You Were Set Aside For Greatness!

“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”
Steve Maraboli

You were set aside for greatness.  Very few people believe that to be true.  Sometimes life experiences, bad worldviews and a misunderstanding about reality paint a different picture of our lives, and our future.  What we think about ourselves matters most, especially concerning what we will accomplish in life and the workplace.

A Crisis in our Workplace

There is something very wrong with our workplace culture today.  People look at work not as opportunity or mission but rather as a necessary evil to stay alive.  Work ethic seems to be at an all-time low as people struggle to find a worthy endeavor to leverage their efforts.  There are many opposing ideas out there telling us that our efforts won’t really matter much, our dreams likely won’t come true no matter what we do.

There seems to be a sense of hopelessness.  It’s not that there are not opportunities, businesses are hiring all over the place. Rather it seems to many there are fewer good opportunities being offered. The key words here “being offered”.

divided(1)James Harter (cbs.com) says -” Of the country’s approximately 100 million full-time employees, 51 percent aren’t engaged at work — meaning they feel no real connection to their jobs, and thus they tend to do the bare minimum. Another 16 percent are “actively disengaged” — they resent their jobs, tend to gripe to co-workers and drag down office morale as a result.”

People feel stuck, like their options have been limited.  For many, what once was a healthy ambition to do something they love, has turned out to be a surrendering, a conforming to the mediocre means.  Our circumstances have shackled many of us and left us with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness, so it seems.

I have also noticed that there are a greater number of people in the marketplace who not only fail to see the future as a place to capitalize on accumulated experience and success, rather a place of darker and more cynical circumstances than the present or past. I think this tends to be based on their perception of depreciating opportunities down the road. As we age, we anticipate diminishing physical and mental skills, but more so we fear falling behind the cultural and technological curve.  It’s like the tractor pull effect, the further you go, the more resistance increases, until you eventually become incapable of maintaining and come to a screeching halt. So many people don’t see any future of retirement or health benefits available to them and they fear how that will play out.

“Blending in” as a Valueblending

We find a sense of comfort in blending in with others around us.  We all long for fellowship with relationships with our fellow man and are willing to compromise much to get it.  It is so much easier to join the crowd, go wherever they go and value what they value. We experience little resistance from others when we stick to cultural trends and speak the language.  In the land of complainers, complaining is the highest form of expression.  Is it any wonder so many people are slave to their surroundings, slave to the path of least resistance, and slave to the imaginary fences that are their circumstances? You will never have to be alone if you choose that path. Ever heard the expression “misery loves company”?

Sometimes we sell out to blend in, and have peace with our surroundings, only to wage war against our very soul that wishes to escape and be free.

Surrendering your Power

When we come to rely on everyone else to present us opportunities for our financial and professional needs, we give all power to everyone else to have our needs met. We become dependent on our surroundings to provide for us.  Dependency on others becomes the constant theme in our lives. Blame becomes our mantra, when the people and environment we depend on let us down.  This is the essence of victim thinking.

If you do not determine your priorities for your life, someone else will.  And believe it or not, they may not have your best interest in mind.

Our circumstances are always temporary, unless you choose to make them permanent by giving your power away. We need to stop putting our future in the hands of everyone else and the circumstances they create for us, and embrace our future as 100% our sole responsibility.  Why should you allow others to put a lid on your potential?

So Where is the Hope?

Titus 3:4-7 NIV “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “…But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Washed to be Set Apart

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are washed and experience rebirth by the Holy Spirit.  We are sanctified or ‘set apart’ for a great mission that includes your whole being.

sactified

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

If you are not a person of faith, the process is still similar in the workplace (but more difficult and not eternal).  Your hope is to change, to be different, to let go or separate yourself from the patterns that you have embraced, and the excuses that are holding you back and keeping you from being effective.

Sanctification is to be set apart, reserved for something.  This is the opposite of blending in or status quo.

2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate”, says the Lord.

God doesn’t necessarily set us apart or change our external circumstances, although he may (see Jonah).  He changes us internally so we can grow and change our own circumstances and help others with theirs.  It’s not about changing where we are.  The grass isn’t any greener if you take your troubles with you.  It’s about a change in who we are, by choosing.

Step Up and Stand Out

 

When we allow, Christ do direct our inner being, we are no longer controlled by, or dependent on the people around us, or our circumstances.  Our true opportunities come when a seed of grace is planted in our hearts by our savior.  This seed creates a burden based on compassion and conviction. It then turns into vision, vision seeks out opportunities to step up and stand out to lead the charge to better ourselves. stand out It inspires us to better our environment, and improve circumstances for everyone.  If no such burden exists, you may want to examine your current ideas and beliefs about the world, and reconsider them considering a grander picture. They may not be adequate to bring about a life of significance.

 

I dare you to step up to the calling that God has created you for, and be willing to stand out among your peers as one set apart for great works of service.  Get up off your couch, turn the TV off, and do something great for someone!

Are you Awareness driven, or Focus driven?

It’s important that we don’t get so caught up in where we are going that we forget where we are. It is equally important that we don’t get caught up in where we are that we forget about where we are going.

Are you Awareness driven, or Focus driven?

Sometimes we think of awareness and focus as being very similar.  In fact they are opposites, and both are necessary. One is centralized or concentrated, the other outwardly distributed.

Awareness and focus are both important factors in our success.  It would be great if we all had a natural balance of the two, but we don’t. That puts us at odds with each other, or does it?

The Brain

The human brain is an incredible creation, but one thing it doesn’t do so well is see the big picture and see the details at the same time. We all have a tendency toward one, or the other, but not both. The eye can only focus on one thing at a time.  It can roam around taking smaller snapshots of information from all over, in a broad sense, or it can stay focused in the same area to get a deeper understanding of what it is looking at.

People tend to see that way too, but we also learn to grow, socialize and communicate similarly.  We are always seeking to expand our awareness of what is around us, or deepen our understanding of what is in front of us. Awareness driven people like to take complex ideas and simplify them to help ‘the many’ gain awareness and understanding.  Focused driven people like to add more details for a deeper level of understanding for ‘the few’ to gleem insight.

We all do both at times, but lean one way most of the time.  Some people become a jack of all trades and master of none, yet others may be able to play Mozart, but struggle to tie their shoes.

Puzzles

Imagine a scenario where two individuals were asked to put ten puzzles together, and they only have one hour to finish. These puzzles are not extremely difficult but not likely to be completed in a single hour by the average person.

An awareness driven person may approach this task in a much different manner than a focus driven person. He would look at the task; determine that finishing the project is the most important desired result.  After all they were given an hour TO FINISH!  He quickly figures out that there is 60 minutes to work with, ten puzzles so that gives him approximately six minutes for each puzzle.  After 60 minutes or so he has all ten mostly completed but none of them fully completed.  He walks away fairly satisfied knowing that all ten puzzles look pretty good.  He can still recognize the intended pictures from the boxes even though there are several gaps. “Git r done!”

The focus driven person takes a different approach.  She takes a good look at the picture on the box of the first puzzle to know what the outcome needs to look like.  She begins putting the puzzle together making sure she uses the pattern of corners first, edges second and then looks for identifiable patterns. She carefully searches for the right piece, finds it then puts it in its rightful place. With 20 minutes left, anxiety increases, she picks up her pace and pushes through completing 3 more puzzles before she runs out of time.  She looks at her six completed puzzles and is quite pleased.  She got six out of ten puzzles fully completed exactly as the boxes suggest.  “If you are not going to do it right, don’t do it at all”, she thinks.

Opposing Perspectives

What if each of their work is shown to the other to observe and comment on?  You can guess the criticism that may come from those evaluations as they view each other’s work from a different lens. “You didn’t even start four of them!”, “Well you didn’t finish any of them!”

In the leadership world we find these seemingly opposing perspectives play out all the time. Some people value efficiency; some are high on details and accuracy.  Some find satisfaction in covering more ground and others by covering better ground. Some put a high value on time or relationships. Others put a higher value on money or influence, while yet others seek excellence or strategy.

Humility

We can cause a disconnect when we fail to appreciate other people’s perspective, or if we believe that our way of thinking is more viable than others. By nature we all tend to think this way sometimes. It takes intentional effort, and humility to consider that others may have something specific to offer that we don’t (Cain and Abel). It also takes humility to accept that our perspective may be inferior compared to another.

“It takes intentional effort, and humility to consider that others may have something to offer that we don’t. It also takes humility to accept that our perspective may be inferior compared to another.”

One Body with Many Members

1Co 12:14-18 NIV Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.  Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.

When we choose to see awareness and focus not just as opposing views, but also as complimentary views, we may learn that we actually CANNOT get along WITHOUT each other. We complete each other. Unless we come to this awareness we will never understand the importance of interdependence and the beauty of productive, relational and spiritual harmony, as God intended it to be.