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John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    Purpose, Patience and Preparation: 5 Principles for Success

    Everyone has a purpose, but not everyone will recognize it and fulfill it. And one of the biggest reasons why is because they won’t have the patience to go through the process to see it come to pass. Joe is a good example of how practicing patience and preparation ultimately led to fulfilling his purpose.

    Joe grew up the youngest of four brothers on the family farm in the Midwest. His father owned herds of cattle and while they weren’t poor, they were far from rich. One day Joe had a dream that he would be running a multi-million-dollar company and make a distinctive impact on millions of people. Different from any other dream, this one was vivid and clear. The next morning, he remembered every detail of it and couldn’t shake the feeling that somehow this meant something. Now this seemed the farthest thing from reality because none of Joe’s brothers had gone to college or left the family business, and there was no expectation that he would either.

    When Joe was in his late teens, his father died suddenly. He had never had a good relationship with his older brothers, and once his father was gone, his brothers made it clear that they didn’t want him around. He always had different ideas on how to run the farm; ideas they didn’t support. And, while his father was patient and saw the value in his proposals, they didn’t. Dejected and grieving, Joe decided to move several hundred miles away to the city to find a job.

    He was fortunate to find a position working in a manufacturing plant. While there, his management skills and his ability to quickly learn the business and apply innovative approaches caught the eye of his boss. He was promoted a number of times over the course of the next ten years until he became the plant manager, responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. One day, the owner came to him furious because a recent audit uncovered that someone had altered the plant financial records, siphoning off millions of dollars. Unfortunately, all evidence pointed to Joe, and while it wasn’t true, and he suspected his operations manager was the culprit, he had no proof. He was indicted, convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

    While there, the prison warden again recognized his strong management skills and entrusted him to literally run the prison operations. Even the guards came to him for direction on how to handle certain situations. One day a prominent businessman entered the prison system, also wrongfully convicted of a crime. He and Joe became friends as they discussed various business strategies. This businessman had powerful attorneys appealing his conviction and within six months they were successful in having it overturned and gaining his release. Joe asked the businessman to help him gain his release too.

    More years passed, the businessman forgot about him, but Joe continued to faithfully work for the warden, continuing to learn and ensuring that the prison was run efficiently. By this time the businessman’s company was in severe financial trouble due to an economic downturn. As he was thinking about changes that he needed to make in his leadership team to make a strategic shift, he remembered the bright young man he met in prison and his unique perspective and ideas. As far-fetched as it seemed, the businessman knew that he needed Joe to join his team. But was it possible to get him out of prison?

    He instructed his attorneys to dig into why Joe was there in the first place. They discovered that the original attorneys handling Joe’s case had not thoroughly investigated the situation. The new attorneys were able to uncover evidence leading to the real perpetrator. Joe was subsequently released from prison and his conviction was overturned. He was free!

    The businessman then hired him to be the COO of his company. Joe employed those same strategies discussed years earlier while the two were in prison and turned the company around so that within three years, their revenues had doubled. He became a well-respected leader in the industry, known for innovative approaches and sound management practices.

    Joe had no legitimate reason to believe that he would accomplish his dream. He didn’t have the educational pedigree like so many others in similar positions. He didn’t grow up in the right social circles. He didn’t work his way up the corporate ladder. But he was able to employ the skills he learned on the farm in a different setting.

    Patience and Preparation

    Joe also demonstrated two important qualities that optimized growth into his purpose: patience and preparation. Patience is actively learning based on the moment you’re in. Exercising patience confirms that you move forward in your purpose at the right time based on your ability and maturity to handle it. Learning patience includes learning to reflect on your experiences. Preparation is what you do while you’re being patient. This is when you focus on the experiences in front of you, even when they don’t quite seem to be relevant to your purpose. Often you find that the applicability of these experiences become clearer with time. You will also realize the road to purpose may take far longer and be more painful and difficult than you think it should be. But it’s all part of the process.

    Importantly, patience and preparation teach you five key principles of purpose.

    1. CAPABILITY: Just because you know your purpose doesn’t mean you possess the skillset to fulfill it.
    2. TIMING: Just because you know your purpose doesn’t mean the timing is right to move forward with it.
    3. PROCESS: Just because you know your purpose doesn’t mean that you know the right steps to take to manifest it.
    4. PERSPECTIVE: Just because you know your purpose, doesn’t mean that you fully comprehend it.
    5. IMPACT: Just because you know your purpose doesn’t mean that you understand the outcome of it.

    As you consider the glimpse of your future, the inkling of your purpose, you know it won’t be easy to get there. You will experience setbacks but embracing and learning from those difficulties will make you stronger and more effective. Use these principles to understand the importance of practicing patience and preparation to walk in your life’s purpose.

    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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