How does your work affect your family?

My father-in-law worked for an airline in their baggage department for forty three years. His job consisted of loading and unloading luggage and various tasks that go along with that process. It was a good job that offered decent pay, good benefits, and a flexible work schedule. I remember asking him how he managed to stay at a job so long since most people don’t really do that anymore. He described it as a good job with a steady paycheck that allowed him to be home with his family regularly and be involved with his kids’ school and sports activities. The most interesting thing he said was that he never really took his work home with him—once he was home for the day or weekend, he didn’t really think or worry about work. Obviously, he thought about what time he had to leave the next day or when he was going to request days off, but he didn’t let his work spill over into his family life.

I don’t know if it was the type of work he did or just the type of person he is, but what my father-in-law describes is rarely true for most people. More often than not, people let their work life affect their home life and their home life affect their work life. I am one of those people and I’ve seen this play out in my own life as well as in others both for better and for worse. Maybe you can relate…

Attachment-1
This is not my kid, but I have definitely seen that face (sometimes in the mirror).

Lets start with for worse

  • having a bad day at work always equals a bad evening at home
  • disagreements with your boss or coworkers often leads to petty arguments with your spouse
  • You often find yourself depressed and/or irritated on Sundays (or the day before you go back to work)
  • Its difficult for you to enjoy vacation or days off because you dread returning to work
  • When you’re dissatisfied with your work, you tend to feel dissatisfied with your marriage
  • You feel embarrassment or shame when you think about your spouse or kids seeing you at work
  • When you return home from work, you feel like you have nothing left to give to those you love
  • When you’re talking to your family or friends, you often feel disengaged or distracted
  • Your job keeps you away from your family for long periods of time
  • Your family’s daily routine doesn’t include you because you’re so rarely available
  • When you have an argument with your spouse it often affects how you relate to coworkers

What does for better even look like?

  • Your work boosts your confidence and makes you a more pleasant spouse and parent
  • Your work energizes you
  • You are often excited to share your work with others, including your family
  • Your job provides well financially, but also allows you to be with your family and involved in your kids activities
  • You feel valued and respected both at work and at home
  • Since you rarely worry about work, you can be more engaged with your spouse, your kids, and friends when you’re with them
  • Your love for your family drives you to do your job well
  • You believe your marriage actually makes you a better employee

 

Which of the above—better or worse—do you relate to most?

Of course its not always cut and dry, but I’ll assume that you resonated with more of the worse than the better. I’ll also assume you know that you’re not alone. Most people in real life see their work affect their family negatively more often than not and vice versa. Maybe you don’t recognize that argument with your wife had nothing to do with her and everything to do with your boss. Or maybe your poor performance at work is really be caused by the turmoil in your marriage. I’ve seen marriages end in large part because of the husband’s crazy work schedule he wasn’t willing to give up. I’ve seen businesses lose customers and fail because of the negative influence of infidelity and broken marriages. I’ve heard of many people losing jobs as a direct result of letting their personal life influence their work negatively. Maybe you’re in a situation right now in which you fear some of these things happening or maybe you have already experienced them first-hand. Either way, if want to avoid these negative consequences or start changing them, I believe there are three main areas where you must focus your attention.

  1. TimeTime is the only currency we can never get more of or store up to use later. Our time is far more valuable than money and we never know when our time in this life is up. Therefore, its extremely important that we spend our time wisely and give plenty of it to the things—and people—that matter most. The amount of time we spend working is always going to be significant, but it shouldn’t rob us of quality time with our family. I know some jobs require more time than others and maybe yours even keeps you away from home a lot. If this has created a problem in your marriage or in your relationship with your kids, you need to make a change. That may mean changing your shift, taking a different position, or changing jobs altogether. You don’t have to quit today—or maybe you do—but if you want your work and your family to improve, you do need to evaluate your priorities, consider your options, and communicate with your family.
  2. Attitude and BeliefsYour attitude toward work and your family will always affect your evaluation of them. And your attitude is rooted in your beliefs. If you think your boss is a moron, for example, its probably because you believe you are smarter or could do the job better. Your beliefs influence your attitude and your attitude determines your actions. Attitude is also closely connected with your mood; a good attitude can put you in a good mood, but a bad attitude usually yields frequent bad moods. If you want your work and your family to improve, evaluate your attitude and analyze your beliefs.
  1. Money Why are you working in the first place? You work for the money but ultimately that’s not good enough. All too often we fall into the cycle of working to provide money for our family, but neglect to provide some of the more important things. Getting paid for our work is great, but a paycheck will never truly satisfy. Its often said the more you make, the more you spend—and I’ve found this to be true in my own life. How is it that I used to live on half as much as I do now, yet now I’m just getting by? If you spend your money wisely and manage your personal finances well, you will have more flexibility in the kind of work you do and the amount of time you spend doing it. If you manage money poorly, you will find yourself working more hours and making more money, but still feeling poor. This usually leads to a poor attitude at work and at home and ends up in burnout. If you want your work and your family to improve, consider why you really work, evaluate your spending, and create a budget and stick to it.

Now that you have considered how your work affects your family—through your time, attitudes and beliefs, and your money—its time to take action. If you really want to see positive changes in your work and your family, its imperative that you actually take some time to evaluate your current situation accurately and make a plan for the change you want to see. Take 5 minutes today to actually write down your thoughts. Then make time to talk to your spouse this evening if possible, and talk to your boss this week. Your life may not change overnight, but if you will take one small step today and another tomorrow and decide in your heart to never give up again, you will see that a better way of life is much closer than you realized.

In what other ways does your work affect your family? Do you have any good stories or practical tips to share on this topic?

Let me know in the COMMENTS, on Facebook, or send me an Email.

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Overcoming Fear in Our Lives

I recently had the opportunity to speak at a local church for their Sunday services. I spoke about fear, including why we fear, the problems it causes, and how to overcome our fears. I would like to share some of that message here with the hope that you will find it helpful and encouraging.

What is Fear?
Before I get too far, I want to describe what I mean when I talk about fear. I’m sure we all know what fear is and have experienced many types of it in our lives. But not all fear is the same. You see, God created us with some natural instincts—fear being one of them—to help us survive. The fear of physical harm is what keeps us from walking out in front of a truck traveling down the highway. Fear of other physical, emotional, or social pain can help us think twice about our actions and words and help us avoid hurting ourselves and others. A healthy fear of God can keep us humble and help us honor Him in what we do.

IMG_2633However, in addition to these healthy forms of fear, we often experience much more troublesome types of fear that lead to anxiety, depression, phobias, and ultimately a timid spirit and a life defined by inaction. These fears can be based on evidence from past experience, or can be completely irrational. Either way, if left unchecked this unhealthy fear can overtake our lives, steal our joy, and hold us back from living in freedom. For our purposes today, when I talk about fear I’m referring to this second, unhealthy and unfruitful type.

 

 

What causes us to fear in the first place?
Believing lies that are told so often and so loudly that most people believe them.
You will fail.
You’re not good enough.
Making money is the most important way you can provide for your kids.
You alone must provide for ALL of your family’s needs.
You NEED to have or do or get ______ fill in the blank.

We say we believe God—that He is our provider, that He is all-powerful, that He is good—but we live our daily lives as if none of that is true.

We worry about today, tomorrow, and next week

We worry about making enough money for us/our family

We get anxiety about our health and that of our kids, family and friends

Deep in our hearts we may believe that God is good and that He cares for us, but we get distracted by our worldly troubles and forget the Truth

John MacArthur commentary: Phil. 4:6 do not be anxious. (See notes on Matt. 6:26–33.) Fret and worry indicate a lack of trust in God’s wisdom, sovereignty, or power. Delighting in the Lord and meditating on his word are a great antidote to anxiety (Ps. 1:2). in everything. All difficulties are within God’s purposes. prayer and supplication with thanksgiving . . . requests. Gratitude to God accompanies all true prayer.

 

What good things might we be missing?
When we give in to fear in our lives, letting it determine our thoughts, attitudes, and decisions, we miss out on many good things that God may have for us.
1) You may be afraid of losing your job, but there might be a better job waiting for you.
2) You may be afraid of going to away to college or moving to another town, but if you don’t go you may be missing new friendships, experiences, and opportunities
3) You may be afraid of submitting every area of your life to God because you’re not sure what He may ask you to do or where he may ask you to go, but you might be missing His purpose for your life and the important good works He has prepared for you to do.

4) You may be missing the Peace of God

John MacArthur: Phil. 4:7 peace of God. See note on v. 9. Inner calm or tranquility is promised to the believer who has a thankful attitude based on unwavering confidence that God is able and willing to do what is best for his children (cf. Rom. 8:28). surpasses all understanding. This refers to the divine origin of peace. It transcends human intellect, analysis, and insight (Isa. 26:3; John 16:33). guard. A military term meaning “to keep watch over.” God’s peace guards believers from anxiety, doubt, fear, and distress. hearts . . . minds. Paul was not making a distinction between the two—he was giving a comprehensive statement referring to the whole inner person. Because of the believer’s union with Christ, he guards his inner being with his peace.

What can we do to keep fear from holding us back and stealing our hope?

1) Confront lies in your life and find evidence that proves them wrong (write it down)
Start: Punch fear in the face, escape average, do work that matters by Jon Acuff
Jon talks about confronting the voices of fear and doubt by writing them down whenever they get loud in your mind
he says actually getting them out of your mind and down on paper takes away some of their power and helps you confront them with the truth

Note from John MacArthur Phil. 4:8 true. What is true is found in God (2 Tim. 2:25), in Christ (Eph. 4:20–21), in the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), and in God’s word (John 17:17).

2) Prayer and Supplication, with thanksgiving
supplication: to ask humbly and earnestly; appeal, implore, petition, plead; earnestly just means to be sincere and serious
when we appeal to God humbly and share the desires of our hearts, along with our fears and anxiety, we need to remember and give thanks for all the good things God has already done in our lives; remembering what God has already done and being thankful for everyday blessings will help take away the power of our fears to control us
Pray in the Spirit, seeking God’s will above all else

3) Meditate on scripture and remember God’s promises
I have found it helpful to study a Bible passage and write down some observations, applications, and prayers that I can go back and read over when I need encouragement.

Conclusion

When you’re struggling with fear and anxiety, whether its focused on a decision to be made or just your daily responsibilities and relationships, remember to:

  1. think about what problems living in fear causes in your life
  2. Consider what good things you might be missing by giving in to fear
  3. identify lies that you’re believing about yourself, your life, and God and confront them with the truth
  4. Read the Bible and focus on God’s character and promises
  5. Submit yourselves—your fears, your hopes, your dreams, your children, your health—to God through continual prayer and supplication, asking him to give you His peace, guarding and guiding your heart and mind in Jesus
  6. Remember who God is and who you are

 

What fears are you struggling with today? What fears have you already overcome?

Share your answers in the COMMENTS, on Facebook, or send me an Email.

Transformed by Faith: an interview with Guy Smith

It is my mission to motivate and encourage you through the content I create on this blog. I think I have a lot to offer through my own thoughts and writing that may help you. However, I don’t want all of the content here to be 100% me, sharing my thoughts and opinions only because I realize there is always something I don’t know and experiences I haven’t lived. One way I will do this is by periodically sharing ideas, wisdom, and stories from others whom I trust and respect. Today’s post is in a question and answer format with my friend and pastor, Guy Smith. He studied marketing in college and worked in his family’s business for 6 years before deciding to make some significant changes in his life. I’m sure you will glean some wisdom as he shares some of his journey to finding purpose and contentment in both his personal life and in his work.

guy smith
1) Briefly describe what your life used to look like (before tipping point, before change started to occur, etc). What was life like at the beginning of your journey?
I’ll share two descriptions of my life before the major change occurred.  
 
First, I had spent the majority of my post-high school years serving and worshiping God.  By all standards of ‘hey-look-at-me’ Christianity I was doing well.  Attending Christian gatherings and mission trips had become my lifestyle.  Throughout those years I expected to eventually end up where I am today, but something awful happened to me:  I burnt out.  Yep, I burnt out on ministry at the ripe old age of 23.  I couldn’t understand what happened to me.  I was so passionate before.  Now I wanted nothing do to with it.  In fact, I wasn’t even sure I believed in Jesus.  Looking back, the reasons are obvious.  While I was doing good for God, I had done very little with God.  The relational aspect of my faith was nearly non-existent.  Bible study, prayer, and fellowship were an idea, not a practice.  The result of my isolated attempt at faith was sin on top of sin on top of sin that led to burn out.  
After burning out, my second description of life is moving home to work at my father’s business.  The coolest thing about a good family is when life blows up and you’re lost they take you back to help you up.  After moving out of state for college, traveling and working throughout North and Central America, I had found myself once again sleeping down the hall from mom and dad.  Here’s how awesome and easy my life was:  slept in my sister’s old bedroom (no bills), I walked 50 feet to work (no fuel), mom brought dad and I lunch everyday (no packing), mom made supper for us every night (no restaurants), and on top of that I was paid well (pay off debt and save fast).  My dad and younger brother loved the business and still do.  They couldn’t imagine doing anything else.  I envy them.  I tried so hard to be like them.  The freedom and comfort of a family business looked so good, but no matter how hard I tried I could not get settled.  I wanted out, but had no idea where to go.  Six years passed by slow and fast until I had effectively spent the bulk of my twenties in the perfect job I struggled to enjoy.  That’s where I was when God woke me up.  I lost the depression weight, met my future wife, and moved into an apartment.  The changes I needed to make were finally happening, and they were happening rapidly.
 
2) What was one main catalyst for change in your story? What inspired you to pursue changes in your life?
The simplest answer to this is marry a pusher.  My wife encouraged me early on to be better, and she still does.  If you’re not married yet I recommend adding that to your qualifications list.  Oh, come on, I know you have such a list in your head at least.  It may be hard to believe, but a pusher is better than the girl who encourages you to play more video games.  Enjoy the games once-in-awhile, but build a life.  Be productive.
 
My one main catalyst for change was fully surrendering my life to Christ.  Through all those years of running and living in sin I had become stuck because it was all about me.  All about my pleasure. All about my future.  All about my career.  All about my money.  When I surrendered my life to Christ I was able to look at my day job and ask God if he had something different for me.  Don’t misunderstand me on this.  What I was doing for a living was not bad or sinful, it was good.  A good job at a God-honoring business.  I believe we are made to work and in our work we are worshiping God.  I also believe we are each gifted and equipped and called to specific types of work.  However, I don’t believe our work should give us purpose or fulfillment or identity.  Those things come from God.  That was one of my struggles before making a change.  I thought my entire life purpose had to be wrapped up into my work.  It doesn’t.  Yes, now that I’m in full-time ministry most (certainly not all) of what I do has purpose, but I’m not a pastor first.  It’s part of who I am, not all of me.  I’m a Christian, husband, father, friend, runner, beekeeper, and fan of all professional Pittsburgh sports.  Pastor of a local church is my calling, yes, but it’s also my day job, not my singular identity.
3) In what ways did your attitude/mindset/thought process change throughout your journey and how did it happen?
I really became a happier person to be around.  By leaving an industry that I had little passion for and entering into one I was more likely made for, I found a new excitement for life.  The process began slowly.  First, an opportunity came, and I took it.  As I took more opportunities I was able to discover how my gifts lined up with the career change.  That’s what anyone considering a change needs to do.  Get your feet wet first.  Don’t jump too fast into a new career before first understanding it.  The truth is every job has it’s share of fun tasks, boring tasks, and annoying tasks.  Even if you’re confident you were put on the planet to do it, it’s still work.  
4) What was the FIRST STEP you took toward changing your story?
My first step was to try it.  The last thing I wanted to do was quit my job only to find out the next job felt the same.  I like what Jon Acuff tells his readers: Be selfish at 5:00 A.M. 
Find time in your week to try something new.  Carve it out.  It’s there.  Be productive in your spare time.  Bump up your side hustle.
5) Briefly share about a failure you experienced along the way and how you moved past it or even used it to your advantage.
I have a bad habit of being a lone wolf.  I try to figure it out myself.  Just me and the internet.  For my whole first year at the church that’s what I did.  No mentor.  No leader.  No supervisor.  I was the only staff.  When it came time to do my first wedding I figured it out through the internet and a book.  Same for my first funeral.  My big failure actually came at a funeral.  I accidentally stole a funeral from another local pastor and she wasn’t all too happy.  For the record, funerals are not fun to attend or officiate.  Anyone who intentionally steals funerals is out of their mind.  In hindsight I would have passed on this opportunity.  Long story short, the experience was bad and the service did not go well because I made some comments I’d like to take back.  That was the weekend I decided to take my wife’s advice and seek out a mentor.  Having him to call on has been priceless.
 
You should get a mentor.  I never wanted one because I thought it was weird to be honest.  Mentorship doesn’t have to mean study a book together and spend an hour each week talking about strengths and weaknesses while the empty boxes of Puffs stack up in the corner.  That’s not me.  For me, a mentor just means a friend who has walked before me and is available to bounce ideas off of.  He’s there to guide me through the basic, day-to-day trenches of ministry when I have questions.  He’s there when people disappoint me and he’s there when people hurt me.  He’s there when I mess up and he’s there for the celebrations.  Mentor to me just means a friend who has walked a similar path and is willing to help.  I needed a friend like that.  I’d also encourage you to become a mentor to someone else.
6) List a few brief takeaways you have learned from your journey that you would like to share with others. 
  • It’s easier to make a change when your soul is at rest.  Start by surrendering these decisions to God.
  • Make a list of careers you have no interest in.  Mine was in my head.  For me accounting was out.  My math skills are sub-par. I just wish NASA would stop calling me.  Think this through for yourself.  I’ll wait.  See?  You know more about your likes and dislikes than you thought.
  • Get your feet wet.  This is huge…wait for it…if you think you’ll like something….try it.  Try it on a small scale then work your way up.  If I had preached five times and hated it and ruined everyone’s morning then I’d have moved on (hopefully).
  • There is hope for your future.  Change is going to happen and we get to control a lot of it.
  • Work has purpose and God made us to work, but don’t make work your purpose, and don’t make purpose your god.
Anything else you would like to share?
When I was stuck and depressed I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do.  I had no motivation to change my life because life felt hopeless.  Here’s what’s cool though: when you begin taking steps and start getting unstuck, the whole world opens up in your mind.  Nowadays when I look at the span of my life and things I’d like to accomplish I realize I don’t have enough time to do it all.  It’s exciting to dream now.  I hope everyone reading this can reach that place.
I would like to thank Guy for taking time share some of his story. To learn more about him or the church he leads, you can connect with him on Facebook, check out One Life Punxsy on Facebook or at onelifepunxsy.org 
If you have a story you would like to share that may benefit others, please let me know!
Send me an email, comment below, or connect with me on Facebook @tylerjbrooks2016

Part 3: Getting Clarity on Your Purpose and Taking ACTION!

Once you have discovered why you don’t know what you want and how to overcome your fears of failure and success, the next step is to get clarity on your purpose and take action! Clarity, for my purpose here, is simply a way of describing a clear vision or a focused idea. You know where you’re going. You may already have a lot of clarity on where you want to be, or you may just have a IMG_2615broad, general idea of what you want. Wherever you currently find yourself, a lack of clarity is often what keeps us from taking action steps. For example, I may say that I’m unhappy in my current work and wish I could do work that matters and have more freedom, but what does that actually look like for me? I’ve heard many people talk about how much they dislike their current work, but they never seem to focus on the kind of work they really want to do. An exercise that I try to do is to spend time thinking realistically about what I want my life to look like in 3 to 5 years from now. I think about big picture ideas like be a better dad and husband, have less debt, be a full-time writer/coach/speaker. Those are good starting points but it helps to get more specific with things like spend more time fishing with my son, go on weekly dates with my wife, pay off student loans and credit cards, publish 3 books, speak publicly once a month. Once you start getting specific and focused in your vision for the future, you can start to work backwards to set goals for next year, this year, next month, and next week. When you have a specific target, you can more easily see what information and activities fall in line with your vision and what doesn’t. Sorting through the books, emails, and blogs you read will help you gain even more focus as you hone in on where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. Spend some time today trying to envision what your typical weekday could look like in 3 years from now. What do you want your schedule to look like? How do you want to spend your time? How do you want others do view you? How do you want your finances to look? Where do you want to be living? After answering some of these questions, take at least one more action step, such as the ones below.

Actions you can take TODAY:

  1. Start a blog/website (sites like WordPress.com make this super easy and cheap)
  2. Talk to a friend/colleague about your business idea
  3. Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier for tomorrow so you have time to exercise/write/work on your business
  4. Call today to arrange a babysitter for THIS week so you can take your wife/husband on a date
  5. Buy a notebook to start writing down your ideas
  6. Start tracking the food you eat to see where you can make improvements.
  7. Make a purchase, start a conversation, or write out your plans and goals.

There are many more actions you could take depending on your specific situation and goals, but the point is to take just one small step now so that you can start the process. Gaining momentum and achieving your biggest goals and dreams starts with one step today, then another tomorrow, and again the next day and so on.

What one step will you take TODAY toward realizing your dream or reaching your goals?

I’d love to hear your response in the COMMENTS section, on Facebook, or by email.

In case you missed it, here are links to the first 2 parts of this 3-part series.

Part 1: Why you don’t know what you want

Part 2: Overcoming your fear of failure and success

To learn more about me and tylerjbrooks.com, check out my About page and this post.

Part 2: Overcoming your fear of failure and success

In the last post, I talked about false beliefs about ourselves and our lives that hold us back from pursuing our purpose. The reason these false beliefs hold so much power over us is because they are inherently intertwined with fear. What starts out as a seemingly small I’m not sure how well this will turn out, can quickly grow into paralyzing fear and self-doubt that says I’m sure I will fail so it’s not worth starting. Then your past failures will come to mind as “evidence” that your fearful thoughts are concrete truths, leading to a deeply-held false belief that you accept as the gospel truth. You may even realize all this is happening and know in your mind that your fear has grown into false beliefs, but you still find yourself living as if they were true. Every time you try to take even a small step toward change, fear crops up and tells you its not worth it. This can be a vicious cycle that goes round and round for years, causing you to give up hope altogether. I would like to offer some ideas on how you can break that cycle, get your hope back and start winning the fight against all the fear and lies. There are two fears that I would like to address.

Fear of Failure

The fear of failure when pursuing something you actually care about is probably the most obvious and common fear. You have thoughts like what if I waste my time and money and what if I fail publicly and embarrass myself/my family? These thoughts are rooted in your false beliefs and you need to confront them with truth. For example, if you’re worried about wasting time and money, time-1558037_640have you considered what it really means to waste something? Waste implies activity with no purpose from which nothing good or productive can come. Let’s say you chase your dream for a year, spend several hours a week working on it and even put up some cash to make it all happen and at the end of that time you’re still not where you want to be and decide to scrap the whole thing. Have you really lost that time and money and not evened learned anything? I certainly hope not. You would have 12 more months of experience, knowledge, and likely some clarity. As far as embarrassment goes, can you think of anything worse than getting to the end of your life and telling your grandkids you lived a life of regret and broken dreams because you constantly let fear win? Let’s do something about it now.

Fear of success

The second type of fear I want to address is the one that creeps in once we start moving past our fear of failure. Maybe you’re starting to believe you may not fail or when you do it’s not the end of your journey. But what if you do succeed, what then? What if you have tremendous success in pursuing your purpose only to wake up one day and realize that it wasn’t your purpose after all? Maybe you lived up to expectations of someone else and traveled a path to a place you didn’t really want to be. If you’re reading this, you are probably already living that reality to some degree—with or without some level of perceived success. This is a tough fear to overcome because it’s tricky and even manages to undermine our most positive and optimistic thoughts. In order to beat this one, you have to closely examine your definition of success. That term is thrown around so loosely these days that it’s difficult to pin down. What is most important is defining the word for yourself. Look at your personality, your values, and what is most important in your life. What do you want your life to look like in 5, 10, or 50 years? How do you want to be remembered? What do you want to leave behind as your legacy for your children? Although you may come up with a definition of success today (I encourage you to actually write it down), keep in mind that it exists on a spectrum—that is, it isn’t just a checklist or a task to be completed and you can experience various elements of success over time. As a matter of fact, if you take the time to define it honestly for yourself, you can experience success today (for example, spend time writing and creating or improve my health).

I encourage you to take a few minutes (right now if possible) and write out a brief definition of success for your life. It doesn’t have to be polished and refined; it doesn’t even have to be brief. Just get some ideas on paper (or screen) and start the process. Also take a moment to write down some of your fears and follow them up with what you know is or could be true. Whenever you feel afraid of failure, look at your truth. Whenever you fear success, look at your definition and tell yourself to quit being ridiculous 🙂

If you would like, let me know your definition of SUCCESS in the comments below, on Facebook, or shoot me an email

*Just in case you missed it, here’s the first post in this 3-part series Part 1: Why you don’t know what you want

To learn more about me and tylerjbrooks.com, check out my About page and this post.

Part 1: Why you don’t know what you want

Purpose of this series: I believe everyone has a purpose in life—something they are uniquely gifted and positioned to do—that can range from founding a revolutionary company that changes the world, to being an awesome dad who changes the world of his kids. There are countless variations of individual purpose (it’s obviously unique to each person) and millions of people trying to tell you how to find yours. Although I can’t tell you what your purpose is, I hope to share some clear, concise insight that will help you dig down to the roots of who you are, what you want in life, and what’s holding you back from pursuing your purpose. In this series, I will identify the false beliefs, fears, and distractions that you are allowing to derail your dreams, and offer a few practical first steps you can take to overcome them and get back on track. This content will by no means be exhaustive, but I hope it will give you a good start in thinking through your purpose and overcoming some common obstacles.

Here’s a quick summary of what to expect:

Part 1: “Why you don’t know what you want”

Part 2: “How to overcome your fear of failure AND success”

Part 3: “Getting clarity on your purpose and taking ACTION!”

Let’s get started!

Part 1: Why you “don’t know” what you want…

I’ve often struggled with asking myself the question “what do you really want to do with your life?” When I was a kid I went from being an aspiring artist, marine biologist, to a preacher, to famous actor, to “just a millionaire.” Growing up I always had a wide variety of interests and I was a quick learner. I believed that I could be whatever I wanted to be and I all I had to do was decide to pursue it. candy-588021_640But as I grew older, that concept seemed to become a sticking point for me. Like the kid standing in a candy store with a hundred choices before him, I found it difficult to make a choice on which path to pursue. I completed a full semester of college before I even chose a major. After graduation, I got a job in the exact field I studied, which I kept for about 18 months before changing careers and industries (twice). Even as I write this, my day job pays the bills but is not completely in line with my passion and purpose.

I have realized my indecisive behavior is rooted in fear and false beliefs that you likely share…

False belief #1: I can do anything I want

The truth is, there are a lot of things that I cannot do, but that’s OK. I was not created and uniquely gifted to do everything that a human could possibly do. I have a certain skill set, personality, likes and dislikes, and strengths and weaknesses that are in line with some types of work, but not others. Coming to grips with this truth may be tough at first, but doing so will actually give you more freedom by knowing which paths are not a good fit for you. Accurate self-awareness is a worthy goal that we must always work on while pursuing our purpose.

False belief #2: I have to make a choice early in life and can never choose another path

This belief led to overwhelming anxiety in my high school and college years. I felt tremendous pressure in choosing which college to attend, what to study, what career path to take and ultimately who I wanted to be. Once I had a Bachelor’s degree I felt somewhat trapped in that particular path. The truth is, I loved my college years for the experience, relationships, the subjects I studied and how I grew as a person. However, the job prospects for my field were pretty bleak and didn’t pay very well without a master’s degree. Since I was married and started to have children shortly after college, I had to make some tough decisions just to pay the bills. The point is, just because you have a degree in one field or a decent-paying job, doesn’t mean you have to stay there forever if that’s not where you want to be. I knew a counselor in college who had a 5-year degree and was an engineer for almost a decade before he quit, got another degree in school counseling and became a counselor at my college. I guarantee he was a far better counselor than engineer and he was vastly more content in his work because it was in line with his personality and passions. Whether its a change in careers or discovering how you want to spend your retirement years, if you’re still breathing it’s not too late.

False belief #3: I will always fail

This belief is a very tricky one because it has elements of truth and we are really good at remembering our past failures when we think about pursuing a new goal. The truth is, if we chase after our dreams and pursue a life of purpose, we will fail. We will fail at meeting all of our goals, at doing everything right; we will fail at being perfect parents, employees, business owners. The hard reality of life is that if we try a lot, we will fail a lot. But we won’t always fail. The key here is to move from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm (I believe that’s borrowed from Winston Churchill?). Enthusiasm, focus, and perseverance are absolutely necessary to keep us going after we fail once, twice, or even a thousand times. All great success stories have moments of failure and heartache, but what makes those stories so good are the character and passion of the people straining toward something that seemed impossible—at first.

I have just shared three of many false beliefs that have often held me back from pursuing my purpose. There are others that I have and I’m sure you can think of more of your own. I encourage you to share some of them in the Comments below, on Facebook, or send me an email. Sharing these false beliefs with others helps take away their power to control you and reveals how false they really are. I look forward to hearing from you.

What are some false beliefs you have believed about yourself? How have they held you back from pursuing your purpose? 

Share your responses & thoughts in the comments section or on Facebook, or send me an email.

*Upcoming: Part 2: How to overcome your fear of failure AND success, Part 3: Getting clarity on your purpose and taking ACTION!

To learn more about me and tylerjbrooks.com, check out my About page and this post.

Confessions…

I have a confession to make: I’m not an expert. I know that might come as a shock to you since I have sooo many followers and you’ve probably heard a lot about me in the news (or not 😉), but the truth is, I’m not.

Me and my lovely wife, Abby; Niagra Falls, April 2016.
Me and my lovely wife, Abby; Niagra Falls, April 2016.

I’m just an average guy working an average job trying to raise my kids to hopefully be more than average someday. I’m just a person with more hopes and dreams than money or talent; I’m a guy that feels more often stuck in a rut than relevant and fulfilled. I have struggles and fears and doubts. But I’m daring to do more than just dream; I’m daring to step out and write a different story for my life and for my family. I want to be better than average; I want to excel at what I do and exceed my goals. I want to make an impact on the world and help change people’s lives.

I don’t know if any of this sounds familiar to you, but if it does I encourage you to stick around. My “big idea” with this blog/website is to build a platform through which I can connect with people like you, offering hope, guidance, and motivation: that is, hope for a better life, guidance on which direction to choose for your life, and motivation to overcome your fears and doubts to take the necessary next steps to make it happen. Personally, I have constantly struggled with discouragement and self-doubt; no matter what I do it seems to follow me and I’ve found myself giving up on my dreams before I’ve really even started. For a long time I have looked for and often found encouragement and support from other people. I’ve had good friends who would listen for hours over meals or coffee; pastors have given me wise counsel to commit every part of my life to God in prayer, and the Lord knows my wife has heard and considered more than her fair share of big ideas and plans, work struggles, fears and doubts, and identity crises. While good friends, pastors, and spouses are all great to have around, I’ve decided that in order to stay motivated and encouraged, I need to serve others in the ways that I need to be served. Of course I cannot give what I do not possess, so it is my goal to continually seek out ideas, tools, resources, and stories that will encourage and inspire me, allowing me to pass that along to you. I get tremendous satisfaction out of teaching and encouraging others and that is exactly what I aim to do with tylerjbrooks.com and related content. Please let me know how I can help you.

That’s it, my first post! Please check out my ‘About‘ page if you haven’t already, sign up for my email list, and feel free to connect with me by email or on Facebook.

If you’re a new reader, please take a minute to introduce yourself, tell me ONE big idea/dream/business/goal that you would like to at least start on THIS year. Send me an email tylerjbrooks.writer@gmail.com  or comment below or on Facebook