I found my mission in life and how you can you find yours too

Mission in life. Maya Angelou quote

I was lucky to discover my mission in life at an early age.  In fact, I found more than one mission of a lifetime.

You may use the word “purpose” instead of mission. It doesn’t matter what you call it. What matters is that you have a mission and that you do everything you can to work toward and achieve that mission.

What is your mission in life? 

What is your purpose? What are your goals? As Simon Sinek says, “What is your why?”

Why are you here on this planet? Is your desire to just live a mediocre life and never experience true joy or fulfillment? Or, are you here to make the world a better place?

Watch the video below and listen to Simon Sinek explain how our “why” impacts everything we do:

You can be truly happy without living a mission-based life. Some of the happiest people in the world are in third world countries and live without all the modern conveniences we cherish. So happiness is truly achievable by anyone.

Happiness and fulfillment, though, are not equal. You can achieve happiness fairly easily. However, ending your life feeling fulfilled is a totally different story.

I hopefully have another 50 or 60 years until my life ends. When that day comes, I want to know I did everything to live a life of purpose.

Will you end your life feeling fulfilled or have a deep hole knowing you didn’t do what you could have?

Let’s take a look at my missions in life. I don’t go over these to say I’m a great person and deserve a pat on the back. Instead, I tell you of my life’s missions to hopefully encourage you to find your purpose.

My Number 1 Mission in Life

Imagine what it was like in 1991. (Everything I do) I do it for You, by Bryan Adams, was the number one song. Cheers was the most popular show on tv. 

I was 13 years old and in eighth grade. I was a tall, skinny nerd back then. Okay, some might say I wasn’t too much different than I am today.

In the break between classes one day, I was walking to my next class and talking with my best friend. The halls were filled with young awkward teenagers, me being no exception. 

Down the hall ahead of us, was this absolutely gorgeous girl. She had this air of perfection around her. There was nothing awkward about her. And, I only saw her from behind. 

I asked my friend who that girl was. He was astonished I didn’t know. “That’s Denise; she’s the hottest, most popular girl in school. How do you not know who she is?”

I had never seen her before. I guess she hadn’t been in any of my classes. She couldn’t have been; I would have noticed her.

“I’ve never met her before but I’m going to marry her one day,” I exclaimed.

Then my friend laughed at me. 

He had every right to laugh at me. I was a nerd. She was smoking hot. I had no chance with a girl like that. To this point in my life, I had never even had a girlfriend, unless you count the girl from kindergarten who I still dreamed about.

Then, Denise turned around. She looked back down the hall toward us. I don’t know that she looked directly at me but I believe she did.

I saw a sparkle in her eyes that was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Her smile automatically made the school a brighter, better place. She was an angel disguised as a teenager.

Yes, I was going to marry that girl one day. It became the first big mission in my life.

The Definition of Insanity

Since it was so long ago, I don’t remember how we ended up meeting. We must have had a class together. Regardless, we met and we quickly became friends.

In fact, we became best friends. Was it plutonic? Maybe for her but definitely not for me. I wanted to be more than just friends.

We shared secrets with each other that we wouldn’t tell anyone else. We wrote notes to each other every day (remember, this is before cell phones so texting was not an option). In fact, we wrote notes to each other multiple times a day.

Because my mission in life was to marry her, I did everything I could to get her to “go out” with me. I asked her to be my girlfriend over and over again. And, over and over again she said no. 

I was insane. I kept doing the same thing but expected a different result. No matter how many times I asked, she said no. In fact, I remember at least one occasion that it made her cry that she had to tell me no again.

She just wanted to be friends.

We were too good of friends for us to be together. 

That didn’t stop me from dreaming of being with her. I would continue to suffer from insanity. I kept asking.

Thankfully, my insanity did not ruin our friendship. We grew closer each year. 

Thankfully I didn’t just sit around and grovel all the time. That would have driven us both mad. Instead, she had boyfriends. I had girlfriends. But, I would have dropped any of those girls in a heartbeat if she would have said yes. 

Looking back I actually feel guilty about that. How could I have a girlfriend but know someone else would trump her? I don’t know but I did.

She was the one for me. 

We were such good friends that we shared lockers three of four years in high school. I continued to ask her on dates (and sometime she accepted) even though we went as “friends.” Anytime I could be close to her was good enough for me.

Then, we walked together at high school graduation. This was the happiest day of my life. I clearly remember walking down the football field and reaching down to hold her hand as we walked. She looked over at me and smiled.

It was a crazy, brave move for me. Her college boyfriend was in the stands. My girlfriend (who went to a different school) was in the stands. It didn’t matter to me. I was holding hands with my soul mate.

Losing Touch

Unfortunately, we went our separate ways after that glorious day of high school graduation. I went away to college. Denise stayed home and played softball in college. 

We led our own lives. We didn’t talk for probably three years. 

Still, if I knew she would say yes, I would have dropped everything to be with her. She was what mattered most to me then and for my future. 

The Reconnection

Not that long into my senior year of college, I received an email forward. For those of you who don’t remember, forwards were the popular means by which to send interesting stories or jokes. This was before Facebook and cell phones. 

In this forward, I scanned the email addresses of its recipients to see if any of my friends were  included. To my surprise, I saw an email address that might be Denise’s.

On a whim, I sent an email to that address to verify whether it belonged to Denise. To my surprise and delight, it was! 

We then started emailing each other and instant messaging each other through AOL. We rekindled that friendship we had for so many years before. It was like we lost no time at all.

We would see each other when I came home from school. We were just friends of course. That’s what she wanted. I still wanted to marry her though.

Nothing would stop me from marrying her one day.

The Moment I Dreamed Of 

After graduation, I moved back home with my parents. I wasn’t beginning my accounting career until late that upcoming July. So, between graduation and my start date, I lived it up.

Late one night, I was on the computer and checked AOL and Denise was on-line. We started talking and I asked if I could just come over to see her rather than instant messaging each other. 

It was really late when I got to her house. She had to get up and work the next morning. The time didn’t matter because we talked for hours. It was the best conversation we’d had in years. Then, it happened.

I kissed her. She kissed me. It was the best day ever!

I knew right then that we would be together forever. She would marry me just as I had dreamed.

Focus on My Mission in Life

I won’t go into all the details here but our path was a little rocky. But, I followed one course until successful – FOCUS. Again, I didn’t take no for an answer. She was the love of my life whether she recognized it or not.

Eventually, we became serious. She realized friendship mattered in relationship and fell in love with me. Then I popped the question…and she said yes. 

Eleven long years after we first met, she agreed to marry me. My mission in life was coming to fruition. 

Two years later, we said “I Do!”

For those of you who may not believe my story of love since 13, I want to prove it to you. Remember how I said we wrote notes to each other all during high school? I kept every one of them. 

Yes, i had shoeboxes full of notes from our high school days. I even kept all of our email correspondence from our first email exchange to the last one before our wedding day. 

I put all those notes and emails into a binder and gave that to Denise as a wedding present. I wanted to prove to her, in case she didn’t already know, how seriously in love with her I had always been.

Mission in life

My Mission in Life Was Not Complete

I dreamed of marrying Denise for 13 years. If she would have married me when we were 13, I would have done it. 

I was so naive that I thought marrying her was my mission in life. It wasn’t. My true mission in life was to make her happy for the rest of her life.

My mission in life is truly a life-long mission. I still want to make her happy. I still strive to make her happy. That is a great mission in life.

Second Mission in Life

When I started my career on July 31, 2000, I had no idea what public accounting was. My education at Harding University prepared me well for the technical aspects of accounting.

However, the practice of public accounting was a mystery to me. I accepted the job but didn’t know what to expect. 

I decided on accounting as a college major and a career because of my introvert personality. I wanted to sit behind a computer all day and not talk to anyone. I was pretty much the stereotypical accountant.

Public accounting forced me out of that shell. From day one on the job, I had to talk to people. It was very uncomfortable for me for a while. 

I had to communicate with co-workers but also CEOs and CFOs of our clients. Talk about intimidating to a 22 year old kid.

As soon as I discovered I liked the people aspect of the job, I knew I wanted to be a partner in my firm. It would be a long and challenging road but I was up to the task.

Focus on My Mission in Life

Year and after, I did more to develop myself into someone who would be suited to be a partner. I modeled myself after the partners I worked for. I accepted every assignment I could.

Becoming a partner was truly my focus and mission in life. Until I got married in 2004, having a singular focus of being a partner was okay. After I got married, I needed to make Denise a priority.

Making her happy was my primary mission in life.

Unfortunately, I messed up a lot in my quests. I worked too much and was not home enough. Even after having three kids, I followed the course I thought I needed to so I could become a partner in the firm.

I sacrificed my family for my job. Shame on me!

The Tough Decision

Denise was patient and supportive. Eventually, though, she had to say something. She finally did. I had to change. You can read about what happened by clicking on the following link:

I decided to change careers and this is what I did next

It was in the best interest of my family that I leave public accounting. I needed to put my family first. For too long I had lost the more important mission in life to achieve another, but less important, mission. 

Thankfully, I refocused my energy and talked with people and decided to stay in the industry I loved. My focus, though, was no longer going to be on my career and mission to become a partner. It was going to be my family.

The interesting thing is that when I changed my focus from work to my family, my productivity and success at work increased dramatically.

It taught me one thing in particular. A well-rounded person is better than a person solely focused on one thing. It’s one of the reasons I’ve coined the following phrase:

“You can’t work too hard; you can only work too much.”

The Wait

It’s been right at a year since I made the decision to stay in public accounting and continue to chase my dream of being a partner. 

With a renewed mindset, the year has flown by. In almost every way, the year has been a success. 

I reached personal bests in sales of services for the year, thoroughly enjoyed working with my team, spent much more time with my family and worked fewer hours and weekends.

The only thing missing from this year was being elected as a partner. That’s okay. It’s frustrating but it’s okay. There is always next year.

Focus on My Mission in Life

I thought marrying my wife was the achievement of a mission. It wasn’t. It was just the beginning of a mission of striving for true happiness.

Similarly, I know making partner will not be the final accomplishment in my career. It will be just the beginning. After becoming a partner, I will want to achieve even more important things and have other professional goals.

Until then, though, making partner is my focus in my career.

The Third and Most Important Mission in My Life

The first mission in my life became apparent when I was 13 years old. The most important mission in life appeared when I was baptized at 14. 

That mission in life was to lead the life of a Christian. Literally, I wanted to be Christlike. 

I was raised in the church by Christian parents. I had great Christian friends and I had a God who wanted me to love him. 

While I have not led a perfect life, my life-long (and it truly will be life-long) mission is to lead a Christ-centered, sacrificial, service-based life.

I’ve done fairly well in my life from a spiritual perspective. Fortunately, I understand I can be better and do more. 

Do you know what the happiest day of my life has been? 

What is the happiest day of your life? Was it your wedding day? Maybe the day your first child was born? 

Those are tremendous and happy occasions and should be celebrated. Those are close to the top of my list but they are not number one.

The happiest day in my life was the day my wife was baptized into Christ. Why is that more important than the day I was baptized? It’s because with her by my side as a Christian, I know my daughters will grow up in a Christian household, with Christian parents and will learn what God’s will is for them.

A Christian’s mission should be to help make other Christians. I pray my daughters will follow in our footsteps.

Missions Is My Mission

Since Christians should be focused on helping make other Christians, I wanted to do something special to help others do that too.

The church is the most important institution in my life. My church family is a great influence on me, my family and our local community. In fact, because of the missionary work my local congregation supports, we are a tremendous influence on the world.

What could I do that could also influence the world?

I discovered the answer to that question around the same time I reset my attitude and rediscovered my passion for life. It’s amazing how clearly we can think when we remove negativity from our thoughts.

My answer to the question of how I could influence the world was to make it easier for other Christians to do mission work.

I am not a highly knowledgeable Bible scholar, am definitely not a professional preacher and do not particularly enjoy talking with people I don’t know.

That wasn’t going to stop me from helping make it easier for others to do mission work.

The Birth of ObedientFaith.com

When I was speaking at my alma mater, Harding University, in October of 2014, I approached the Chair of the Accounting Department about the potential of using students to help develop an online business. 

My original thought was to use this as a case study so that students could receive college credit for working on the project. We couldn’t get that worked out through the school but we did figure out how to create and fund a small scholarship so we could at least pay some students for their time.

Beginning in the second week of the Spring 2015 semester, Dr. Phil Brown, three Harding University students hand-picked by Dr. Brown and I started working together.

Each week of the semester (except during Spring Break) we had a 45 minute conference call to take my idea and create an online company. 

These students were amazing. Their ideas were amazing. Their energy was amazing. 

These three students were so focused on helping grow the church by making other Christians that ObedientFaith.com had to be successful.

After weekly conference calls, hours working between conference calls and a collaborative in-person Saturday meeting on campus, ObedientFaith.com was born on June 10, 2015.

What is ObedientFaith?

The mission of ObedientFaith.com is:

ObedientFaith.com is an online resource for Christians seeking to grow spiritually while spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. We provide unique and practical how-to content to help the church grow.

We want to help others live faith through action.

While we eventually want ObedientFaith.com to be an online resource for everything related to church growth, we began with a focus of mission work. 

obedientfaith.com logo

Missions Is Our Mission

The ObedientFaith team developed three tiers of products to help people be more effective in their mission work. You can view the products at obedientfaith.com/store.

We are also in the midst of developing mission-related resources for every country in the world. Each country page contains specific data and links to other online resources specific to that country. 

The most exciting facet of the site is the blog where we have missionaries from around the world writing about their mission-related experiences. Each article that relates to a particular country will also be included on that country’s resource page.

Through the site, we want to help everyone, even you, be encouraged to do mission work. Mission work does not mean going to Africa or South America. You can do mission work at home, your school, anywhere.

Your friends and family need to know the Truth just as much as the people in third world countries. We are all responsible for doing God’s work.

My Missions Continue

You’ve just read about my three missions in life. They truly will be my focus for the remainder of my years. 

I vow to continue to love my wife and increase her happiness, work my hardest to provide the most value to my clients (and thus achieve success as a partner) and be Christ-like in every aspect.

What Are Your Missions in Life?

Have you discovered your mission in life? Maybe you’d rather call it your purpose. Have you found it?

Living a life of purpose is the only surefire way to feel fulfilled when life ends. 

No one dies regretting having not spent more time working. Instead, people regret not spending time with loved ones, enjoying the experiences life has to offer and living their purpose.

Question for you:  What is your mission in life? Influence others by answering that question on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Five tips to prepare for busy season

5 tips to prepare for busy season

Busy season got its name for a reason. In reality, for most CPAs in public accounting, it should be called “it’s-so-busy-that-we-don’t-get-to-see-our-families-or-sleep-or-eat-or-exercise-time-of-year.”

CPAs in public accounting may go from working 40 or 45 hours a week to more than 70 or 80 hours. Of course, there are those in the profession who work 70 or more hours every week of the year.

Continue reading Five tips to prepare for busy season

I decided to change careers and this is what I did next

Life is too short to not enjoy it.
Do you believe that? Do you truly believe it?
If you did, you wouldn’t get so fed up every day about all the things you HAVE to do. Instead, you’d fill your day with things you enjoy.
I’m just as guilty as you at dwelling on the negative rather than focusing on the positive aspects of life. My days are (rather, they were) filled with dread because of paperwork, bureaucracy and routine. Does that sound familiar to you?

Continue reading I decided to change careers and this is what I did next

The GROWTH acronym you’ve been searching for

It’s the end of a year and close to the beginning of the next. During this time of year, people discontinue their focus on the current year and just wait for the next to begin.
Are you one of those people?
Are you telling yourself that you’ll start again at the beginning of the year? Regardless of what you want, you can wait until the beginning of January. Is that what you say?
Why do we do this to ourselves? You’ve been guilty of this and so have I. What’s the deal!

Continue reading The GROWTH acronym you’ve been searching for

A life of intention leads to a better and more enjoyable life

a life of intention

Do you do every day what you want to do? Or, like most people, do you do what you feel like you have to do every day?

If you answered yes to the first question, your answers to the following questions should be yes as well. Are they?
1. Do you wake up without an alarm or at least at a time you WANT to wake up?
2. Do you have time to eat, and choose to, eat breakfast?
3. Do you go to work at a place you enjoy, doing work you love with people you admire?
4. Do you leave work when you want?
5. Do you take the time in the evening to enjoy time with your family?
6. Do you go to sleep when your body tells you it’s ready?

Continue reading A life of intention leads to a better and more enjoyable life