At this point, you’ve probably over “self help.” While a lot of the practices sound great on paper, they often just end up adding to your to-do list — with nebulously beneficial results. There’s nothing wrong with doing things to protect your health. But at some point, you have to start asking why we’re doing all this … and if it’s working.
That’s why Jordan Lee Dooley believes in a different kind of “self-help.”
The speaker and author of Own Your Every Day knows what it’s like to set big goals and dream big dreams, but she also says that it’s easy to get priorities backwards. For her, achieving your vision isn’t about getting the best possible outcome on your vision board — it’s about serving others and serving God. Any other positive outcome is just a bonus.
We spoke with her about the right way to pursue your calling and why purpose isn’t achieved at the end of the journey—it’s found along the way.
What would you say to the person that wants to pursue what they are called to do, but doesn’t know how to get there?
The very first thing is I often want people to shift their mindset. For me, especially as a believer, I believe my purpose is ingrained in me. I bring that to every position vs. the position giving it to me. That way, I’m not depending on these specific places, and instead I’m bringing my significance that I’m made with to those specific places—even if they don’t seem that awesome.
The second thing is really be willing to own your “genius zone.” Start to identify who you can best serve, how you can best serve them looking at your life experiences, the grief or the challenges you’ve gone through and the lessons you’ve learned.
Why do you caution people from getting too caught up in setting goals and milestones?
I think sometimes when our experience doesn’t meet our expectations we really experience that gap or that insecurity. That’s usually where insecurity and feeling stuck is. I thought I would of been married at this point or I thought I would lose ten pounds by now or I thought I would be at this level in my company and I’m not.
But, I have found that in my own life, there have been times I’ve gotten very obsessed with goals. But when we obsess over a certain outcome, and we miss the impact along the way to achieving those goals—the opportunities we have to show up where we are before the goal is achieved or before the dream comes true.
Be the person that you see in your dreams before your dreams come true. And, I don’t mean someone who’s like, “Well, if I want to be the person in my dreams, I need to be making six figures a year.” I mean the person who’s confident, the person who’s intentional, the person who is present and alert and joyful and serving others.
You’ve talked a lot about the significance of Proverbs 16:9: “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Can you explain why that’s so significant?
I believe we are called and made to take action. We can’t just sit around and hope that something is going land on a silver platter for us, but at the same time, there comes this point of giving your best and then just trusting Him with the rest. I think a lot of us are trying to be the best. That’s the wrong goal. There’s a big difference between trying to be the best and simply giving your best.
I always say, “Impact over outcome.” I can work and push and be very intentional with the actions that I take to get a certain desired outcome, but I have to trust that if that’s not the outcome, so long as impact was made and I showed up where I was, then it was still a purposeful endeavor. God still was glorified in it—He still got his way and impact was still made.