Blueprint for Life Review

Have you been looking for a resource on goal setting and self improvement?  The meaning of life has been an age-old question.  I encourage you to read the book, Blueprint For Life by Michael Kendrick and Ben Ortlip.  The intent of this book is to “Discover The Life You Were Born To Live.”  This is book is similar to Rick Warren's, The Purpose Driven Life.  We all have a life purpose, including a higher purpose.

Blueprint For Life is an easy-read that is only 170 pages long.  We completed a chapter a day, this means it took 12 days to complete it.  Although you can easily read the book in a day.  It is broken up into five different sections (Spiritual, Relationships, Physical, Financial, and Career) and each section ends with a prompt to set your goals that pertain to the topic.  Together these mini-blueprints become your “Life Blueprint.”

You are probably wondering how this book relates to personal finance.  Simply put, personal finance is an indicator of your lifestyle.  This book is a basic cornerstone of how I try to live my life & what I try to convey on Money Buffalo.

There a lots of books published on the topics of motivation and self improvement, but how many of them are focused on something other than solely You?  This is where the aspect of a higher purpose comes in.  What is God's purpose for your life?  How can you use your talents & passions to allow you to live a satisfying life that honors His unique purpose for you.

I need to preface that this book is not a “Prosperity Gospel.”  Just because you read & follow the principles in this book, doesn't mean you will be a successful business owner or become a millionaire.

Life Impact Triangle

Before the authors proceed into the 5 mini-blueprints, we discuss the Life Impact Triangle.  This makes mapping your blueprint easier.

Goal Setting and Self Improvement
Click To Enlarge Image

If you have never seen this diagram before (think 3-legged stool), I will explain it quickly.

  1. The goal is to have the smallest triangle possible.
    1. Smaller Triangle=Your Gifts & Passions are inline with your Purpose
    2. Larger Triangle≠Your Gifts & Passions are inline with your Purpose
      1. This means you are not using either your gifts or passions to live your life purpose

Before you can figure out what God's Purpose for you is, you first need to look at your gifts and skills.  There are exercises to help you list your gifts & passions.  Once you find these, we can look at possibilities for how you can apply these two facets towards the higher purpose and be successful.

Speaking of success, one of the quotes I enjoy most from the book is, “Success is not what you've done compared to what others have done.  Success is what you have done compared to what you were supposed to do. -Tony Evans.”  

It is very easy to think success is being the richest or most educated person in your family or community.  I often catch myself with this same thought process.  Success should be measured to if you are living to the full potential of your talents.  Instead pursuing a career or lifestyle that utilizes your gifts and passions is more rewarding over all.  This book is one reason, I chose to leave my “good” corporate job for the life we are pursuing now instead.

The 5 “Mini-blueprints”

True Success Requires Balance.  After discussing the Life Impact Triangle, the authors proceed to the 5 mini-blueprints that we will discuss now.

Spiritual

People often say that religion and politics go hand in hand.  An unspoken rule is to never talk about these two topics at the dinner table.  The common theme is that your religious convictions directly mirror your politics.

Your spiritual & political convictions are the invisible guide to your career and personal goals.

As these are Christian authors, the underlying theme for this section is you need to have a relationship with God.  Without this relationship, your life impact will be larger instead of smaller.  Possessing this relationship will also help you feel “successful” in living your life blueprint.

What are you going to sacrifice to climb up the ladder?

Relationships

The second mini-blueprint is relationships.  If you have been in corporate for any amount of time, you realize that to climb the corporate ladder and receive those lucrative promotions, the company comes before family.  You need to invest lots of hours on the nights and weekend instead of taking your wife to dinner or seeing your child's soccer game.

A question that was posed to me when I was a management trainee, fresh out of college, was if making lots of money & being a “company man” was worth sacrificing family & marriage.  At that time, I had no desire to get married but this perspective changed over time.  Yes, families adapt but we didn't value climbing the ladder for living our Blueprint.

Don't get me wrong.  We need government leaders & CEOs that put in these long hours, if it is their passion.  It's sad that relational sacrifices are basically a requirement for these positions. 🙁

Physical/Emotional

Have you heard the expression, “Your body is a temple?” Feeling well, physically and emotionally, is important to being successful in every aspect of life.  Poor health restricts what you can do whether it be working, travelling, even going down the street to visit friends.  It limits potential to achieving your goals.

Not only from a potential Life Impact perspective, good health means you have cheaper insurance premiums & out-of-pocket costs.

Financial

Finally onto the personal finance side of things.  Money management can open or close doors of opportunity quickly in the other four categories.  Having money means you can go to business school, buy a house in a safe neighborhood, or bless others that need help. One of my financial goals is a planned amount of giving to charities and organizations every month.  It is a part of our monthly budget.

The authors explain that money has 4 primary purposes:

  1. Giving
    1. Charity separate from tithing
  2. Provisions
    1. Basic Needs
  3. Abundance
    1. Disposable Income for saving, investing, & pleasure
  4. Offerings
    1. Money you give to your local church or ministry

Career

You probably spend more time at your job than with your family.  Depending on your life situation, are you able to pursue a different career path that lets you fulfill your skills and passions?  It might take 10 years to make the transition.  If you cannot alter your path, can you change your mindset in your current profession?

There isn't a cookie cutter answer for career advice.  Basically try to make plans to pursue a career that you enjoy that still provides for your family.  Who knows, maybe your current career position (albeit undesirable) allows you to use your talents or passion to improve your co-workers or customers.

“View From The Porch Swing”

The authors conclude with the exercise of imagining life when you reach retirement age.  How do you want people to view and remember you?  People say that “Hindsight is 20/20” and this exercise lets you envision if your plans are fruitful before you start acting on them!

Pros & Cons of Blueprint For Life

So far this has been a very detailed book review.  But indirectly, I have tried to model my own life in this format. Most specifically, the last two years when I started realizing there is more to life than work.

Pros

  • Blueprint is short (170 pages)
  • Easy-To-Read Content
  • Goal Setting and Self Improvement Resource From A Christian Perspective
  • Authors have included block quotes that highlight key information or thinking points on most pages
  • Book is straightforward & doesn't promise the world (Our lives do not revolve around the world)
  • “Life Impact Triangle” analogy summarizes our life purpose
  • Planning exercises in every aspect of life

Cons

  • Authors could have gone in more detail about the 5 “mini-blueprints”
    • An additional Study Kit is available for further exploration
  • Finish the book wondering if you missed a section
    • Downside of the book being short & possibly too succinct
    • Wish there could have been a little more concluding detail when drafting own “Blueprint”

Conclusion Goal Setting and Self Improvement

If you want to purchase a copy of Blueprint For Life, you can purchase an inexpensive copy (about $7) on Amazon.  Or if you are interested in more resources from the authors, you can visit their website Blueprintforlife.com

I found the book appealing primarily because of it's Christian focus on life and it was quick read.  We read a chapter a day.  I usually will not complete books that are overwhelmingly long, so this is one of the first books I actually completed in a short time period.

I think the book is a good option if you are looking for self-improvement from a perspective that is different from almost every other published (where you & only you hold the keys to success).  It is your choice for how you want to live your life, but we are all called to serve a higher power and purpose.

Thanks For Reading This Review.  If you have benefited from this book or another resource please leave a comment below.  Please feel free to ask questions as well!

Josh 

 

 

 

 


Josh founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.