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  • leightonkennedy

Purpose Crosses Disciplines

This is for my peers who may find themselves in a similar place, trying to build out a dream. But I also think this applies to all of our lives, jobs, and goals. Also, there is a lot of noise in the “self-help” department, and I don’t want this to feel like another soulless lecture on improving your life. This is purely an epiphany I had recently that gave me some peace and clarity, and I hope it will do the same for you.

The phrase Purpose Crosses Disciplines comes from a commencement speech by Chadwick Boseman in 2018. I absolutely can't take credit for this wisdom, only show how it has impacted me. I recommend listening to the whole speech. The context he uses this phrase is referencing the importance of finding your Purpose and following your faith, beyond choosing one career path or job. This is a fantastic topic to study, and I encourage you to think about whether or not you work for your career or for your Purpose.

However, I am interpreting Chadwick’s phrase in a different way today. Purpose crosses disciplines. We all have different purposes unique to each season of our lives. My purpose, as I write this as a single entrepreneur, is very different from my friend’s who is married and expecting a baby any day now, or the purpose I will have in five years.

At the beginning of this year, I felt a strong pull to the word “action.” I had spent the previous year and a half in a different career, building out my dream business, and finally changing from my job to pursuing this business full-time. It was a period of building. But when I ended 2021, I knew I hadn’t taken action enough. I knew that 2022 would be a big year of change, the “make-it-or-break-it” year, where my actions would mean success or failure. This action mentality applied to my business life, but also my personal life.

So, let me paint you a picture: I started 2022 full of excitement, passion, and 1,001 goals. I would, of course, achieve them all. Because I had predestined this year to be labeled as “action,” everything else would supernaturally fall into place, like the plot of a novel.

It did not unfold this way. Naturally.

I quickly realized that having 1,001 goals was overwhelming and impossible. I was pairing business goals with personal goals, relational goals, physical goals. I kept juggling new goals with old goals, when one day I wearily said, “I can’t take on another goal.” How was I supposed to do all of this?

That’s when Chadwick’s words came to me: Purpose crosses disciplines. Not disciplines as in careers, but the disciplines we all live out everyday. Our job is a discipline. Our relationships are a discipline. Our faith is a discipline. Our physical health is a discipline. Our mental health is a discipline. Our hobbies are a discipline. Whether it’s the Purpose that overarches our whole lives, or the purpose that is individual to this season, our purposes cross all the disciplines.

I knew that, despite feeling burnt out, my purpose for this year was still to take action.

I realized I didn’t actually have 1,001 things to accomplish or master. I realized I just had one thing: take action.

In every task ahead of me: take action

In every hour of my day: take action

In every hard decision: take action

In every habit to stop or uphold: take action

Taking action doesn’t always look like doing something, either. Sometimes, taking action is saying no to plans, or a job, or a distraction. Sometimes taking action is choosing to rest and be patient.

What is your purpose right now? Are you at a crossroads period, where you must make decisions so often you feel dizzy from all the changes? Are you on a crazy train of no work-life balance, where your purpose is to build out a healthier lifestyle? Are you feeling lost and unsure in your career, and need to take time to dig deep about what your calling is?

You may feel like you have a thousand things to do, or maybe just one big choice. And more often than not, these tasks or choices don’t stay in one discipline of our lives. The choices you make in work will affect your relationships. The choices you make in your spiritual or mental lives will affect your physical health. The purpose of this season crosses those disciplines, whether or not you want them to. I think it’s time for you to make that one-line to-do list. What is it you need to do? And how does it apply to your whole life?

I hope this makes you feel less overwhelmed. I hope this inspires you to pick that dream back up, and become passionate about it again. I hope this idea cuts through the noise, and points back to that big thing you’re working on or dreaming about.


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