When I went to college in 1999, I started in the undergraduate program for the law. Yup, that’s right. I was going to be a lawyer!
Other than good grades in high school, nothing really pointed me in the direction of law. I’m sure it had to do with my parents feeling that law was a good career path to make money, and I wanted to make my parents proud.
But after 2 years, I wasn’t happy. In fact, my grades were the lowest they had ever been since 6th grade. I felt like a failure, and I didn’t know why.
A counselor asked me what my favorite classes were, and the answer I gave was anything that had to do with business. I loved organizational behavior, human resources, business law, and marketing. I could care less about anything related to pure law.
So I made the switch halfway through my college career from undergraduate law to the undergraduate business program.
And guess what?
Yup, you guessed it. My grades skyrocketed back to my Albert Einstein-esque days of high school. I was loving every class… except for financial accounting!
In our childhood, we were all raised to please our parents. We didn’t know what it was to please God, our parents were our everything.
The problem with parental influence (sometimes)
But sometimes our parents are raising us from their own experiences. Their experiences could have been great, so they want us to walk in their footsteps. Their experiences could have also been awful, so they guide us in fear and shelter us from going through what they went through.
And so we make our decisions on work and career based on what our parents have guided us towards. Years later, we find ourselves living out a dream that wasn’t even our own – unhappy and feeling unfulfilled.
Our parent's desires aren’t our desires.
Our desires should be God’s desires for us.
The Bible says:
"The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord , endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands." (Psalms 138:8 NIV)
God created you. He designed you specifically with your own vision, motivations, fears, desires, and strengths. When you separate your desires from those that others may have unknowingly projected onto you, the picture of the business God created YOU to start becomes more clear.
Your purpose in entrepreneurship is unique to YOU
The business you’re supposed to be running isn’t to please your parents, spouse, friends, or the church. Your dream business is what God Himself wants you to do. He planted a vision in YOU, specific to YOU.
So how do we know if what we’re doing is our own, our parents, or God’s vision for our business lives?
First, we have to believe 100% from the bottom of our core that God has a unique purpose for us. If we don’t believe this, then we’ll continue to run businesses for ourselves and not for God.
Second, we have to acknowledge and confess that we might not be living out God’s dream, but instead someone else’s.
Third, ask God through prayer and meditation to bring to mind anything that we’re doing that could be other’s expectations versus what God designed for us to do.
Finally, we need to make a list of what comes to mind between what we think is from God and what we think is from expectations others put on us.
When we take a sober inventory of what influences our true purpose and calling, some of us might be surprised at how far down a road we’ve traveled that we weren’t meant to go down.
I pray that this exercise helps bring more entrepreneurs closer to understanding God’s calling for their life.
Imagine a day where we’re all launching and running businesses unique to our God-inspired DNA, not based on what the world wants us to do.
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