What is Your Quest?

Wisdom really does come with age – I believe this to be true more and more as I intentionally spend time with people that are much older and more experienced than myself. There are things which simply can’t be taught or earned outside of age.

I was speaking with an older couple, cousins of my parents and whom my father grew up with when he was younger, about a few things that I’ve been up to since we had last seen each other which was a few years ago. I gave them a run-down of the things that I was involved in and the projects that I have in the pipe.

There was little reaction or noted enthusiasm that emanated from them – just a bit of a puzzled look. The gentleman looked at me and simply asked:

Son, it seems like you’re on a journey, a quest.

My face apparently revealed that I was a bit confused by the statement so he followed up without skipping a beat:

Where are you headed? Where are you going?

I thought I had shared those things so I somewhat repeated myself and shared the same facts and tidbits as I had a few moments ago. I obviously didn’t get it:

No, no, no. What are you trying to accomplish? Really? What is it that you were destined to do that no one else has done or will ever do? What the unique quest that’s been put before you that only you can fulfill?

I had no adequate words or response – I pondered that for quite a while and even late into the evening. I think this question has been haunting me my entire life and I have no more clarity since I first encountered it many, many years ago.

It was refreshing to be asked so plainly the question as well as incredibly disconcerting. My brain and my mouth had no answer for the man. What I felt wasn’t shame or guilt of not knowing but rather a long internal drawn out sigh, as if my soul longed to know the answer as well.

What is my quest? What is yours?

  • http://altmike.wordpress.com altmike

    John, this is an extremely important and hard question to answer. I believe that it comes down to our passion in life. It is how we develop our passion that begins to write the script of our quest. I found my quest by seeing how I could positively impact the world. Thanks!

    • http://cartoondailynews.com Kendall Lyons

      Interestingly enough, this is a personal struggle I too am dealing with. I’m fighting even now with this notion that I’m not doing The Lord”s will if I run off to be a cartoonist or graphic design artist and if I don’t get a degree in Christian ministry now and try to wait later too.

      This is silly, but I’m dealing with it and trying to be prayerful and focused as I consider the options and as I consider my quest!

      • http://Peterdanieljames.com peterdjames

        Tim Keller has an excellent book on how a “non-ministry” job can be a meaningful pursuit in itself (not just because you can be a light for Christ there). Here’s the amazon link: http://bit.ly/csT7eT

        • http://Peterdanieljames.com peterdjames

          Sorry, wrong link. Here’s the right one: http://amzn.to/T79lAS

          • http://cartoondailynews.com Kendall Lyons

            Thank you, the link takes me to some kind of article here though, on both articles. What’s the name of the book???

  • http://gravatar.com/mikezserdin mikezserdin

    I believe quests are revealed over time. I’ve also experienced the longing for a quest–we all do. I think discovering it’s a process but, everything we do, every victory, failure, relationship etc. up til the quest’s revelation is preparation for the process of fulfilling the quest.

    Sometimes a quest is revealed then idles. Other times it’s sprung upon you and you must act.

    Sometimes the gap between revelation and realization is preparation. While you may not feel you can answer that question succinctly today all you’re doing now is super cool prep work that will be put to work in the context of an even BIGGER vision. So, stay at it. Quests are discovered and reveaeled. Stay open. Stay grounded. Quests require courage.

    I often pray for wisdom to understand the quest. That’s easy. Having the courage to do it, lay it all down for the quest…that’s the real prayer: Courage, faith whatever to move forward.

    My quest is to make the world better by giving a little more and invite a few of my most progressive peers to join me. Then, we give big together.

    Timely post John.

    Thx for sharing.

  • http://Peterdanieljames.com peterdjames

    As a Christian my quest is in some ways the same as all Christians. But its also true that God has a specific purpose just for me to live out. I think there are passions he puts in our heart as we look at the state of the world around us and read his word. I think it has less to do with what we feel adequate to accomplish and more to do with which part of the fallen world breaks our heart the most to see. Find out what that is and go do something about it, asking him for strength and guidance the whole way.

  • http://www.horizonexecutivecoaching.com Anita Stadler

    A quest should be something that you are uniquely called to do; not something that someone else could do equally well. It should be a reflection of your combined natural talents, acquired skills, and spiritual gifts.
    In addition, it should be something so big that you could never accomplish it on our own without others.
    In fact, if you are Believer, it needs to be the quest He has given to you, not one that you came up with and then seek His support to accomplish.
    A quest often gets clearer over time, through six stages of development over a lifetime. About mid career (after you have had enough life experience to look back on so you can see meaningful patterns) you are ready to wrestle with this question in a more profound way. If you can consider it earlier in your life, then you can be prepared to address the challenges that will inevitably come, knowing that they are part of the refining process.
    This is not my wisdom. It comes from 30 years of solid research on leadership. I did my doctoral research on how it applies to Believers who work in the marketplace, since most of the research had been done with ministry leaders.
    It’s hard to see the patterns in your life that reveal your quest all by yourself. That’s why I coach leaders through a process to uncover theirs.

  • http://gravatar.com/recyardfitness Lincoln Parks

    To reach many people through Business and Technology and show them a Christ like Business person. Change lives through my business and help to mold someone else s decisions. Ultimately for me, its about doing work that I love passionately and sharing that with others.

  • http://twitter.com/Caleb_Phelps Caleb Phelps (@Caleb_Phelps)

    Wow…It’s great to be reminded of that point. I think it so easy to become burdened with the day to day stuff that to forget the point of it all is to easily lost.

  • http://twitter.com/OXVO Joseph Feliciano (@OXVO)

    I wish people would stop mixing religion with business. Some of you do not realize that it is a major turn off to people who aren’t religious. Others don’t care to hear these mentions. Outside of your bubbles of religious friends and folk their are a ton of people who are not.

    Religion and politics don’t mix. So neither should entrepreneurship and religion.

    • http://gravatar.com/mikezserdin mikezserdin

      Huh? Interesting thought Joseph.

      John asked a question. A few guys answered what and why they have a quest.

      Simple question straightforward answers.

      In actuality religion (aka culture and worldview) and entrepreneurship are integrated at many levels in many, many companies. Just study entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs (studied zen among other things), Tom’s (the shoe company), Patagonia’s philosophy etc.

      Religion, world view, faith–all no big deal.

      Do what you do fired by passion and belief. It’s what keeps people motivated when money and ego have run the course (i.e. Jeff Skoll, Bill & Melinda Gates and many of the Giving Pledge participants–read their pledge letters and take no offense. Many of them did what they did because of faith. No matter what you believe you can learn something from the world’s wealthiest).

      All good.

    • http://peterdanieljames.com peterdjames

      Joseph, I say this in all kindness. “Religion and politics don’t mix” and “entrepreneurship and religion don’t mix” are statements based on faith not fact. They are religious statements in the sense that they are belief statements about the how the world works and the powers that operate it. You are free to believe them just as much as I am free to believe that entrepreneurship and religion do mix.

      I challenge you to try to talk meaningfully about politics and entrepreneurship without basing any of it off of your view of the purpose of humanity, the meaning of life, and the impersonal/personal powers that govern the way the world works. Everyone mixes religion with every aspect of their life. The most dangerous thing in the world is to not acknowledge it.

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth (@MaryDeMuth)

    Beautiful post, great question. I’ve sensed this journey in you (sorry, I sound a bit like a jedi here). But it does boil down to how you’re uniquely made and what only you can bring to this world, what keeps you up at night, what ignites you to work, what difference you want to make.

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      appreciate this mary. i share a bit here and there on this blog but most of it I wrestle by myself. appreciate you!

  • http://plainshunter.com Bill

    That is a haunting question. It has kept me awake at nights. The journey to discover it doesn’t bother me. The fear of not finding it does.

  • http://twitter.com/OXVO Joseph Feliciano (@OXVO)

    “Everyone mixes religion with every aspect of their life. The most dangerous thing in the world is to not acknowledge it.”

    False, most I know are non-religous and well without it. Ridiculous to not acknowledge that their are millions who are not. I understand this is about life but I’m pretty sure we can discuss life without bringing religion into EVERY thing. Bible thumpers basically. Any chance they can mention religion they do. Life is a journey that can be lived wonderfully and great without religion.

    Much respect to others beliefs though. Just speaking.

    Great post by the way.

    Now lets get back on topic. =)

    • http://john.do/ John Saddington

      joseph,

      thanks for engaging here. appreciate your perspective!

      i agree that it can be a bit odd that some people feel the need to throw the bible into everything they do and say – just as odd as it is to see everything through a political viewpoint or really anything else for that matter. it can get annoying as well.

      we’re all on a quest it seems – some will see it as a spiritual one while others will leave that part out.

      so where are you headed? what is your quest?

  • http://www.facebook.com/bobevankc Bobby Shaw

    John, thank you for positng this. I have been wrestling with these questions since August 7th when I stepped away from corporate America to figure this very thing out. What am I passionate about? What problem do I see that I just have to help someone solve? What gets me fired up? What breaks my heart?

    Then I see your post and it just reignites my fire to figure this out. I am at the Halftime Insitute today & tomorrow, put on by Leadeship Network, the organiztion that Bob Buford founded. I am so excited and a little nervous on this journey but I know it is exactly where I should be and I look forward to figuring out what my quest is. I know it lies in Leadership Development at my core. I just need to figure out in what context that will be for me.

    Soldier on.

  • http://www.ElectrasMonograms.com electra8

    Hi John! Awesome discussion!

    Martha Graham, a famous choreographer said this, “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time. This expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it.

    It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.”

    To me, the quest is two fold: 1. Can I remain OPEN at all times? OPEN to the unknown, to NOT knowing, open to the coincidences, people, and opportunities that present themselves? Do I listen to my intuition & take inspired action? Can I be that turned on faucet where God can flow through me?
    2. Can I engage in this divine dissatisfaction; can I be totally grateful for where I am NOW, and excited/eager to see what will unfold next?

    If only we could be like 007 and simply “get” our assignments & our Mission! But OUR, mission, should we choose to accept it :) (haha) is to continually tweak, refine, and adjust our course, I think. Pilots/ airplanes are off course 90% of the time. It is in the constant & consistent tweaking & adjusting that they reach their final destinations. I like to think of the discovery of my purpose & ultimate quest in life as such.

    Speaking of my quest, John…have you given any more thought to that “vision casting” we talked about? :) I was thinking about our conversation the other day, and here you followed me on twitter today! (off topic for this blog, but I would love to hear!)

    Great conversation!
    Electra
    @PreppyDecals

  • Justin Ham

    I’m 23. Graduated college at 22. This question consumes my mind, and it’s a bit fascinating that someone at this level of accomplishment ponders this question when you could probably give more than enough advice to provide guidance in so many ways to many people. Great post and great encouragement. TY

  • http://odai.me Odai

    “What is it that you were destined to do that no one else has done or will ever do?”

    There are estimated to be 7.061 billion people alive today, and 106 billion people who have ever lived [1]. With that in mind, I think it’s unlikely I’ll be the first to do anything of note.

    That doesn’t make the experiences any less enjoyable, though. Buzz Aldrin may have been the second, but he did still walk on the moon!

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population

    • http://john.do/ John

      then you’re thinking too small and also too big at the same time.

      just one example of a thousand i could give you…

      i will be the only biological father to my two daughters EVER in the history of mankind. changes everything.

      • http://odai.me Odai

        I’ve been sitting here and thinking about it for a few minutes.

        If I’m honest with myself, I have every reason to believe that I’ll do some great things in life, but I tend to downplay this idea, out of fear.

        I’m afraid of failure, and afraid of being criticized for (inevitable) mistakes. It’s definitely something I need to work on, but I think being aware of it is a major step in the right direction.

        Excellent post, by the way, and thanks for replying!

    • http://www.inkletween.com/index.html liz

      Odai I disagree as far as me, the way I draw is pretty unique and if I put my characters into a story of my own invention, it may follow the hero’s journey or some identifiable path, but won’t be the same as anything before. And of course i hope my story does become “of note”, a kick-ass animated film that becomes as classic as the Grinch!
      It’s the same with music and books and anything creative. I hope you find your unique thing and excel and share and stuff. I think your little photo is unique, and you look cute.

      • http://odai.me Odai

        Thanks Liz! My friend took that photo at Fritz’s Restaurant at Union Station (Kansas City) http://www.fritzskc.com/Our-History.aspx

        I’ve changed my mind since my original comment, and I do think that we all have the potential to do unique things.

        Regardless, I’m not too concerned with how unique I might be. Facebook wasn’t the first social network, or even the second. But they were the best, and so they won.

        I’m focusing on being the best (writer/animator/WordPress dveloper) I can be.