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When Your Environment Affects Your Purpose

What if there were aspects of your life that was hindering your purpose? This post reveals how the people around you can affect your purpose. 

In a previous episode, I did a deep dive into friendships and how they can affect our behaviors, habits, and the results we see in our lives. The episode is titled The KEYS to Building the Squad You NEED. I also discussed how our friends influence our habits and I described the type of people I think everyone should have in their circle of friends. 

In this episode, I want to take a step back and broaden the scope by discussing environments as a whole and how your environment may be What if there were aspects of your life that was hindering your purpose? This post reveals how the people around you can affect your purpose.

What is an Environment

I have a couple of definitions for environment from Merriam-Webster’s dictionary.

  1. An environment is the circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded
  2. It’s the aggregate of social and cultural conditions that influence the life of an individual or community

 

In a nutshell, our environment includes people, things, and conditions.

Hindering Your Purpose: Why Environments Matter

Environments are important because they influence how we look, how we feel, and how we act. Let’s take how we act for instance. I brought this up on the building your squad episode but it’s worth mentioning here as well.

In Atomic Habits by James Clear, he discusses how early on in our lives, we don’t really choose our habits, we imitate them. We follow the script handed down by our friends, our family, and society at large. We tend to imitate the actions and habits of 3 groups: 1) people who are close to us, 2) those who are present in large groups; and 3) those who we perceive as powerful. To paint a picture of how people can hinder your purpose, I’m going to break each group down separately, starting with the people close to us.

Those who are close to us

The closer we are to someone, the more likely we are to imitate their habits. Think about your parents. I’m sure you probably questioned some of their sayings and colloquialisms growing up, but now you find yourself saying them to your own children or other people around you.

Take me for example, I was primarily raised by my grandmother and my dad. My grandmother would line everything in her pantry with the labels facing forward. All of the items in the fridge would be placed with the labels facing forward too and guess what? 

Over 30 years later, here I am with this habit of facing items in my pantry and fridge with the labels all facing forward. Go figure. 

One of the most effective things you can do to build better habits is to have people in your environment whose normal behaviors are your desired behaviors. For example, if it is your desire to start a side hustle and still work your main hustle, then you need to hang around people who do this successfully. If there are people around you who don’t believe in purpose, then it can hinder your pursuit of your purpose.

People who are present in large groups

According to Clear, Whenever we are unsure how to act, we look to the group to guide our behavior. In fact, we are constantly scanning our environment and wondering, “what is everyone else doing?” We’ve seen this play out in videos where one person in a large group begins to run and everyone else follows, even though they have no idea why the other people are running. They see others running, so they just go with the crowd.

Following others is usually a smart strategy but there can be an issue. The issue presents itself when the larger group’s behavior is different from the desired behavior of the individual. You. This is an issue because we as humans want to be accepted. The vast majority of people don’t like going against the grain. We want to get along with others, so going against other people simply takes more effort. This is a prime example of how the behavior of large groups can lead to hindering your purpose.

Who we perceive as powerful

This may not be something we like to admit that we do, but at the end of the day, we do it. And Clear even says it’s smart that we do because historically, a person with greater power and status has access to more resources, worries less about survival, and makes a more attractive mate.

We are all products of our environment.

A Good Environment for Purpose

A great environment for your seed of purpose to grow is one that fuels your faith and enhances your knowledge. Here’s why: your journey in purpose is full of opportunities to trust God and be obedient. 

Faith. In Hebrews 11:1, the Bible describes faith as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. The Good News Translation says, “to have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.” 

Pastor Mike Todd uses a definition I like as well in his book Crazy Faith. He says faith is trust in something you cannot explicitly prove. In other words, if you can see how it can happen, then you don’t really need faith for it. 

Now let’s talk about some characteristics of an environment that fuels faith.

  1. It is one where you feel safe mentally, physically, and emotionally
  2. This environment allows the presence of God to enter
  3. It helps you to hope Remember Hebrews defined faith as the substance of things hoped for. To hope is to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment. Does your environment allow you to hope? If not, change it. I don’t care if you’re listening to this from a jail cell. Put things up in your cell that will help inspire hope in you.

Fuel Your Faith

I want to share this quote with you from the book Crazy Faith by Michael Todd about hope. It says, “one of the enemy’s most effective tactics is to discourage you so much about your current circumstances that you don’t hope anymore. Because if you lose hope, you will never have faith for anything.” Not even your purpose.

Knowledge. There is a scripture in Hosea that says my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge [Hosea 4:6]. 

The more you know about God, how He speaks to you, the power and authority you have on this earth through Him, and how the gifts of His Spirit manifest through you, the better you are equipped for your purpose, and the less chances you have of your environment hindering your purpose.

Incubator For Purpose

To further decrease the chances of your environment hindering your purpose, consider creating an incubator for your purpose. Below are characteristics of an environment that acts as an incubator for your purpose by fueling your faith and increasing your knowledge:

Challenge

It challenges you and puts pressure on you to improve. We don’t know what we are able to accomplish in life until we actually try. I was talking to someone close to me and they verbalized their hesitance to place their child in gifted courses, which cater to the students’ high degree of intellectual, creative abilities, and exceptionally high degree of motivation. The course work is substantially more advanced. The parent didn’t want to push the child too much. The problem with that particular thought process is there is just as much of a chance that the child will rise to the challenge and excel. When we remain in our comfort zones, we cannot grow. We need to be in a little over our heads every now and then.

Trust God

An environment that acts as an incubator for your purpose gives you an opportunity to rely on God and not yourself. 

Affirms

Your purpose incubator is also an affirming environment that provides encouragement. 

Space to Grow

Your purpose incubator gives you space to focus and develop as you acquire more and more knowledge about God and who you are in Christ. What comes to mind for me is my church. My senior pastor has thousands of members in his congregation but last week, I had a couple of questions about something he preached on and he spent an hour answering my questions. He gave me space to develop.

People Who Are Further

Finally, a purpose incubator is a place where there are people who are ahead of you, people who already know their purpose and are walking in it every day. Earlier in this episode, I mentioned that we tend to imitate the actions and habits of people we are close to. We do this subconsciously so we don’t even know we’re doing it. If someone around you is faithfully walking in their purpose, they can not only disciple you, but you may pick up some of their obedience along the way. 

A purpose incubator is effectively the opposite of an environment capable of hindering your purpose.

Tips to Improve Your Environment

If you want to improve your environment and decrease the chances of it hindering your purpose, I have a couple tips for you.

  • Shift what you hear. Control the things you hear. Remember, an environment fit for purpose is one that fuels your faith and increases your knowledge. Faith comes by hearing, which means you have to put yourself in an environment where you’re hearing things that will cultivate your purpose—things that help you trust in God and feel more confident in who you are in Christ. The more you hear something, the more you believe and resonate with it. It gets embedded in your heart.
  • Create an environment that facilitates your ability to make good choices. We often think that we are able to make great decisions because we have good self-control or a strong will power. The truth is, successful, purpose-driven people are more disciplined and structure their lives so as to NOT require them to have strong self-control all the time. What I’m trying to say is that as much as it depends on them, purpose-driven people don’t allow themselves to be placed in tempting situations or bad environments.

If you are reading this, then I know the last thing you want is for the people around you to lead to hindering your purpose. I know this was a lot of information but I want to encourage you to read it multiple times and implement as best you can. Because, hindering your purpose inadvertently is no longer an option for you.

If you are curious at all about finding your purpose, then I want to invite you to take my FREE quiz titled How to Find Your Unique Path to Your Purpose. You can find it at www.pavielle.com/purpose-quiz.

Want More?

If you enjoyed this episode, then you may also enjoy the episode of the show about overcoming distractions that hinder purpose or this episode detailing how to set boundaries.

Resources Mentioned

 

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