Living Your Life On Purpose with Primary Aims

Posted by Akintayo Adewole

Digging Deeper

I work hard, play hard and co-parent a crew of little people who are far more intellectually and emotionally advanced than I was at their age.  The insane schedules, the challenges, and the plight to find just a few moments for self... why do we do it? Is it for love? a sense of accomplishment? out of obligation?  Perhaps all of the above.  But those reasons by themselves are not enough, at least not for me.  This led me to ask deeper questions about why I do what I do, both personally and professionally.

Primary Aims

In efforts to tighten up my marketing and social media game for my photography business, I came across a Sal Cincotta workshop, where he referenced the book "The E-Myth Revisted: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work Out and What to Do About It", written and Narrated by Michael E. Gerber.  While this book has helped to get my business in order, more importantly, it got my LIFE in order.  I listened to the audio book (3) times and learned more and more with each pass! One of the main takeaways is to define your primary aims.  If Terminator and RoboCop can have them, why can't we? (I know.. they had primary directives, but you get my point!) Our primary aims should answer the following questions, as posed by Mr. Gerber himself:

  • "What do I wish my life to look like?"
  • "How do I wish my life to be on a day to day basis?"
  • "What would I like to be able to say I truly know in my life, about my life?"
  • "How would I like to be with other people in my life?"
  • "How would I like people to think about me?"
  • "What would I like to be doing 2 years from now? 10 yrs? 20 yrs?"
  • "When my life comes to a close, what specifically would I like to have learned?"

Survey Says...

So it took me a few days to articulate to myself my primary aims.  I chose each and every word carefully.  It wasn't easy, but I feel great about what I determined for myself: 

  1. To have a positive and inspiring impact on both those whom I hold dear and the parts of the world that I can reach and touch with the work that I choose to do.
  2. To spend and enjoy quality time with family and close friends both though work and play. 
  3. To maintain good mental, physical and spiritual health so that I can fully realize 1 & 2. 

Now with EVERY choice I make, whether it's for family, home, work or self, I ask, "Does that choice directly support one or more of my primary aims?"  If not, then what's the point?  My dad once said, "Happiness is paying constant attention to your priorities."  I've realized that my priorities are my primary aims.  They are what I've made important and worth my while.  They've given me a deeply rooted purpose.  And by taking the time to write them down, I now have a clearly defined guide for decision making.  Now, by no means is it easy sailing from here, but I do feel empowered to approach every situation more focused and with the end game in mind.

I challenge you to define your primary aims.  And please feel free to share them to further inspire me and others.

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Akintayo Adewole is a commercial conceptual and portraiture photographer.  His stylized approach truly bring outs the power and emotion of the people and subjects he captures.  His design background translates to both the production and creative aspects of his work. When he doesn't have a camera in hand, he is either spending time with his kids, writing up his next blog topic, enjoying buffalo wings, indulging in the occasional cupcake or running a distance race to balance it all out.