4 Ways to Pour Yourself into Your Pursuits

This is a guest post from Ryan J. Ferrier. Ryan has successfully launched internet startups that have been acquired by Microsoft and Zynga. He now helps young professionals launch lives that matter at Bootstrap My Life. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Norman Vincent Peale once said, “Nothing can stand in the way of the man who focuses his entire self on a problem” (from The Power of Positive Thinking).

A Runner in a Relay Race - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/photosbyjim, Image #1382291

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/photosbyjim

If you have a problem worth solving or a prize worth pursuing, it’s not enough to just put your mind to fulfilling that purpose. It is not just a matter of putting your heart into it either.

If nothing is going to stand in your way, you’ve got to throw your entire self into that pursuit. It’s an all encompassing task.

But what does it look like to put all of who you are into something?

There’s a short scripture verse that I have found helpful:

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

Interestingly this sentence is just about all that is said about Jesus in the years leading up to his public ministry.

Still, it says quite a lot. In preparing to live out his purpose, Jesus grew in four key areas:

  • Wisdom: mentally and emotionally
  • Stature: physically
  • Favor with God: spiritually
  • Favor with man: relationally

With this model in mind, invest accordingly.

  1. Invest in wisdom. Wisdom is more than just mental acuity. It’s really about insight and understanding. Insight into how the world works, how people operate, how situations unfold and in light of those insights, understanding the most appropriate way to live. Wisdom is mental and emotional intelligence applied to the study of life. It’s being ‘life smart.”

    To grow in wisdom, I like to:

    • Read and study material that makes me smarter
    • Listen to my life by taking time to reflect on patterns and situations that reoccur
    • Watch and follow others that I admire
    • Practice what I have learned
  2. Invest in your body. There is no area of my life that has as much immediate impact on all other areas as when I invest in my physical health. When I spend time nourishing my body, my mind is sharp, my emotions stabilize, my spirit is awake, and my relationships improve. However, the opposite happens when I either neglect my physical body or when I punish it by working it too hard.

    Keep it simple and keep it fun:

    • Eat whole foods
    • Move around a lot
    • Go hard occasionally
  3. Invest in your spirit. Whatever you believe, the benefits of activities like meditation, prayer, and being still are documented and well-proven. For me, these practices have a restorative effect on my soul and open me up to connect with a deeper sense of purpose for my life.

    Each morning I like to take time to do the following:

    • Sit in silence
    • Read scripture and other inspirational material
    • Meditate on what I’ve read
    • Pray
  4. Invest in your relationships. This is an area that, for me, has been underdeveloped over the last six years. I invested heavily in my professional career, starting companies and getting them off the ground. Frankly, I did this at the expense of developing meaningful relationships, and I have some regrets about it.

    A company can fire you. It’s a lot harder for true friends to do the same.

    And ironically, if you want the work of your hands to have a real and lasting impact, you’ll need key relationships to keep you committed to that purpose.

    Here are the steps that I am taking to become more relationally connected:

    • Clear time on my calendar for family and friends
    • Open myself to chance encounters and impromptu social opportunities
    • Invest deeply in a few key relationships

So that’s the whole picture. And if, like Jesus, we commit to being whole people, nothing will stand in our way.

Question: Have you thought about what it takes to put your whole self into your pursuits? What area is the most difficult to engage? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • John1908

    Ryan, I really enjoyed your post! I’m fully engaged when I have meaningful goals and consistent review of my goals to stay motivated. I use prayer to ensure that my goals are aligned to Gods will. I don’t feel fully engaged if I’m not connected to God’s will for my life.

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  • http://mywarminghouse.com/ Lisa

    Great info. Very true and full of wisdom – and it is achievable. The area I have targeted to improve this year is relationships. Not long ago, we moved to a new area. I have yet to develop meaningful relationships. Also – eating more whole foods. 

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Great area to choose Lisa. Relationships have a huge impact on our effectiveness and health.

  • Ann

    Thanks Ryan (and Michael) for some really good advice, and easily memorable. Shared on Facebook for all my friends.

    • ryanjferrier

      Thanks for spreading the word Ann!

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  • Yvette

    This is great information.  Thank you!

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Great post!  We just had a guest speker at our church on Sunday.  He may have read your post before preaching, it was eerily similar!  Great stuff!

  • http://twitter.com/Joel_Sadler Joel Sadler

    Great post as usual from Ryan.  Love it.

    • ryanjferrier

      Thanks Joel! Good to see you over here.

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    Finding the time and will to invest in my body is still a challenge.  I’ve dedicated myself to the others – but this one has escaped my priority list, so far.

    I enjoyed what your 4 points about investing in wisdom.  Pattern yourself after those you admire (learning from them) and then applying what you learn.  Great points.

  • dave warner

    I have been asking myself “am I all in?”

  • http://ignitechange.net/ Craig Morton

    HI Michael.  Arthur Ashe had a great quote that has always helped me to get started.
    “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”- Arthur Ashe  

    This has always helped with projects (and even just living) as I looked at how to divide my time when I often felt I was too behind the game.  Thanks for the post.  

  • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

    Thanks for an inspiring post.  Getting physical has been the hardest for me to engage – but really, continuous improvement in all areas is what I seek.  Wisdom is the key – and that wisdom will lead to all other areas of improvement – what I need to do and when.  

  • Cindyshuff

    Balance is the hardest part of this equation.  I need to exercise all four areas in my life. but as often is the case I overdo one to the exclusion of the others. I find it hard to balance all of these on a daily basis.  I tell myself it’s okay to spend an entire day on relationships or an entire day on wisdom as long as a week does not go by without investing in the other pursuits. I try to walk everyday. I pray  and seek His face every day.  The length of time for each pursuit may vary from day to day.
    But when I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach that triggers the failure emotion I know I am out of balance.  Those are the times I struggle to get all areas of my life back on track. It is often difficult to battle negative emotions. Failure has it’s upside. It has taught me life lessons I would not have learned through only experiencing success. Great post.
    Cindy Huff

  • http://Thefieldgeneral.com/ Chris Coussens

    As always, Michael, your posts make me think.

    I am very good at putting my emotional, mental, and spiritual self into my pursuits. Physical is much harder. I do well for a while and then get frustrated at the time it seems to suck up. Being physically healthy requires a whole set of things to get right… time to exercise, time to sleep (who needs sleep), time to prepare the right foods to eat. Maintaining (or trying to restore) that discipline is probably the biggest struggle I have on a day to day basis.

  • http://www.ModMediaLLC.com/ Mark

    Wow.  I’ve never seen this scripture fleshed out so substantially.  This is something that not only Christians, but all people seeking fulfillment and subscribe too.  Thanks so much, and be well. 

    • ryanjferrier

      Thanks Mark!

  • Donschin

    Great post. Pratical areas we can work on. And #4 has been a particular passion and focus of mine as well. We need to consciously develop relationships these days with so much technology speeding up our lives and providing barriers to people and relationships.

  • Mikel Sanders

    The passage used is one of my all time favorites when it comes to growth. Jesus is always the best example that we can use.

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