Fellow Liberians, what do you most remember our leaders for both past and present? What would you also be remember for as a Liberian and as you leave this earth?
Have you heard the name Alfred Nobel? Let me tell you a short story about him. Alfred Nobel is the inventor of dynamite but while he was yet alive he read his obituary. It happened that while he had gone on a visit his older brother died, but it was mistaken that Alfred Nobel died. The news spread so much so that all who heard it were glad.
Why were they happy about his death? Many in his day were angry about the dynamite he had invented. Apart from its original use the dynamite was being used by others for purposes that were dangerous to individuals and communities. While he was generating millions of dollars from his invention there were others who were being victims of his invention. And so when the news had spread that he was dead many that were victims of his invention were indeed happy that justice had been done.
As he approached his community on his way home there was people discussing his death negatively while papers carried his death news as well. It was from this point that Alfred Nobel decided that he would do something meaningful that will contribute to humanity and so he founded the Nobel Peace Prize using the money he had generated from his invention. Today the Nobel Peace Prize is the highest and most prestigious award on planet earth.
For the first time in the history of that foundation, there has not been any country from which two persons has emerged winners at the same time-even though we have two persons from South Africa that won the award on separate occasions-but Liberia did. Isn’t this something to be proud of as a country? But I am asking you this question again what would you be remember for and what do you most remember our leaders for? Have any of our leaders done any significant thing that has gone down in history and has imparted generations after him or her beginning from Joseph Jenkins Roberts to leaders following him? This is a question I want you to think about.
A Greek philosopher is famous for this saying: “Man know thyself.” Friend, to discover purpose you have to discover yourself and to be remembered in this life you must live your life on purpose. Unfortunately, many of our leaders did not live their lives on purpose and did not have an understanding of the future they wanted for this country and so they lost the original vision for Liberia.
Let me give you this shocking information-upon my return to this country, I have had the time to speak with many Liberians including some that were in leadership. About 99 percent of the people that I spoke with were not living their lives on purpose. They did not have a plan and an understanding of their purpose, mission and vision for life, family, business, and country. And there are many more in this country who are living life aimlessly. And so how are we going to impact this country as well as others? No wonder while if a man came with a little cash and rice and have asked Liberians to vote for him or have asked them to riot/demonstrate or take up arms they vote for that person or jump into the streets or take up arms immediately without any question or evaluation. But how would they ask or evaluate the person making the request when they themselves are living aimlessly – without a plan and purpose? Fellow Liberians, we have a lot of work to do in this country?
Below is an exercise for writing your purpose statement and is a list for life planning. From this list, begin to write a statement of purpose for your life:
Burdens – What touches your heart? 2) Hallmarks – List significant books, people, events, mentors and accomplishments that have shape your life so far. 3) Themes – What recurring themes or issues keep coming up in your conversations? 4) Tools and Resources – What specific resources do you have at your side that you could employ as you fulfill your mission? 5) Style – What is your style of leadership, your personality and gifts? What unique means of influence do you use when you try to accomplish a task?
6) Dreams – What are the things you’d love to do before you died? 7) Mission – This is it. Begin to write out your purpose statement that answers the questions: Why do you exist? Why did God give you to the world and Liberia, the country of you birth? 8) Vision – Based on your mission statement, describe in detail what you see as the ultimate results of your life, as if you could see your contribution from the other end of it. Start each vision statement with the words: “I see…” 9) Core Values – Now list words that describe your deepest values. They should be principles that drive you. These should be simple, descriptive words; you should list no more than six. 10) Goals and Objectives – Finally, list areas of your life (spiritual life, family, professional, social) that are important to your purpose.
I believe the above will give you a better sense of living your life on purpose.
(Chealy Brown Dennis is a motivational speaker and offers training in leadership and organizational development; strategic planning, and team building. He also offers on-location and train-the-trainer formats. He can be contacted through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on phone at: 0886-264-611)