Life Design Essential #2: Name Your Personal Life Calling

We live in a world where every artificial thing is designed. Whether it is the car we ride in, the streets we drive on, the lights that illuminate the road, or the building that is our destination, some person or group of people had to decide on the layout, operation, and mechanisms of the journey described above.

Your life has a design, too.

Design doesn’t just work for cars and roads and streetlights and buildings, and all the hundreds of thousands of components that make those things up. You can use design thinking to discover the life God has uniquely created for you. It is a life that is meaningful, joyful, and fulfilling.

Several years ago, Auxano founder Will Mancini launched Life Younique, a training company that certifies church leaders to offer gospel-centered life design through their church. Will, along with co-founder Dave Rhodes, is passionate about helping people get life mission right – what exactly is the best way to know and name what God has created you to do?

THE QUICK SUMMARY – More by Todd Wilson

More meets Christians where they’re at, acknowledging the roots of their discontent and demonstrating how to move from inspiration and desire into action. Church strategist and ministry activator Todd Wilson shows how all believers can live more abundant lives around the uniqueness of how they were made and what they are called to do.

Introducing a memorable vocabulary and an easy-to-use practical framework, More equips readers to embark on a journey of discovering their unique personal calling. It enables readers to answer three of the most important and profound questions we all naturally ask.

(1) “Who am I created to be?”

(2) “What am I created to do?”

(3) “Where am I to be best positioned to do it?”

The integrated answers to these key questions—the BE-DO-GO of a person’s life—represent the core dimensions of personal calling. Inspiring and challenging, More gives readers permission and encouragement to engage in the journey God has solely for them.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

“Many people aren’t living the life they were meant to live because they don’t know who they are or what gifts God has given them.” The author of those words, Tom Paterson, goes on to say, “God has a plan for your life. In creating who you are, God simultaneously built into your life what you are to do.”

Redefine every day with the deep sense of knowing your special assignment from God.

We are called not just to follow Jesus (common call to all people) but we are called to accomplish something specific as a one-of-a-kind saint (your special assignment from God).

Your mission in life is something created, designed, and given by God.

Our primary or general calling gives us the fullness of Jesus and a context for what we are to accomplish when we go. This overflows to our secondary or unique calling, equipping us to play our unique part. This comes, not by force of will, but rather as a movement of love, one act of kindness at a time.

Our unique identity of BE is the first element in our secondary or unique personal calling. We must discover it, embrace it, and allow it to guide how we steward the time, talent, treasure, and influence God gives us in doing good works and deeds. It is from the overflow of our unique design that God brings our unique good works to life.

While we can never completely define the fullness of our uniqueness, we can seek to express it in a short phrase. Our unique identity is a word or phrase that seeks to capture the fullness of our unique design in very simple terms. You might be a creative storyteller, or an encouraging coach, or a restorer of broken relationships, or a collaborative networker. The possibilities and descriptor are endless and reflect the breadth of God’s creativity brought to life in our uniqueness.

How do we discover our unique identity? We look for clues. In coaching people to discover their unique design, several practical tips have proven helpful. These include:

Our lives are like a book. The clues of our unique identity are spread throughout the story being written in our lives, from birth to now.

The clues transcend all domains of life including personal, family, work, church, and community. The characteristics are illuminated 24/7. We can’t turn them off.

There are assessment tools we can use to help uncover and then magnify the clues.

Todd Wilson, More

A NEXT STEP

Write each phrase above in bold on three chart tablets. Use the comments below, adapted from More author Todd Wilson, to help you explore each phrase. Write you thoughts on the chart tablet as you process them.

Our lives are like a book. If we desire clarity on who we are and where our story is headed, we should first look to the past for clues revealed in what’s already been lived. The clues scattered throughout our past shed light on God’s unique workmanship and his divine plans for our future.

Recall moments in your past that stand out vividly in your imagination. List them on the chart tablet, and consider what deeper insights they can reveal to you in who you are uniquely made to be.

The clues transcend all domains of life. Write the following “domains” of life on the chart tablet: personal, family, work, church, and community. The story of your life (#1) will have core characteristics that jump into action across many, if not all, of our domains of life. Write these down under each domain.

Assessment tools. There are numerous self-assessment tools that can enhance your discovery and understanding of your personal wiring. You’ve probably completed several over the years.

Refer to assessments you have done and can access, and write the top three to five characteristics from each that you agree with.

Group similar or like words into a single word or short phrase that best describes each.

Does the resulting word or short phrase resonate with you and help you clarify your personal life calling?

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 101-2, released September 2018.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting excerpts from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix book excerpts for church leaders.

Each issue SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

>> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How to Apply the Great Secret of Having FOCUS in Life

My life’s greatest secret: I don’t work hard, I work focused.

(But don’t tell anyone.)

By introducing the simple power of a 90-day goal I am doing double duty with two current series. First, we are continuing to review the7 Essential Life Design Skills that I launched for the New Year. Second, I am encouraging folks to join me in a 90-day adventure of sorts by writing down 100 Life Dreams by this Easter. So I am inviting you to think about it and act on it in the same post!

Let’s cover the 7 Essential Life Skills idea first: The 90-day goal is at the heart of Essential Life Design Skill #6, Achieve Your Next Goal: bring laser focus to the most important next step in your life, over and over again. Today I want to introduce you to this essential skill with the first-ever excerpt from the forthcoming book, Younique.

You may have noticed that I released a new book last month called Clarity Spiral: The 4 Break-Thru Practices to Find the One Thing You’re Called to DoClarity Spiral is about the first essential life design skill for how to Engage Your Vocational Vision. It is a prerelease to the much bigger book Younique which will cover all of the life design skills. If you haven’t checked it out yet, the book is FREE as a downloadable PDF. (It is also now available to buy as paperback version)

Now if you have been following along with the #LifeDesignWithMe project (started 14 days ago) you already know that the 90-day window of life is very important to me. Over five years ago, when I put the toolbox together that is now the Younique Experience, a personal calling and life planning system for followers of Christ, one bedrock tool is the utilization of the 90-day season of success. Everything we do at Younique is built around a lifetime march in 90-day increments.

That’s why I am in Aspen for 90-days fulfilling one of my most dramatic bucket list goals–to snowboard 50 days in one season. That’s the fun and playful part of the next 90 days for me, but its not the only part (I’ll post more on that later.) The point is that I want you to not only start thinking about 90-days, but to join me in accomplishing a 90-day goal for yourself: To write down your own Life Dreams List with 100 well-developed, take-it-serious life dreams before this Easter.

Come on and let’s do this together! #100Dreams

Now back to the excerpt from my forthcoming book: Younique, Designing the Life God Dreamed for You.

There is something about a 90-day period—approximately one quarter of a year—that is entwined deeply with the operating system of human beings. Ninety days is roughly the length of a season in temperate climes. It is about the length of a school semester and the span of the business quarter.

Ninety days also has the intriguing characteristic of being just out of reach. It is far enough away from the here-and-now to imply a substantial journey but close enough that we can cross it with a solid burst. It is enough time for an individual to accomplish something truly significant. You would not believe what people can achieve in three months.

Top Nine Big Accomplishments in 90 Days

  1. A Moscow architectural firm will build you an environmentally friendly, 1,300-square-foot home within 90 days of order.

  2. Boot camp makes a recruit into a Marine in just under 90 days.

  3. Thru-hikers walk the Pacific Northwest Trail from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean within 90 days.

  4. A human baby in utero is fully formed and can open and close its hands and mouth by 90 days after its conception.

  5. Blogger Maneesh Sethi developed and lived out a plan to become fluent in a new language (in his case, Italian) in 90 days.

  6. John Steinbeck wrote the first draft of The Grapes of Wrath in 90 days in 1938.

  7. In 2004-05, Frenchman Vincent Riou became the first to sail around the world in a monohull vessel, solo, in under 90 days.

  8. On July 8, 1914, the Boston Braves baseball club had a record of 29-40, dead last in the National League. Over the next 90 days they won a whopping 74% of their games to win the league pennant and eventually a World Series championship.

  9. Mozart composed two piano trios; a violin sonata; two piano sonatas, including his most famous; his last three symphonies, arguably his greatest; and three other pieces of music in 90 days in 1788.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How to Create Your Own 30-Minute 10-10 List

Four days ago, I kicked off the #LifeDesignWithMe 90-day adventure.

The goal is to lift your life aspirations to the point that you can name literally 100 Life Dreams. That’s right—I know it sounds crazy.

But I will show you how. And you will thank me later. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

The process of disciplined dreaming is not new to me. But I want to model a simple 10-10 List as if I am doing it for the first time.

So on the airplane today I spent the first 30 minutes and wrote down the first 10 things that I am thankful to God for that He enabled me to accomplish in life. Then I wrote down 10 things that have been in my mind but that I have never written down that I would like to do. (Even though I have lots of stuff on my bucket list already, there are always new Life Dreams emerging. Eventually you will find that 100 Life Dreams is a small list!!!)

10 Things by God’s grace I’m glad I accomplished:

  1. I collected almost every Lincoln penny before 5th grade. I was a nerd and didn’t care. (I still need a 1909 v.d.b. Lincoln cent.)
  2. I got a job at a ski shop (the Ski Bum in Chadds Ford, PA) in high school to live the dream of opening a mountain biking department for the store. I thought It was my only way to afford my own bike, but my parents bought me one for my college graduation!
  3. Harvey Nowland invited me to preach at the Willowdale Chapel as a untrained college student. I was scared to death, but I did it. It was on the topic of eternal perspective.
  4. I completed a 5-year ThM from Dallas Seminary due to the gracious support of 4 individuals; the Tebo’s, the Vansant’s and my Uncle Tom and Aunt Diane.
  5. I followed God’s prompting to start an evangelist bible study in League City, TX and 10 neighborhood couples showed up. It was the most life-changing small group I led as a full-time pastor.
  6. I started my own consulting company at age 35, and it worked (Auxano). Several people inspired me to do this including, Howard Hendricks, Tom Haynes, Aldie Beard, Kevin McCarthy and Aubrey Malphurs.
  7. My mentor Aubrey Malphurs invited me to co-author a book with him (Building Leaders). That would change my life.
  8. I took my first 3 kids (now I have 4) on a week long snowboarding adventure every other year growing up after Jacob turned age nine.
  9. I took my wife Romy on an a “life dream”trip to Santorini. We clapped and cheered every night for 7 perfect sunsets. (Many people considered it a risky time to go to Greece but I’m so glad I went!)
  10. I spent a “dream week on the beach” with my Mom and Dad for their 50th wedding anniversary to celebrate their amazing love for one another and the godly heritage they passed on to our family.

10 Things that are in my head that I have not written down yet:

  1. I want to take an art history course.
  2. I want to partner with a friend to do more real estate investments.
  3. I want to further activate my wife’s amazing capacity to “express compassion” through a third world ministry experience.
  4. I want to create an evangelism tool that uses the meaning of names to start spiritual conversations.
  5. I want to be painter some day.
  6. I want to remove every barrier to being with all of my children, their spouses and their children at the same time, one week per year.
  7. I want to take an interior decorating class. (Don’t judge me.)
  8. I want to regularly get 20 feet of air on kite board.
  9. I want to design my own super sustainable home that can go off-grid after I hit age 60.
  10. I want to start a church training center that trains 18 church leaders every week for 40 weeks a year.

Alright, stop stalling. Quit dabbling. Please don’t settle any longer. Dreaming is free. Get started. Write your 10-10 List now. It took me 30 minutes and it moved me to tears. What are you waiting for?

When you are finished send me a picture!!!

> Read more from Will.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How to Get Started on Your 100 Life Dreams List

Recently I launched a 90-day journey to equip and encourage you to develop a 100 Life Dreams List. My inspiration is a special life design experiment that I am conducting by living in Aspen Colorado for 3 months this winter. It just so happens that snowboarding 50 days in one season is one of my life dreams. So while I work and ride and spend some really special time with my family, I am going to be posting all kinds of stuff to help you.

So what’s the first step? I’m glad you asked.

STEP ONE

There are two things I want you to do today to get started. The first step is to calendar block 6 hours between now and Good Friday (April 19, 2019). That is exactly 90-days. You can do that 3 ways or any combination that works best for your rhythm of reflection and planning.

  • 30 minutes a week
  • 2 hours a month
  • one day in the next 90 days

The greatest barrier to doing anything with intentional living is that we don’t calendar block in advance. I use the term “calendar blocking” a lot. It’s just my way to describe scheduling. But I like the emphasis on “blocking out” the most important things in your life. The urgent things in life will always eclipse the important things if we don’t. How can I prove that? How many dreams do you have written down right now?

STEP TWO

Every person has some things already accomplished in their life and some things rumbling around their mind and heart that they want to do. So I want you to get started on your 100 Life Dreams List by creating a much simpler “10-10 List. Your 10-10 List is a list of ten things you have previously accomplished in life (think prior bucket list items) and ten things that you have already thought of that you want to do in your lifetime (think bucket list stuff that’s yet to be done.) Think of it as a way to jump start your journey of bigger dreaming. Take 20-30 minutes to create the list.

Your 10-10 List is important for three reasons:

  1. It primes the pump of gratitude as you look back over your life. To establish future dreaming as an act of worship it helps to look back and celebrate God’s known and experienced goodness. What has God enabled you to do? What are you thankful for the most? Who has he brought in your life to inspire or guide you? How has he provided? For example, I was able to become an author in 2004, because my friend and mentor Aubrey Malphurs invited me to co-author the book Building Leaders. I had no platform at all and Aubrey played a crucial role in helping me transition from pastoring to consulting.
  2. It is practice to start writing things down. It’s amazing how the failure to write things down prevents us from experiencing the best opportunities of life. Practice writing. Do so by using your favorite means to record your ideas. Get a fresh journal. Use your favorite app. But whatever you do, write your ideas down. I just purchased a new 90-day journal because the Younique team is still in the development process of creating our own 90-day planner for Younique’s Life Making Cycle. In that journal I have my one 90-day goal and my 4 NOW rhythms (I will be sprinkling in and introducing you to some of the Younique lingo and tools on this journey.)
  3. Realize that as a human being you are by God’s design a dreamer. You remind yourself of this amazing reality by writing down the things that are already in your mind. Where has God already led you? You were born with creativity an imagination as a birthright. So bask in that truth. For further inspiration you can download the first chapter of my God Dreams book at the “Get Now” tab on this page. What are your current aspirations? What kind of person have you wanted to become? What kinds of things have you already planned to do? For example I want to use this next 90 days to capture the stories of 100 people who actually completed writing down 100 life dreams for the first time. That’s a dream of having 10,000 new dreams in the world by Easter. (Will you be one of those 100?) #100Dreams

So those are your two simple steps to get this party started with me. Schedule 6-hours for thinking, reflecting and writing. And start by making your 10-10 List. I will have some downloadable tools as we walk this journey together. But for your 10-10 List, I want you to practice using your own tool for writing stuff down.

Please stay in touch over the course of this 90-days. If you are around Colorado, come on over to Aspen and let’s talk about your dreams over lunch. Follow all of the content that is coming by connecting to me on you favorite social channels.

Before I sign off today to hit the slopes today, if you think you are going to have a role change or significant transition in your vocational calling this year, you might want to check out the free eBook that I just released entitled Clarity Spiral. It’s all about finding your ONE THING in life.

> Read more from Will.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

FREE Clarity Spiral ebook: An Overview of the 4 Break-Thru Practices to Find Your One Thing in Life

As promised in my last post, I am interrupting the series on the 7 Essential Life Design Skills so you can now download my new eBook about finding your one thing in life. This book covers four practices I have used and taught to find and align your vocational vision. The Clarity Spiral also happens to be the first master tool in a Personal Vision Journey offered through Life Younique– a training company that brings gospel-centered life design to people through certified coaches in the local church.

I want to take this moment to thank you for being a blog reader. As always new content comes to you first. If you have already been through the Younique Experience, you will find totally new content in this book. If you are signed up to go through in 2019, these books will soon come with our kit.

If you really like the book, you will be able to purchase a hard copy on Amazon soon. If you are interested in a Younique small group experience you can purchase the Younique 6-week Primary by Dave Rhodes here. Dave is the cofounder of Younique.

Enjoy your FREE book!

I would love to learn a little more about you as you download the book so I have included some optional information like the decade you were born, and whether or not you work as a church staff. Again these are optional.

Download Your FREE Clarity Spiral eBook

Check out some of the chapters below!!!

> Read more from Will.

 

 

Download PDF

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How to Achieve Peak Performance at Life’s 3 Crossroads

When does a human being peak? What is a person’s “succeed-by” date (as in, if you haven’t succeeded by now, forget it)?

Some feel it when they’re 25 or so, when at a professional level athletes ascend, and dancers dazzle and beauty blooms. It’s where cool is concentrated in our youth-obsessed culture. It’s easy for ambitious people to believe that if they don’t get on a 30-under-30 list, they’ll never be a world-changer.

Many feel the peak when they’re around 40. They’re performing at a high level because they have more wisdom and influence than they did in their 20s. The career is progressing nicely and family relationships are going relatively well.

Some feel the peak—or hope to—around the time they retire, usually in their 60s. They want to leave their profession in a blaze of glory, full of achievement. With decent health and with personal wealth at an all-time high, they hope to live it up in their golden years.

So when does a person peak? To get a true grasp—and to get there!—you need Essential Life Design Skill #1 (in the series of 7 skills) and the third skill we are unpacking. (Not in numerical order.) This skill is about embracing four lifelong practices to maximize your work potential and find your dream job. The four practices are:

  • Courage to know – Do you seriously know yourself (really) or do you just think that you do?
  • Experience to grow – Are you using every good and bad work experience to zero-in on what you can do best?
  • Value to show – Are you proactively negotiating how you spend your time at work as the weeks and months of your “9-5 life” go by?
  • Risk to go – Are you prepared to leave your current job when the time is right in order to steward of your one and only life?

I talk all about these four practices in my new e-book that releases tomorrow Clarity Spiral: The 4 Break-Thru Practices to Find the One Thing You’re Called to Do. But in this post, I’m proposing that these four practices for finding your one thing become especially critical at three crossroads: quarterlife, midlife, and three-quarterlife. Take a moment and consider the crucial question that people must confront at each crossroad and a corresponding prescription.

The Quarterlife Question: “What Am I Doing?”

Quarterlife crisis” labels a phenomenon that’s become almost universal among adults in their 20s. It’s a point in life where aimlessness not only plunges many into depression, but it also threatens to cut off the impact a person may have in the future.

Some people at the quarterlife crisis spend their adolescent years rebelling against parents’ or teachers’ expectations. Others are busy just surviving their dangerous decisions. Yet when these people become adults, their lack of educational success limits their vocational options.

Other people got the diploma or degree they were “supposed” to get. But they never really believed in a career path themselves, so now they’re prepared to do work they don’t care about. They might try to cope with purposelessness by living for the next pleasure (with diminishing returns) or by attempting to draw more meaning from a relationship than it can ever provide.

Still others diligently pursued a life goal they believed in, but once they get their credentials, start a job, or settle down, they find that it doesn’t provide the satisfaction they expected. As one 23-year-old put it:

No one prepares us for the decades’ worth of post-education revelations such as ‘dream jobs’ are pretty hard to come by (but by the way, unemployment isn’t), having a real job is not like an episode of Mad Men, and finding ‘the one’ is virtually impossible.

The Quarterlife Prescription: Commit to Purposeful, Productive Activity Despite Uncertainty

Purposeful, productive activity could be a line of work, raising children, a place to serve, or all of the above. The critical thing is the ability to put up with the drudgery, weight of responsibility, lack of appreciation, and even your own mistakes as a part of the learning process to bring value to the world in general and the workplace world in particular.

In his studies of ministry leaders’ vocational journeys, J. Robert Clinton found that the typical first few years after preparation for their vocation were “provisional ministry.” Clinton gave it that name because it wasn’t clear whether the person would stick with the ministry path or switch to a different career. For those who stuck with it, however, provisional ministry kicked off a 10- to 20-year period of learning to be competent and in some ways excellent at their vocation.

The most important thing about this transition isn’t that you pick the perfect path in life. It’s that you pick some path in life. It doesn’t have to be the last one—in fact, it almost certainly won’t be. But it has to make you willing to devote yourself to getting good at something that does good in the world. That’s the way you find out what you’re good at (and not good at). Then it becomes the launchpad for your next leap.

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure out a good path to take on your own. There’s help out there, which I’ll share at the end of this post.

The Midlife Question: “Is There Something More?”

Many people are surprised that no matter how ardently they commit to a calling in their 20s, it doesn’t sustain them through their whole adulthood. In fact, by age 35 they may begin having serious doubts about it.

Some people get unsettled because of success. Like a player who beats a video game, they’re bored playing it even though they’re good at it. What’s the new challenge that strikes the “sweet spot” of their personal calling?

Other people get unsettled because of failure—or at least, they didn’t get as much success as they had hoped they would. Now they don’t get as much attention either; they’re no longer groomed as up-and-comers but are taken for granted as middle-and-stayers.

Most people probably experience some combination of success and failure. They demonstrate proficiency in what they do, but the path to greater achievement gets a little harder to find.

At midlife people look for a new way to activate and advance their personal calling. But now the stakes are much higher than they were at quarterlife. Loads of people hang on what you do or don’t do: workmates, customers, church members, volunteer organizations, friends, parents, and far above them all your children and spouse. And on top of your relational obligations, your financial obligations are much greater than they once were.

The Midlife Prescription: Take the Risk to Follow Your Calling by Specializing Even More

Robert Clinton found that ministry leaders reach a point at midlife where they need to become more specialized to become more effective. In other words, to contribute more to the kingdom, leaders have to concentrate their efforts on the specific things they do best in the specific sphere and scope where they are most useful.

However, getting into that zone isn’t easy! It often disrupts the life of the leader and those around them in a big way. Because it’s so risky, many—maybe even most—don’t take that path. They remain competent generalists, but they’re no longer growing in effectiveness; they might even start declining.

By contrast, those who take the risks required of specialization find their impact increasing in ways they can hardly imagine. But to take that big step of faith, you need a strong conviction about the good works that God dreamed only you would do. Once again, fortunately, you don’t have to gain this conviction alone, as I’ll share below.

The Three-Quarterlife Question: “What Will Outlive Me?”

People who navigate the midlife transition successfully find that it leads to a new challenge that they don’t expect. In fact, their very success may have set them up to stumble at this crucial point.

Until roughly age 55, your fruitfulness is tied to your activity. If you took the necessary risks at midlife, your activity has probably been exceptionally productive.

But as you approach the three-quarter mark of life, you become ever more aware that you won’t be doing stuff forever. Your faculties are deteriorating. It is more apparent in practical ways that someday you will die. Will the fruit of your labor disappear when you do? What legacy are you going to leave? Will you have borne “fruit that will last” (John 15:16 NIV)?

The Three-Quarterlife Prescription: Make Your Ultimate Contribution to the World by Guiding Others Not Doing It Yourself

Robert Clinton wrote about a leader’s accomplishment that sums up their ministry long after they’re gone. He called it “ultimate contribution.” Because ultimate contribution is about leaving a legacy, it almost always involves preparing people who will carry on your work when your time is done. That means shifting your focus from doing to developing, from mastery to mentoring.

This transition can take different forms depending on your personality and gifting. It could mean evolving your leadership style toward collaborating and coaching and away from planning and directing. It could mean going full time in a job in the training or education field for the first time. It could mean concentrating your creative work on a magnum opus that younger generations will study. It could mean moving from “pro” to “caddie” by deliberately taking a new position as a loyal subordinate, such as a lead pastor who becomes an associate pastor or a parent who supportively assists their grown children as parents.

These are all big-time moves that require as much willingness to change as the transitions you navigated at quarterlife and midlife. This is not easy, because as you age, the energy you have to allocate becomes more limited than ever. In most cases, you can’t do legacy-making activity unless you stop much of what you’ve been doing up to this point, which happens to be stuff you are very good at it and receive applause for. In fact, what you have been doing probably pays better. Therefore you have to determine the nature of your payday: is it a bigger paycheck at age 67 or a greater legacy? For the few people who even make it to this life-stage crisis, fewer still navigate it with great intention.

But those who successfully navigate this crossroads make an impact that remains on this earth long after they stop working and even after they stop breathing. “They will still bear fruit in old age, healthy and green” (Ps. 92:14 CSB).

Help at the Three Crossroads

The challenges at quarterlife, midlife, and three-quarterlife are all different. But in this respect they are the same: to overcome them, you need grow in clarity about your special calling from God.

Younique was created to help people do just that.

Younique equips people to know and name their life’s purpose, which is especially valuable at the quarterlife crossroads.

Younique equips people to focus their calling and inspires them to take “risk to go,” which is especially valuable at the midlife crossroads.

Younique equips people to discern and embrace their ultimate contribution to the world, which is especially valuable at the three-quarterlife crossroads.

At the beginning of this post I asked, “When does a human being peak?” Depending on how you look at it, your strength starts declining at any of these crossroads. That’s just a part of this mortal life.

But for a servant of God, that’s not the whole story. Your impact—your fruit—can increase your whole life long. You can even hit peak after you’ve left it for good! God will perpetuate your effectiveness from generation to generation if you follow his calling at every crossroads of your life.

Don’t forget, my free e-book launches tomorrow!

In addition, as I navigate my own crossroads at age 49 this year, I want to help others dream and plan while I dream and plan. So I am launching an initiative to help you complete your 100 Life Dream List by Easter 2019. I’ll be guiding you from Aspen as I fulfill the bucket list dream that I share more about here. #LifeDesignWithMe

Cory Hartman contributed to this post.

> Read more from Will.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

10 Life Hacks for Using the Five Kinds of Goals in Life

We’re just a few days into the New Year. With the odometer of life turning one more calendar-year digit, many people will think, hope, dream and plan about what’s next in life.

What’s been on your mind? What are you hoping to do next in life? What goal or New Year’s resolution have you been pondering?

Perhaps a better question is, “Do you have a plan to make a plan?” If you were to go about setting a few goals this next year, how would you spend your time? This is a pertinent question right now, because the time between early in the New Year lends itself to refection.

That’s why this post jumps ahead to the fifth essential life design skill in the current series, God’s Plan for Your Life Plan. (This is the second post in the series that includes a free e-book giveaway for those that follow along.) The name of Life Design Skill #5 is “Imagine Your Better Future.” It’s all about thinking further ahead to where God is leading you and defining your life’s biggest wins. Again, now is a fantastic time to start practicing this skill.

As you know, the intentional living product market is saturated with books, events, and online courses. It can be a bit intimidating to navigate a wide variety of different approaches and even philosophies. The purpose of this post is to introduce you to some of the basics that have been integrated in the complete life planning system called Life Younique.

To start, I want to explain the basic barriers that all people experience when they set goals. There are five common common obstacles.

5 Common Obstacles to Setting Goals

  1. People plan to do too much. Another way to say it is that people over-plan. They simply set too many goals or make too big of a to-do list.
  2. People don’t take enough time to plan. This second barrier is related to why people plan too much. It’s faster to make a list of 10 things to do than it is to make a list of the three most important things to do first.
  3. People hope for vague aspirations or outcomes. All human beings long for a better future. We all dream to some degree. But most folks don’t get vivid, precise or specific about what they want to do. This also requires time. It’s important to know that allowing yourself to be guided by only a “general sense” of the future is your greatest barrier to setting life goals or creating a life plan. Fuzzy is your enemy.
  4. People never write things down. There is something magic about writing down your life goals. It’s forces you to get specific and it enables ongoing attention and attentiveness. If fuzzy is your enemy, than focus is your friend. And writing is a key step in engaging your ability to focus.
  5. People don’t use a system. Ultimately when you succeed at setting and reaching a goal, you want to do it again. Goal setting done well is a repeatable process. And a good process brings a myriad of benefits based on the input and experience of others. And others, I might add, who have accomplished more than you.

Given these barriers we can now assert the single most important step for setting life goals: Set aside enough time to plan well.

How much time is enough? That is different for everyone, but I recommend that you spend an entire day. This can be a special day during a holiday or weekend that you set aside to enjoy. Or, you might make a retreat experience where you spend two half-days planning while doing other activities that you love. For example, I like to travel for a weekend away while giving myself two, 4-hour time slots to plan and set new goals for the year. During the other times I will ride my mountain bike, kite board, snowboard, go fishing or just read.

The most important aspect of designing this time is to make it life-giving. What place energizes you? What activities motivate you? Do you like curling up with a warm cup of hot chocolate on the sofa, or would you rather sit a picnic table in the woods? Do you write your goals in a leather-bound journal or with an apple pencil?

Once you block the time on your calendar, you need to know how to spend it. To get started with that, you need to understand different kinds of goals. This topic is where the different approaches come in and can become confusing. So I want to give you an extremely practical and powerful way of understanding different types of goals.

I am not talking about different life domains when I refer to different types of goals. A goal may be set in your work life (make 10% more this year) or in your social life (go on one date per week) or with a personal hobby (run a half marathon). I am referring to the time-frame and complexity related to different kinds of goals. Losing five pounds and learning to play the piano, for example, take different amounts of time, preparation and steps in order to complete. In fact, its the failure to understand different types of goals and the different time horizons that relate to them that make most goal setting processes a waste of time.

When you survey all of the kinds of human accomplishment there are really five types of goals.

The 5 Types of Goals

  1. Ultimate or Lifetime Aspiration Goals. These goals are those classic bucket-list kind of dreams. Many of these take a long time to prepare for or are things that you hope to do in different life stages. Generally speaking the will happen more than 3 years away. Included in this type of goal is the classic epitaph refection. What are you hoping that people will say about you at your funeral? What do you sense will be the ultimate contribution of your life? While this may sound “heavy,” I am a firm believer in the meaningful, imaginative work and planning on this level. It’s the ultimate horizon of “before you die” thinking. I wrote a blog post series years ago on how to develop your bucket list with lots of examples. I have also shared some insights from Steve Job’s life on how he used reflection on death to accomplish great things.
  2. Next Chapter or Life Prototype Goals. These are goals you set for roughly the next 3 years. They require reflection that is not common or immediate (hence the full day needed to plan). They relate to all of your life domains, so you will be thinking as much about your job as you are your family. This kind of goal setting engages your thinking about life stages, personal values, and deeper aspirations. These goals are crucial because so many people get stuck in ruts with their life, like the job that doesn’t challenge or that degree you didn’t finish.
  3. One Year or New Year Resolution Goals. These are the goals that define what you want different about your life as you take another lap around the sun. The most important aspect of this kind of goal setting is that you want to be able to accomplish the goal within a 12-month window. Examples include developing a financial plan this year, taking 4 camping trips with the family or finishing a job training certificate in the next 12 months.
  4. 90-Day or Sustained-Sprint Goals. This type of goal is very significant in the planning model that I have developed at Younique. A 90-day goal is just long enough to enable you get something really big accomplished. Yet it is short enough for an season of intense focus. That’s why I think of it as a “sustained-sprint” goal. Examples include, reading 5 books or saving 1,000 dollars or loosing 15 pounds in the next 90 days.
  5. Daily To-do or Weekly Task List Goals. This type of goal is the smallest and most bite-sized. Some people couldn’t go through life without creating lists every day while others resist this kind of short-term or daily planning. (After all God has wired human beings with an incredible variety of creative and productive capability.) I realize that in a post on setting life goals you are probably not thinking about this kind of goal. Yet, it is important to distinguish the mini-goals that make up our days and weeks and relate these to our bigger life goals. Examples include making calls to your top ten clients or purchasing everything you need for a work project at Home Depot.

Once you have a good handle on the kinds of goals you have to work with, it’s now time to put the life planning puzzle together. The secret to creating a simple yet powerful life plan is to have the right kind of goals at the right amount of time in the future. I have personally spent a great deal of time learning, practicing and training others to optimize the recipe for human functioning. You will note how this recipe helps you navigate the five common obstacles to setting goals.

The best way to work with the five types of goals is to employ these 10 guidelines.

10 Life Hacks For Creating a Life Plan (Once You Know About the 5 Types of Goals)

  1. Create a “future context” by working on goals furthest away first.
  2. Develop one to three sentences that describe your ultimate contribution or what we call at Younique your “Tombstone tweet:” The 140-280 character tweet you would want to describe why your life ultimately mattered. This is the first part of your “Ultimate Goals”
  3. Create a bucket list of 20-100 things you want to do before your life has expired. Every time you do a day of planning, try to add 5-10 things the list until you have a completed list of 100. Mark things off the list you have completed. This is the second part of your “Ultimate Goals”
  4. Select a picture to describe your life 3-years from now. This the first part of your “Next Chapter Goals.”
  5. Develop a list of vivid description bullets for your life three years from now (Next Chapter Goals). Think of this as your next chapter “prototype.” A prototype is something fun that you get to tweak and design. Every time you do a day of planning revisit the prototype of what you hope your life looks like 3-years from now. I recommend having at least nine bullets that vividly describe your life. (In a future post in this series I will share my current list.) This is the second part of your “Next Chapter Goals”.
  6. Decide on no more than 4, one-year objectives (New Year’s Resolutions) you would like to accomplish in the next year. More goals than that is futile for 98% of the population. You want to win so don’t overcomplicate my recipe. If you do all four things this year, then you can consider adding more next year.
  7. All goals longer than 90-days away may be qualitative only and don’t necessarily need to be quantitative. But if goals you set in your bucket list or in your 3-year prototype or with your one-year objectives are quantitative that is okay. Just don’t obsess about a number that is too far away.
  8. Clarify one 90-day goal at a time. Get very specific about it. Don’t have more than one. All goals 90-days MUST be developed as “smart goals.” S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Results-oriented and Time bound. You got this!
  9. Focus every day on your one 90-day goal.
  10. Set weekly and daily task list goals only after you have reviewed your other goals. While I recommend that you use a a list for weekly and daily tasks, I know many successful people who do not. But to the degree that you do set short-term goals, make sure you always review and activate steps toward your one 90-day goal before you do anything else.

It’s now up to you to create a simple life plan and start dreaming about your future. Remember you need to block a good chunk of time. Why not get your calendar out right now and make it happen! If you don’t create the margin you won’t activate your imagination.

Here are a few things to keep you going. First, be on the look out for a free e-book that I am about to release to help guide your life planning this year. Second, I am going on a bucket list adventure of a lifetime in the first quarter of 2019. Are you interested in learning more about life design from me? If so get ready to follow along as I will give an unprecedented amount of free content and training live from a destination soon to be announced. It’s a #LifeDesignWithMe initiative and you are invited.

> Read more from Will.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Introducing the 7 Essential Skills of Gospel-Centered Life Design

God wants you to design your life.

That’s a bold statement. But is it too bold? Heretical even?

Let’s try out the opposite claim: God wants you to make major life decisions without thinking them through.

We know that can’t be right. The Bible shouts against the folly of thoughtless decision-making. There’s even a whole book about it (Proverbs).

So let’s take one more crack at it. Maybe the problem is that we’re assuming that we should be making decisions at all. Maybe that’s our pride talking. Surely the most gospel-centered statement is something like this: God doesn’t want you to make decisions about your life. He wants you to receive the life he designed for you.

Sounds orthodox, doesn’t it? Pious, even. We could close the service and take up the offering right there.

But how does it actually work? What does it practically mean to leave everything up to God?

Think of it this way: is there any hint in Scripture that the more gospel-centered your life is, the fewer decisions you make? If that were true, then the godlier you become, the more you resemble a jellyfish or a houseplant or a lamp-post or something else that doesn’t make decisions. It’s hard even to picture what life like that would be. Worse, it doesn’t match up with the model of the godliest people in the Bible, including Jesus himself.

So what is God’s plan for this thing called a life plan? How do you follow Jesus and fashion your life in a proactive way?

Becoming gospel-centered doesn’t mean becoming less human, but more human. It doesn’t mean making fewer decisions about your life. It means making more decisions the right way.

God wants to do more than command you as a servant. He wants to raise you as his child. Our Father in heaven is training you and me to make the decisions that he would make if he were in our shoes.

That is gospel-centered life design.

So I’m going to reassert the claim I began with: God wants you to design your life. But I want to add a tag: God wants you to design your life after his dream for you. God’s plan for your life plan is simple: it’s all about finding your personal calling and aligning it with your daily life, especially your job.

See, God has been dreaming about your life since before he created the world. In fact, he created the world with his dream of you in mind. He has a special assignment for you to do. He intended that the world he made and everything that has ever happened in it would shape the person who is reading this sentence at this very moment. Yes—you read that right.

God’s dream of you is utterly unique. The proof is that you are utterly unique. God’s heart’s desire for you is that you would fully live out all that he made you to be as a one-of-a-kind reflection of his glory. He is so committed to that destiny for you that he sent his Son to die for your sins to put you back on track to get there.

In the end, gospel-centered life design is about learning to be you and do you, with Christ and for Christ.

But gospel-centered life design doesn’t come naturally. It is learned behavior, thoughtfully practiced over time.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to introduce you to the 7 Essential Skills of Gospel-Centered Life Design (The Life Design 7). These seven skills guide the work we do at Younique, a training company for the church that Dave Rhodes and I recently started. Our aim to help Christ followers gain break-thru clarity in their personal calling and vocational planning. The mission of Younique is to deliver gospel-centered life design to every believer.

I can’t wait till the next post to get started, so I’m going to show you all seven life design skills right now:

Skill #1 – Engage Your Vocational Vision. Embrace four lifelong practices to maximize your work potential and find your dream job.

Skill #2 –Discover Your One Thing. Sum up a wealth of self-assessments with a clear and concise understanding of your special calling from God.

Skill #3 – Own Your Personal Calling. Live every day from a deep sense of what you were born to do and what drives everything you do.

Skill #4 – Improve Your Whole Life. Take a few simple steps right now toward vitality in all dimensions of life.

Skill #5 –Imagine Your Better Future. Think further ahead to where God is leading you and define your life’s biggest wins.

Skill #6 – Achieve Your Next Goal. Bring laser focus to the most important next step in your life, over and over again.

Skill #7 – Integrate Your Continual Break-Thru. Repeatedly reflect on your progress and reset your priorities using three universal rhythms.

As the New Year kicks off, I’d encourage you to follow this series closely as I shed light on these seven essential skills one at a time. And watch for an upcoming release of a free resource on Skill #1: A free ebook named “Clarity Spiral.”

Cory Hartman contributed to this article.

> Read more from Will.


 

 

Download PDF

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.