Coaching Corner: Knowing Your Mission
- 2008 27 Feb
Chances are, you’ve taken more than a few personality tests in your time on the planet.
I wouldn’t be surprised if, right now, you could rattle off your Myers Briggs profile (I’m INFJ), your DISC assessment (I’m high “I” with a secondary “D”), and tell me your top five strengths from the StrengthsFinder test (I won’t list them all, but one of them is “Woo”—spiffy, huh?).
Tests like these are really terrific, and if you’ve had the chance to take even one of them, I’m sure you’ve applied the results to your life in practical, useful ways. But as good as they are, in my work as a coach I find they all fall short of reaching the truly deep question we all want to answer: Why am I here? What is the profound, unique God-given mission I was designed to fulfill in this world?
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and personality profile is sort of like learning all about what kind of car you’re driving. It’s very useful knowledge. You know—are you a race car, or a Lamborghini … are you an SUV or a VW bug? So it’s helpful to know that. But if you don’t have the right kind of fuel in the tank, and you don’t know where you’re going … then just knowing what kind of car you’re driving isn’t enough, is it? You’re still not going to be moving in the direction of your God-inspired destiny.
I think the reason most personality tests and even (dare I say it) spiritual gift surveys don’t answer that deep question for us is because tests like that tend to be focused on understanding ourselves intellectually. In other words, they’re head-centered. Now don’t get me wrong. I love my head—that is to say, I appreciate my mind, my intellect, my capacity to reason and gain knowledge. But while the intellect is brilliant and knows many things that are vital to life, there are some questions that your mind just isn't equipped to answer.
Among those are the deep questions of who you are at the core, what makes you come alive, and what your overarching life mission in this world really is. It’s your heart, in alignment with God’s Spirit, that knows how to answer those questions; not your mind. Once the answers are known, of course, your mind becomes a great ally for implementing and integrating this new understanding into your life. But the journey to discovering your true life purpose is a heart journey. And you have to go into your heart to find the answers.
You see, I believe that God uniquely designed your heart in the same way he designed everything else in creation. You see a bird’s design, and it’s quickly apparent that it was made to fly. You see a giraffe, and you know just as quickly that it wasn’t. We all share many common traits in our human DNA. But we are all also exquisitely unique; we were, in fact, created to be just that way. There has never been another human soul like you on the earth, not since the beginning of time. And there will never be another one like you again. God designed your soul with a unique collection of deep desires, passions, longings, and things that truly make you come alive—for a specific reason. And all of these, when brought together into the light of God’s presence, will point you to the true, God-inspired mission of your life. Mission flows from identity.
So how do you get to that deep, heart-centered information? There’s no test that will give you the answer, but there is a journey that will get you there; or, more specifically, a relational adventure with God. For in order to know why you’re here, you have to uncover who you really are at the core—that is, your unique God-given identity as his beloved son or daughter. And the only way to learn that is through an ongoing, radical, intimate journey with God.
God has a specific destiny in mind for your life; one he has woven into the fabric of your deepest desires, passions and joys. He has prepared a path for you to follow, and given you a unique quest to fulfill. And he is waiting to reveal it to you, in all of its wonder and beauty. But the only way to get there is through intimacy with him.
His invitation is open. How will you respond?
Michael D. Warden is a Professional Co-Active Coach, nationally certified through the Coaches Training Institute, and a member of the International Coach Federation. Michael’s clients’ one common trait is their passion to live a bigger life—to discover what they're here for, and boldly go after that vision with confidence and authenticity. Find more on his life and work at ascentcoachinggroup.com.