In 2018, the average life expectancy for Americans was 78.7 years, based on research from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). If a person is currently 30 years old, they have approximately 17,776 days, or 437,000 hours, before their time runs out.
What will you see when you approach the last days of your life and look back?
- a picture of someone who made a difference in the lives of their family and others, or
- an image of someone who achieved a great deal of notoriety and accumulated material comforts, but is approaching the end with broken relationships, regrets and little joy or fulfillment?
Every person has a purpose. It is important to stop and consider what yours is. It’s also imperative to gain clarity about what we would like to see at the end of our days.
Developing a Strategic Life Plan
After clearly imagining the picture, the process of consciously painting it should start or continue today. Developing a strategic life plan may be helpful.
As we all know, each minute, hour, day and year is precious, although it is easy to take time for granted. To live a full and meaningful life, we should be intentional and take the time to prayerfully consider and visualize the end of our life.
The process of “painting the picture” should begin with understanding your purpose, vision and mission. Here’s an exercise:
- Determine the roles you play in all areas of life and with whom you play them.
- Then ask yourself what you would like those you love, lead and serve to say about you at the end of your life.
- Are you living in such a way that these people would say what you desire?
- If not, do not lose heart or become discouraged.
- Determine what needs to change and begin the process of intentionally making those changes.
Time passes quickly. In our busy culture, we can become oblivious to this fact. It is nice to occasionally review material, such as the poem written by Linda Ellis titled “The Dash.”
It will be worth investing a few minutes to read it. It could prove helpful as you begin the process of developing a strategic focus for the remainder of your life.
Starting with “Why?”
Asking why can be life-changing. It can help us to consider purpose in a new way.
By starting with why, we begin to focus on maximizing the remaining moments, hours, days, weeks, months and years in ways that matter. It means getting clear on what we want to accomplish in our lives, and it determines what our legacy will be.
The challenge then becomes determining how to live the answer to why. This process can be a catalyst for evolving toward a purpose bigger than we are. Taking the time to develop a vision of what that looks like is challenging, but it provides a certain level of freedom.
Once you do this, it should not be kept secret. The process should be something you want to share with others and encourage them to undertake as well. Many people live aimless lives, doing just enough to get by. They lack an understanding of or interest in getting clear on their purpose.
Whether you realize it or not, this lack of purpose can negatively affect the individuals with whom you interact. Leading from a place of purpose fosters passion and a strong desire to make a difference in the lives of others and the world. It also helps in recognizing and overcoming the challenges and distractions that impede progress.
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