Am I hearing the sound of applause?

Do I hear the sound of victory?

Do I ever hear the sound of praise for a good days work?

Does my heart ever shout out loud simply because I took action toward my purpose in life?

Does my heart ever give me a standing ovation because I did something courageous.

These are the questions I've started to ask myself.

Why is this important?

We all want to be praised, noticed or acknowledge. Whether it's for the work we do or the sacrifice we made or the clothes we wear. All we have to do is look at Facebook. We see all the selfies that are calling out for as many "likes" as they can get. I'm guilty of it also. Not to the extreme as some but I do like the "likes" that I get when I post a picture. Even when I write a blog or article such as this one, there is a part of me that wants a certain level of acknowledgement for the work I do. Women, for the most part, want to be noticed when they get a new hairstyle or new outfit. Men want others to notice their cool ride or their muscles. It's a fact of life that people want to be acknowledged on their birthday. Some people have birthday weeks.

The desire to be notice can get out of hand and can lead to an empty and shallow life.

We do this on the job. The boss rewards us for being compliant or for methodically performing our task. Being more productive and streamline catches the eyes of the managers. But everyday you wake up hating your job and your bosses and sometimes you hate yourself. You feel life a fall leaf that eventually disconnects from a tree and slowly falls to the ground only to be whisked away on a blustery day forever disconnected from your desires or hopes for a better life.

The late Myles Munroe once said: "The greatest tragedy in life is not death, it's a life without purpose." This statement screams a great truth and you might be living in the middle of this truth. If you are living a life without purpose but want too, don't lose hope. Death is a non-negotiable but a life without purpose is not. If you choose, you can live with purpose. And that is the first step, it is to resolve in your heart and mind to live with purpose on purpose. But to strengthen your resolve you will need to look beyond yourself and your goals. We need to look beyond ourselves because the call on your life will always be beneficial to more than you. It will affect people in the short and long run in this life. In addition, we will need to look beyond our goals because they are only designed to be stepping stones to help you reach the call on your life.

After years of working in construction and living in absolute defeat after the death of my first son, Joseph, I had been laid off due to a slump in the construction business. This led me to take a job as a salesman. Thus, this was the beginning of my life long trek into the world of "personal development". This was the beginning of finding the true Andy. This was the starting point of finding out who God created me to be and the start of setting goals that I never accomplished. Now, after two decades, I see the importance of looking beyond the goals in life. Goals are only stepping stones to a big picture that has your name on it. I believe we all have a call on our life or a specific purpose in which we are to accomplish in this life. It has been my experience that attaining that purpose will take a number achieved and failed goals in life.

If I am correct in my thinking, well thought out goals assist us in finding the call for our life, our major purpose or the the big picture. Looking beyond the goals helps us in three area's.

1) It serves as a pulling force to keep us moving toward the call. Just as my childhood dream served as an anchor for me to keep moving on when all hope was lost and total defeat seemed certain in my life, holding on to the call on my life kept me moving forward. It kept me grounded and it gave me a reason to keep striving toward the call beyond pain and uncertainty.

2) It's directional. Napoleon Hill says we must have a definite chief aim in life to be able to accomplish it. Looking beyond the goal to the call on your life is the "X" on the spiritual treasure map. When all goes array in your life, and it will, looking past your goals will remind you where you are going. Life will get foggy at times but your definite chief aim is the lighthouse that will help you stay on course.

3) It helps us to focus on our purpose in this life. The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word "focus" as: "a condition in which something can be clearly apprehended or perceived". When we focus and clearly know and see in our minds eye the call on our life or have a definite chief aim, we by default start to believe we can accomplish it. When we line up all of our gifts, talents and abilities with the call on our life, mix it with determination, endurance and perseverance, we begin to extend our faith to the belief that somehow some way we will accomplish the call. Focus helps us apprehend and perceive the accomplishment in our mind and heart before it happens in the natural.

Looking beyond the goal helps me to passionately pursue the call on my life. Though my days are not always as productive and powerful as I'd like them to be, looking beyond myself and my goals keep me moving forward toward the call on my life. It keeps whispering to me to take action when I don't feel like it. It helps me to educate myself in the area of my call. It serves as an irresistible pulling force to persevere through adversity.

We all need a purpose or call in life or we die emotionally and spiritually. And we all need applause. Looking beyond myself and goals helps me to take action and taking action, however small, lets me hear my heart applaud. And most times it will be the only acknowledgement I get when I need it most. And I know when my heart applauds, God is pleased.

Do you know your call in this life?

If not, what will you do to find it and pursue it?