for the week ahead (because I need to do this myself!):  Take the time to write down your life purpose, list out your personal mission statement and relook at your goals that you have set for yourself.  Then as you go through each day ask yourself if the things you are spending your time on are leading you toward that. 

Have an amazing Monday everyone!  I can’t believe it is already MARCH – WOW!  Time flies – but it’s time to take control of that time and make sure it’s being used to fly your airplane where you want it to go!!!



  • Ken Frei says:

    Great post. Sounds a lot like Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which I’m actually reading right now. It is so important to make sure we set our priorities in both our personal and professional lives and then do things that help us reach our goals. Many of the activities we spend our time on do not help us achieve our long term goals as you mentioned.

    Thanks for the daily wisdom Amy. Keep it up!

  • Tony Washington says:

    Awesome post. I think another perspective is that we may not have clearly defined our goals to a clear enough level and as a consequence we spend days feeling as if we aren’t doing enough to reach a goal that remains vague and undefined. There’s nothing wrong with relaxing with my family as long as it is a choice I have made. But, if my family time is fraught with thoughts of other stuff I “should” be doing, then I’m doing myself and them a disservice. I plan to take you up on the idea of writing my personal fill in the blank statement while simultaneously making my goals more clear in order to more easily recognize when it is time “not” to work on them! (Unless my goal is spend more time appreciating and loving my family! – smile)

  • Scott Morgan says:

    I do this often to keep my focused on what I want. After I do this I record it with Baroque music playing and replay it to myself. This ingrains it and assists in the manifestation process.


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