I was reminded of one of my favorite bosses last week as I was on an Alaskan Cruise. He was not a fan of cruises. He described a cruise as “Being in jail with a chance to drown”.

From his viewpoint, this was an absolutely true statement. While on a cruise you are dictated by a schedule that you cannot change. Once you are on the boat, you cannot leave and go home. You can’t adjust the schedule. You are stuck for the duration. Not only that, if there is a problem, you may drown. Lovely!

But as I observed people during the week I was cruising, I did not notice anyone that appeared that they felt they were in jail. Instead, I saw people that were enjoying themselves, having a once-in-a-life-time experience and making the very most of each moment of every day.

I relate this experience to the careers people choose and the jobs they perform on a daily basis. During my time in business I have observed people that felt trapped in their role, felt like they were in jail, with no options to change. What a miserable way to go through life.

In reality we all have choices about how we spend our time on this earth, and the career and jobs we choose to spend time working at. I would argue with anyone who doesn’t believe this. No one should waste away their life working at a job or in a retirement that they don’t fully enjoy.

Much of this feeling is dependent on our personal attitudes. In the cruise example, a person can either feel trapped, and choose to be miserable thinking about all the things they could be doing if they weren’t on the ship or that could wrong, or they can have a positive attitude noticing all the great people they can meet, the amazing sites they can see, and the chance to experience things they have never experienced before.

In a job, a person can choose to feel trapped, thinking that since they have spent so much of their life in this role that they now have no choice but to finish out their career. They become miserable and just go through each day, putting in their time, and not actively engaged in the purpose and work of the organization.  The same can happen in retirement. This situation is not good for the employee, the organization, or the individual in the case of retirement.

Here are steps to ensure that you are living your life to the fullest, fully enjoying every minute, and making a positive impact on the world:

  1. Discern your personal purpose and values. What strengths and talents has God gifted you with? What are you passionate about? What are your core values that you will not compromise? How will the world be different for you having been here? Answers to these questions will guide you in God’s calling on your life – Your purpose!
  2. Find an organization or role that you can live out your purpose and values. You will be most energized and want to fly out of bed and get to work when you are able to live out your purpose and values on a daily basis. I currently work with numerous organizations that are very intentional about hiring for values, and their employees are pumped to come to work so they can advance their own purpose and values, while advancing the purpose and values of the organization. Win-win!
  3. Commit to personal development in your areas of strength and passion. The more you develop your skills the more you will find enjoyment in what you do. The more successful you are the more you will enjoy your work. That won’t happen by accident. It takes intentional work and actions to get better!
  4. Choose to have a positive attitude. We all have a choice in how we show up to work each day. If we show up excited and enthusiastic about the possibilities of what can be accomplished that day, we will have a positive impact on others and the overall environment of the organization and the world. Your day will fly by!

So the question is this. What are you doing to put yourself in a situation that you can spend each day living out your purpose? Don’t settle for anything less than a scenario where you can’t wait to get up each day and make a positive difference in this world!

Mark Deterding

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?  1 Peter 3:13