I was lucky enough to find my purpose early, and to find it right at home. My family was not only close-knit and God-fearing, they were also hard drinkers and sometimes fighters. They’d get together on the weekend and it was like a contest to see who could drink the most and who could cause themselves the most embarrassment. One Saturday night, they were at it again, carrying on and talking about things that don’t matter. I started saying to my sister that I didn’t want to grow up that way. I wanted to make a difference in the world. I wanted to make it a better place, not just for myself, but for my family and everyone else around me. I wanted to be a history maker and a world shaker. I wanted to make an impact on the neighborhood I grew up in. I wanted to help kids who needed a hand up and out of that “almost” place. I realized that I didn’t have to be the way my family had always been.
My sister said she thought that was a great idea, but she was smart enough not to stop there. She reminded me about the friend of hers who won a silver medal at the Olympics in swimming. She didn’t do it by dreaming about it. She would hit the alarm clock at five in the morning and go to the pool to practice. Then after school, she was back in the pool again for another couple of hours. I used to wonder if her hair ever had a chance to dry.
The point my sister was making was that if I was going to accomplish anything, I had better get desperate about it. I would have to do a lot of things that were new to me and even new to my family. There’d be difficult days ahead of me. In fact, they were much harder than I had imagined they would be. But, I had taken the first step. I had made a decision that I was going to live my life by design rather than by default. I had decided to take control of my destiny. That good desperation provided the key to change: motivation.
I was given divine desperation, which is not panic, not weakness, not frenzy, and not worry. It’s determination to do what needs to be done in order to be the person you want to be. I was young enough that I didn’t stop to think that it would be hard, that there would be so much to learn and so many things to do. We could all use more of that child-like faith and fearlessness. The most important thing I can tell you is that you have all the talents and tools that you need to become a world shaker and a history maker. Pause for a minute and realize that you have them and then embrace the God-given confidence and desire to put them to work that is already within you.