After talking about finding ways to win at life in his New York Times bestseller, Instinct, the Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive, Bishop T.D. Jakes’ latest tome takes it a step further with Destiny: Step into Your Purpose. In it, the senior pastor of The Potter’s House of Dallas seeks to help CEOs, business owners, and entrepreneurs create a strategic roadmap to understanding how “destiny” leads to “purpose.”
EBONY.com spoke with Jakes about the tools needed to get beyond just imagining where you want to be in life this year and focusing on how to actualize your dreams by walking into your purpose.
EBONY.com: Why did you choose to write about the theme of destiny after just completing a book about instinct:
T.D. JAKES: I wanted people to know that destiny is all about understanding your destination. Just as we have a GPS system on the car or phone—we have one in life. Wherever you are going there is a start and a finish—you cannot have a route without a destination. Destiny builds a focus and allows you to evaluate. Destiny is about understanding your destination. The plan governs you, your friends, the strategic moves you make and more. A plan helps you to live on purpose. So this book is really a sequel of sorts, a continuation of instinct—if destiny is the magnet, then instinct is the metal.
EBONY.com: What steps did you take to achieve your destiny?
JAKES: There are a series of steps, but here are just a few that every successful visionary or leader tends to have in common. Take ownership of your circumstances. For example, I grew up poor. We had hard times when we were starting out, but while poverty had me, I didn’t have it on my mind. In fact, I made up my mind that I would not stay poor forever. You have to think positively about where you want to go in life and within the vision for how you get there. Don’t allow what you’re dealing with to define who you are. You are not your past or present circumstances. Resist whatever obstacles you encounter until you are able to break through. Have a dream in your heart that is bigger than life. You have to see your history as a stepping stone to your destiny and not as an impediment. Be intentional about your dreams and understand that no one is successful by mistake. Success is in fact quite intentional. We are not taught to be intentional—to make decisions that will change the outcome of the week. We have to change that pattern. And lastly, think carefully about how you treat people you think you don’t need. You can learn from anyone so treat everyone as if they matter. Whether they are a maid, a taxi driver, whomever, learn to learn from everyone you meet.
EBONY.com: What do you think is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a successful entrepreneur?
JAKES: We must do more than just survive each day. The people who have impacted me the most are people who I served, the people who had humility. When people can learn that the ability to serve others puts you in the room—and allows you to be connected to the right people, the smart people, then they will succeed at whatever they are purposed to do. The fact is you attract what you are—we are highly adaptable as a species. Successful people surround themselves with wise people who can help them navigate life. Not famous people, but accessible people who have a good word for you. Do not allow ‘awe’ to overwhelm the opportunity to learn. We need to be in an environment where we learn. Get in the right circles with the right people so that you can learn. You can learn something even from negative people. They teach you who not to be.
EBONY.com: Bishop, women now make up more than 50 percent of the U.S. labor force. Companies like Deloitte have a woman CEO at their helm and African American women and other women of color are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs and small business owners in the country. And yet, women still lag behind in pay, advancement and retention. What three things would you advise women must do to answer their call and get achieve their destiny?
JAKES: Women face unique stressors that men do not. It’s important that they react and respond to stress with structure. As demand increases in your life, your structure must also increase because a human is a limited resource. Start by getting a structure at work and at home that is built to manage the demands of your life. The look at the infrastructure of your life and see that it accommodates the structure of your life.
This goes for us men too, but women need to be careful of the need to be in control without having a controlling spirit. You must have other people around you who can help you carry out your mission and get to your destiny. Responsibility and accountability are big words in business. You must lead from the top—make people accountable and you have to give up control without being controlling. Being in control is exhausting. In order to grow you have to trust somebody with some level of responsibility. A woman has to have the ability to change roles—if you are in control all the time you will drain yourself. Rest is not laziness. It’s not a departure from the goal. Instead, it better enables you to reach the goal. Another way to get there is to learn the art of juggling where you touch every ball, but not stay with one too long. Don’t take on more to juggle than you have the ability to toss—if your plate is full you have to learn to say no.
Sophia A. Nelson, Esq. is an attorney and award winning journalist. Follow her on Twitter @iamsophianelson