What’s in a Name?


My sister, Jenny told me about a life coach who held a seminar at their church.  His name is Dr. John Stanko and his seminars are about finding your purpose.  He works with individuals to find their specific purpose, not the general purpose of everyone.  Jen said I should check out some of his books and his website, PurposeQuest.com. (Books are listed below)

Life is a Gold Mine. Can you Dig it?
So Many Leaders…So Little Leadership
Strictly Business
Beyond Purpose
Unlocking the Power of Your Purpose

I found several of Dr. Stanko’s books on Amazon.com and ordered Unlocking the Power of Your Purpose.  The chapters are very short so I thought I would post the one I read today as it was particularly interesting to me. 

Chapter 5

What’s in a Name?


My encounter with Dennis is one of my favorite PurposeQuest stories.  Dennis attended a seminar in Virginia a few years ago and was not impressed with my message.  In fact, he politely but firmly opposed it as a “management fad” that was not to be found in the Bible.  I urged him to be patient until I reached the end of the seminar, but he found it hard to do so.  He just wasn’t buying what I said.


After the session, Dennis came to me and reiterated his disagreement with my conclusions.  He felt that my purpose message was too subjective and open to interpretation.  He then issued his plea:  “I challenge you to find any theme of purpose in the diverse activities I have been involved with in my lifetime.”  Intrigued by his challenge, I accepted.


As he went through his list of seemingly unrelated activities, I started to regret that I had agreed to the challenge.  But then I saw something that gave me hope.  “It seems to me,” I said, “that the common theme here is not what you’ve done, but why you’ve done it.  Isn’t it true that you’ve been called on to do all those things because they weren’t quiet what they could be?”  I closed with this statement, “It seems to me that you were born to bring a measure of excellence to whatever the Lord wants you to do”.


Dennis still wasn’t impressed and left, only to return the next day for the rest of my seminar.  But this time he shared an exciting revelation he had the night before.  He told the class that after he left the previous meeting, he had been reminded of the literal meaning of his name “Dennis” in Greek.  Dennis means, “discerner of excellence”, and this man had suddenly come face-to-face with a very dramatic understanding of who he was and what he was born to do.


I wish all PurposeQuests ended so well and neatly, but they don’t.  Some people search and search and become discouraged in the process.  Others settle for half answers, and still others for pat answers that lack personal meaning and application.  Where do you fit in?


I want to suggest a few more guidelines for finding your purpose.  Consider these issues if you are still searching or helping someone who is.


Your purpose may not be found in what you’re doing but rather in why you are doing it.  That was the case with Dennis.  He brought excellence to non-excellent performance by doing many different things.  In trying to find his purpose, he was focusing on the wrong thing.


Your purpose may be defined by who you’re not.  You will often go where you are least comfortable in order to fulfill your purpose.  My purpose is to create order out of chaos.  I love order but always find myself, at least for a while, in chaos.  The very thing I’m not – chaotic- gives expression to the very thing I am – ordered.


Your purpose may be expressed in many different ways.  I create order out of chaos, but I’ve done it as a writer, pastor, consultant, teacher and administrator.  I’ve been involved in many activities, but there has always been one common purpose and theme.


Often your purpose is as close as the name your parents gave you, but you can’t see it.  God can open your eyes, however, to see what you couldn’t previously see.  I trust that this will soon be the experience either for you or someone you’re helping.  Are there any clues in your name or nickname that can help you find your purpose?

My given name means “Brave”.  My family calls me “Grace”.  What does your name mean? 

You can also check out Dr. Stanko’s blog at http://www.johnstanko.us/


3 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Hello there. I am honored that you mentioned one of my books in a blog post. I hope you enjoy the book and that you can incorporate purpose principles into your coaching and mentoring ministry. Keep up the good work and let me know if I can help you in any way. By the way, I started a radio Internet show every Wednesday at 9 AM Eastern U.S. time on http://www.voiceamerica.com. I invite you and your readers to listen in as I interview people of purpose from all over the world. The shows are also archived and ready to download after the show. May the Lord continue to bless you as you influence people for Him. Also, I see Bishop Tudor’s site on your blogroll. He is a good friend; I have been to his church on many occasions.

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