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Discovering My Purpose

| June 15, 2020
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Like many others, we are looking forward to being able to worship again with our Church family. We have learned to stream the services over the last few weeks. My family may not be paying as much attention at home, but Jennifer and I have been blessed by the services nonetheless. Yesterday's message caused me to think introspectively with regard to purpose and humility.
Last year, Jennifer and I traveled to Germany to attend our first Rotary International Conference and see the sights. When listening to the speakers on Leadership Day, I was most impressed by the Australian founder of "Thank You" water company. At a young age, he and his girlfriend established this company to serve the malnourished poor and donate all the profits of the company to provide safe access to clean water, health care, and sanitation programs around the world.

They developed a team totally committed to their purpose, humbling themselves and subjugating personal ambitions to their goals. They all worked together and stayed focused on their mission which was serving the malnourished poor. And, they accomplished what many thought they never could.

They were attacked by the media, who doubted their intentions, but they steadfastly remained loyal to their cause. The story was truly inspiring.  For more, feel free to read, "Lost in a Foreign Land".

A person of integrity expects to be believed and when they are not, they let time prove them right. 

During the conference, this got me thinking. Were we at Franklin Wealth truly inspired by something greater than ourselves and was everyone committed to one purpose as one team? For the last year we have been working to refine and redefine our purpose as a team and make sure every team member feels this deeply. 

Our purpose at Franklin Wealth Management is to inspire and empower others to fulfill purposes greater than themselves. For myself and our team it is a powerful and motivating cause that provides meaning.  It allows us to focus on others and help them discover personal missions for the next chapter of their lives.

They say that in order to become great you must first become a servant. For the last year, I have been on a long journey to become a better leader, be more of a servant, and find myself. To focus more on others, one of my mentors has tasked me with working to become uniquely curious with what is going on in other's lives. As we become curious, we develop empathy. As we develop empathy we grow in compassion. We develop compassion so we can truly practice Love towards one another. I discovered in the past that I've grown disheartened when I felt I cared more about other's success than they did. Nowhere was this more evident than with my son, Jack.

I realized that what I wanted for my son was not necessarily what he wanted for himself. I've apologized to him many times over the last year for trying to push him toward a path that wasn't his own. Jennifer and I have worked hard to support him finding his own path and help him the best we can. He has found a new love for the guitar and swimming during his first year at McCallie. We're also grateful he has stuck with the swim team in the face of particularly grueling practices.

Recently, I asked Jack when he felt I was proud of him. Always the jokester, he answered, "Wednesdays". I told him I was proud of him when he persisted in something that did not come easily and when he showed integrity and character. I also asked him, "When does your Dad love you?"   He said, "Always". I'm glad he recognizes this, because I have been striving to consistently show him and tell him how much I love him.

Some learn by reading.  Others learn by observing.  Unfortunately, many of us learn from painful experiences.  When we encounter these experiences, we hopefully become more humble and grow into better versions of ourselves.  There are few today that are not going through some sort of struggle.  Tough times allow us to ponder how we can become the best versions of ourselves.  How we respond to these lessons and life challenges makes all the difference.

They say that the best leaders, lead from the rear. In the book, "Good to Great" those companies that were able to transform into "Great" companies were all lead by a humble leader with an indomitable will to transform the culture with a focus on teamwork and organizational goals. Most leaders lack this humility. Those who get attention and are remembered are usually great at promoting themselves. But it is the leaders who make everyone else look great that are truly making the biggest impact.

Is it possible for us to develop the type of humility these books speak of? What are we willing to sacrifice for a cause? Can we live up to the standard of a Mother Theresa, Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King Jr.?

Martin Luther King said it well when describing how he would like to be remembered. His words are written below:

"Every now and then I guess we all think realistically about that day when we will be victimized with what is life's final common denominator--that something we call death.

We all think about it and every now and then I think about my own death and I think about my own funeral.  And I don't think about it in a morbid sense. And every now and then I ask myself what it is that I would want said and I leave the word to you this morning.

If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don't want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy tell him not to talk too long.  Every now and then I wonder what I want him to say.

Tell him not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize--that isn't important. Tell not to mention that have 300 or 400 other awards--that's not important. Tell him not to mention where I went to school.

I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody.

I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe the naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.

Yes, if you want to, say that I was a drum major. Say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness.
And all of the other shallow things will not matter.

I won't have any money to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that is all I want to say. If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a well song, if I can show somebody he's traveling wrong, then my living will not be in vain."

Joe D. Franklin, CFP is Founder and President of Franklin Wealth Management, and CEO of Innovative Advisory Partners, a registered investment advisory firm in Hixson, Tennessee. A 20+year industry veteran, he contributes guest articles for Money Magazine and authors the Franklin Backstage Pass blog.  Joe has also been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Magazine, USA Today and other publications.


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