Often when people think about the word “greatness,” they think about the great things that they can accomplish for themselves, but what if you could tap into something much bigger than yourself? What if you could live your life’s purpose and serve others?
Welcome back to School of Greatness! I’m so excited to bring you this episode because we’re going to talk about living your life mission and helping others in the process.
We all have a purpose in life. Sometimes it’s difficult for people to find and live that purpose because of fear: fear of failure, fear of judgment, and fear of what other people may think. People allow their fears to keep them in mediocrity when they’re capable of doing amazing things.
On today’s episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Michael Beckwith, a New Thought minister who knows all about pursuing purpose and growing in your life’s mission! His advice for overcoming judgment and ego, growing in your purpose, and serving others can help you become a better person and accomplish great things in the process!
Michael Beckwith is an acclaimed author, minister, and the founder and spiritual director of the Agape International Spiritual Center. The Agape International Spiritual Center is a transdenominational congregation whose mission is to transform individuals through teaching them prayer, meditation, and showing them the importance of serving others.
Michael has written several notable books to help people find their purpose, including Spiritual Liberation: Fulfilling Your Soul’s Potential, The Answer is You, and Life Visioning: A Transformative Process for Activating Your Unique Gifts and Highest Potential. Life Visioning was even featured on Oprah Winfrey’s list “15 Books to Help Solve 15 Life Problems.”
Michael also facilitated the Synthesis Dialogues with the Dalai Lama and was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College.
Even though Michael has practically countless spiritual accomplishments, he didn’t always have the spiritual clarity that he has now. He grew up in a Methodist household but left the church when he was a teenager.
“I was pretty much agnostic [and] atheistic, and I remember when I was attending Morehouse college, me and a friend of mine … used to go out and convert Christians to atheism.” – Michael Beckwith
Michael went through a time in which he gave no regard to his spirit, but that all changed when he went through a spiritual awakening:
“A few years later when I was attending USC, [I had] a spiritual awakening in which I could see the presence everywhere in everything. And again, I didn’t relegate it to religiosity … It was about freedom. It’s about spirituality. It’s about awakened consciousness, about the greatness and the beauty and the light that’s within us all.” – Michael Beckwith
Michael then became a spiritual therapist and opened the Agape International Spiritual Center in 1986. His experience with spirituality has made him an expert on advising people on finding and fulfilling their purposes, so let’s dive into it!
Have you ever not done something because you’re afraid of what others might think? Michael stressed the importance of valuing your soul’s purpose over other’s opinions:
“People have a tendency to care more about what other people are thinking about them than what their soul wants. … ‘What’s society going to think of me?’ And inside, everyone has a destiny, [a] bright, beautiful destiny. The soul is calling us to greatness.” – Michael Beckwith
People often let their dreams be torn down by caring too much about others’ perceptions. Maybe you’re a mom and you want to start your own business, but you’re afraid that other people will think you’re not spending enough time with your child. Or maybe, you’ve always wanted to be an artist, but people are constantly telling you that there’s no money in that profession. Michael pointed out how people will always try to tear you down when you follow your dreams regardless of your level of success:
“… mediocrity always attacks excellence. … The moment you start to walk towards your dream, and you start to break habits, [and] you start to change relationships that no longer serve in that dream. You start to be talked about.” – Michael Beckwith
You may be struggling to follow your dreams because you’re afraid of being ridiculed, but whether or not you succeed, there will always be people who will attack you and belittle your accomplishments. Once you accept that you’ll receive negativity when you follow your purpose, you’ll no longer be afraid of receiving criticism. There’s no fear of judgment because you’re going to be criticized regardless if you’re successful or not.
The importance of following your goals isn’t just about success — it’s about the growth that you experience when you choose to follow your dreams:
“At the end of the day, you are different because you went for it. You going for it actually brings out latent powers and gifts and talents within you that can’t bloom unless you go for it. … when you’re going for a goal, it’s not just achieving the goal. It’s actually, who are you becoming on the way to bring that goal into manifestation and then your new becoming.” – Michael Beckwith
Have you ever hesitated to pursue your dreams because you were afraid of failure? Regardless of whether or not you accomplish what you wanted, you will still grow as a person, and that is a huge success in and of itself!
Michael and I also discussed the function of the ego and how it can become harmful. The ego’s primary function is survival. It protects you by distinguishing the self from other things so that you protect yourself. For example, your ego would distinguish you from a wild animal. You recognize the difference between yourself and the animal so that you avoid or kill the animal to protect yourself.
People then started to do this with other humans. People separate themselves from others because of the ingrained survival instinct, and this is when the ego becomes harmful. People have created barriers from others to protect themselves, which hinders unity. Michael recommends that people engage in spiritual practices to get past their egos:
“And that’s where meditation … prayer … study … [and] fellowship [come in.] We’re able to transcend the ego so I can see [that] you and I are the same. We may come from different parts of the world, different skin colors, but at the bottom, we’re both human.” – Michael Beckwith
You need to overcome the ego to recognize the unity of all people. You shouldn’t be interested in the wellbeing of just yourself but in all of humanity:
“It becomes not about me. It becomes about we. It becomes about us. Not just my family, but where does my family end? Does it end with just people who are black? Does it end with people just in the United States? … After a while, you realize humanity’s your family.” – Michael Beckwith
In order for humanity to become your family, you have to step outside of yourself and your own interests to realize that you’re one with all people regardless of race, nationality, or religion. You should pursue the wellbeing of humanity and avoid hurting members of your human family.
Have you ever been unsure about what your purpose is? Michael believes that we all have the same purpose but different missions in executing that purpose:
“I believe that everyone has the same purpose. We have different missions. … We can say we’re all here to reflect the face of divinity, or we’re here to reflect the cosmos in a way that only we can. … Every mission carries that larger purpose. How was my life reflecting the entire cosmos? Because I believe all of us have the entirety of the cosmos in us. And we’re here to discover it, activate it, cultivate it, and set it free. So we are here to reflect the face of God.” – Michael Beckwith
How does your mission reflect the divinity that Michael says is inside of you? Maybe you’re an artist, and you reflect the cosmos by inspiring people with your art, or maybe you’re a nurse, and you reflect the cosmos by healing people. According to Michael, you’re bringing out your internal cosmos by living your life’s mission.
How can you find your mission and grow in your purpose? Michael says that there are two ways: crisis and insight.
“Sometimes, when your back is against the wall, and you’re in a crisis, then you begin to ask different kinds of questions. … Then you start to open up that there’s something bigger that has your name on it that’s calling you. And sometimes people grow through [having] an insight. They get inspired. Something happens, and they’re able to see, ‘Wow, my life is more than what I thought it was.'” – Michael Beckwith
According to Michael, if you don’t grow in your purpose you’re actually regressing — you’re getting further and further from who you’re meant to be:
“Every heavenly body has a rotation. Now, every time there’s a complete rotation, the frequency of those heavenly bodies are a little higher. The Earth is beating higher today than it was ten years ago. So everything is progressing. So if you’re the same person that you were 365 days ago, you’re not really the same person. You’ve actually gone backwards because everything has gone forward. So since everything is progressive, it’s creating a level of tension to create a level of uncomfortability and pain for you to grow.” – Michael Beckwith
Are you the same person that you were a year ago, or have you evolved into someone better? Michael says that if you stay the same long enough, you’ll begin to feel pain that will prompt you to take action in your life and grow in your purpose. While that pain might be uncomfortable at first, it’s saving you from a life of mediocrity.
Michael says that his purpose is to help people unlock the divinity within themselves. According to him, you can start unlocking yourself and reflecting the cosmos by breaking the habits and practices of mediocrity.
“Mediocrity means I’m just living a life in which I’m protecting myself. … protectiveness, fear, worry, drives my life.” – Michael Beckwith
Michael suggests that we ask the universe how we can better serve people rather than ourselves. Once you ask how to better serve humanity rather than yourself, you open yourself up to greater things:
“Now you’ve opened yourself up [so] that the presence through the universe, which is always giving, … now finds you worthy. … worthy to express more through you. Doors open that you didn’t even know were there. You meet people that you never even heard about. Things begin to open up for you. … You’re able to bring more prosperity into your life. More joy [and] more happiness because you’re in alignment. ‘How can I serve? How can I be more giving? How can I unleash the power that’s within me?’” – Michael Beckwith
Michael says that the universe wants us to be happy, healthy, and prosperous so that it can express more through you. Once you open yourself up and ask the universe the right questions, you stabilize different structures in your life:
“You have a structure of prosperity, structure of good health, structure of ego management. … These are all structures that we stabilize, which means they’re no longer liabilities, their assets. … You’re able to have a level of prosperity. Now you’re not here just to stabilize those structures. Those structures are strong enough so that you can now give your gift.” – Michael Beckwith
Michael says that if you want to free yourself from mediocrity, you need to focus on benefiting other people rather than focusing on yourself. What gift do you have that you can use to serve other people? You can focus on better serving humanity to grow and do something great.
When we only focus on ourselves, we lose sight of serving other people and are bound to mediocrity. You can strive forward to greatness if you think of your actions as serving humanity rather than just yourself.
What can you do today to fulfill your purpose and serve other people? Maybe you need to meditate, pray, or journal to find your mission in life and fulfill your purpose. Once you start living your purpose, doors will open up, and you’ll be closer to achieving greatness.
Michael’s definition of greatness is inspiring and will prompt you to always seek growth, even when it’s difficult:
“The definition of greatness is constantly being superior to your former self. So you’re never in competition with someone else. You’re only competing with your former self.” – Michael Beckwith
If you felt inspired by Michael’s message, share this episode on Instagram! Also, make sure to tag me (@lewishowes) and Michael (@michaelbbeckwith) and share your biggest takeaways and favorite moments from the episode!
Friends, overcome your ego, and fulfill your purpose by serving others. Leave mediocrity behind by growing in your life’s mission!