Have you ever been told that you’d never make it as a ____? I have.

Purpose in work
People who are living out their purpose rarely, if ever, try to get others to conform to their mold. (Tweet That)

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At first I thought it meant something was wrong with me. That I was deficient in some way. I felt inadequate every time I was told that.

Until I realized they were right. They were absolutely right…and I was OK with that!

I would never make it as a…

There are literally tens of thousands of things at which I am terrible. Tens of thousands of careers in which I would never make it.

Because there are tens of thousands of things I wasn’t meant to do. I wasn’t born to do them.

To my uncle who thought I was lazy when I was 22 and spent all my time on the computer, it’s OK. For years I resented you for telling me I didn’t fit in with the rest of the family and that I’d never make it doing “real” work. But, I wasn’t meant to do that. I was meant to inspire people with my writing and help businesses prosper in ways they couldn’t imagine.

To my friend who told me I’d never make it doing what he does (financial analyst), you are right. I don’t have the patience with numbers that he does. The truth is, that I hate math. I am good at it, but can’t stand it. It’s not what I was born to do. They say God raises up people for precisely their time…and my time has Excel to do all of the math for me.

I wasn’t born to analyze data. I was born to write, to sell, to be creative.

The same goes for you. People will always try to either fit you into their mold or compare you to theirs. And the craziest part is that their mold is often making them miserable.

Here’s what I’ve found:

People who are living out their purpose rarely, if ever, try to get others to conform to their mold.

Those people who are doing what they’ve been called to do know that anything else would make them miserable. They also know that few people are called to do exactly what they’ve been called to do. They wouldn’t want anyone else doing what they do unless it was absolutely their purpose as well.

Examination time

There are three things to examine in your life today.

  1. What others have said. Have others held you down with their words? Has someone, like my uncle and my friend, told you that you’d never make it as a _____? Has that held you back or held you down? If so, acknowledge it and then re-center yourself in your true purpose. Acknowledge it aloud that they are right. You’d be a horrible _____. Then laugh at the thought of doing that and remind yourself of what you were truly born to do.
  2. What you say to yourself. Instead of “You’d never make it as a _____,” try this: “I was created to _____. I was born for such a time as this. This is my purpose, my passion, and my skillset. Not everyone can or should do this, but I can and will.”
  3. What you say to others. Once you have found your mold, stop trying to fit others into it. Resolve to never use the expression “You’d never make it as a ____.” Then spend your time helping others to find their ____ for this: “You were created to _____.” Be an encouragement, not a discouragement.

Have you found your true purpose? How have others’ words discouraged you from living that out?

18 thoughts on “You’d Never Make it as a… | Career Purpose from Matt McWilliams

  1. David Mike says:

    Be an encourager not a discourager is an awesome thought to keep in your head all day long! Or better yet I need to write it down and post it on my computer monitor. Thanks Matt.

  2. Arlen Miller says:

    “People who are living out their purpose rarely, if ever, try to get others to conform to their mold.” Hmmm. I get that. The insecurity is missing. The need to try to control someone else. Yeah. I like it. Thanks for writing, Matt. I came here from your comment on Jon Acuff.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Welcome Arlen!

      Once you are living in your true purpose, the need to get others to live like you disappears.

    2. Mark Sieverkropp says:

      Arlen!! Welcome!! You’ll find that Matt is full of great wisdom and advice…and he can be very nice when he wants to be! 🙂

      Glad to have you here!! Hope you keep coming back!

      1. Arlen Miller says:

        Lovin’ it. This seems like a fun place to hang out at. I might come back. Yeah! 🙂

      2. Mark Sieverkropp says:

        Yeah!! We’ve been known to have a little fun! Search Matt’s blog for “office pranks”. That post or me I trouble 😉

      3. Arlen Miller says:

        I found ’em. Crazy stuff Indeed!

  3. Paige Gordon II says:

    What to say to yourself, that’s the big one for me. Nothing good comes from constantly focusing on what we’re not. Our focus needs to be on what we are called to and are gifted at doing. Thanks for the reminder Matt!

  4. Mark Sieverkropp says:

    I’m trying to find it. I feel like I’m on my way to discovering it, but I’m not sure I’ve gotten there yet.

    And I totally know what you mean! I have grandparents that act as if I’m totally ungrateful and useless because I don’t “help out on the farm like your brother does…”

    Yeah, I was totally NOT meant to do that! It is tough to not let those comments affect you though!

    Great post. Thanks Matt

  5. Jon Stolpe says:

    I’m working on it. I think it’s a journey with steps of finding it along the way. Ultimately, my purpose is to bring glory to God.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Keep at it Jon…I know you will.

  6. brentmkelly says:

    Matt, I think finding our purpose is difficult as we constantly grow and learn. I have learned much about my strengths/weaknesses and likes/dislikes over the past several years. After spending 13 years in one industry, most people want to categorize me into a certain niche so when I express new ideas, they are often squashed. Fortunately, i have learned enough about myself to stand by what I believe in and follow my heart. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Dude that is awesome!

  7. Zech Newman says:

    Great write up Matt. I own two pizza places so people think I’m crazy for wanting to leave it for something different. The risk is to high. Bringing people hope through restoration of there faith and dreams is what I’m truly passionate about keep up the good work!

  8. Tom Dixon says:

    I’m a lot closer to finding my passion than I was even a year ago – it is a journey for sure. I just keep trying different things. I’ve let what other people think hold me back in the past – I agree, when the feedback is true we should acknowledge it…but an awful lot of the time the feedback is just WRONG.

  9. Steve Pate says:

    This awesome post open a few old wounds. I’ve been mulling on this one most of the day yesterday. As a kid and as a young man, there would be one or two people perfectly placed to tell me I won’t mount to much and the sad thing is, some of those people were relatives.

    But to answer your fist question, I did find purpose, its diffidently helping people grow! When I was running my business full time, most of my help would be high school age. And what i do at this current moment, most of my help is high school and college age. What I found, they have little knowledge or skills when it comes to work ethics. Its tons of fun to watch young adults to want to take on a project that they would never be allowed to do at home and give it their best try. Then to see them by the end of the summer taking control and making it their own.

    Thanks Matt for a place spill out too.

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