Know Your Calling
Every Christian has two callings in life: a spiritual one to salvation and also a vocational calling. Life is too short to miss either one. Your two callings are separate but inseparable. The first informs the way you’ll live out your second calling. The realization of what Christ has done for us produces a compulsion to live for Him. When we talk about one’s “calling,” we’re speaking about the vocational kind that answers this question: “I’ve decided to follow God, but how does He want me to use my gifts and passions?”
Asking the right questions is crucial for discerning one’s calling. Oftentimes, we fail to ask the correct questions and then wonder why our answers are so dissatisfying. Seeking God’s will for your life begins by asking yourself, “What keeps me awake when I should be falling asleep at night?” The answer will expose what makes you mad, what makes you cry, what lingers in your mind when the world goes dark. The second question you should ask yourself is, “What wakes me up when I should still be sleeping in the morning?” The answer will uncover what you value, what you’re committed to, and what excites you.
Here are several others I think are helpful for deciphering God ’s invitation to you:
What are your passions and gifts? At the intersection of these two elements, you’ll find your purpose in life.
What would you work on or want to do for free? That is usually a good sign of what God has designed you to do.
What energized you when you were a child? Does it still animate you? Knowing your calling is often directly connected to childhood passions and gifts.
If you could do anything and take a pay cut, what would that be? You may have to blow up your financial goals in order to pursue your true calling.
What barriers are preventing you from pursuing your true calling? Can you begin removing those?
If you aren’t engaging your gifts and talents where you find yourself now, could you make changes in your current role to better engage those? Don’t rule out the possibility that where you are is where you need to be.
God Bless you
Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the commitment to overcome it. Courage doesn’t mean you’re not afraid; it means you battle against your fear and confront it. Courage push confronts resist the impulse to shy away from the things that stir up your innermost anxieties. Courage is required and must be a constant. It’s tiny pieces of fear all glued together.
The lives of great Christian leaders teach us that those who follow a God-sized calling need God-sized courage. Abraham left his home to journey to a place he wasn’t even sure existed. Moses overcame his speech impediment to lead the people of Israel to freedom. Joshua faced doubters who feared the promised land was too difficult to conquer. Gideon led an army of only three hundred to defeat an army of thousands.
Daniel and Esther displayed tremendous courage in the face of death. Nehemiah overcame fierce opposition to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in fifty-two days. Jesus faced the cross and triumphed over death. Paul penned parts of the New Testament while nurturing wounds in prison; and nearly every apostle preached the gospel until being martyred.
Here are some helpful tips for building a culture of courage in your organization:
Set scary standards. Your level of excellence and expectation for your product or service or experience should almost be something that is nearly unattainable. Safe goals are set by safe leaders with safe visions. Give your people a goal that scares them, and you’ll produce leaders who know what it means to overcome fear.
Allow for failure. The road to success is many times put together through multiple failures. Allow for and even encourage your team to fail as they attempt to succeed.
Reward innovation. Innovation requires taking risks. And bold risks create bold team members. Rewarding innovation will challenge your team to grow in their roles.
Pursue the right opportunities. Not every risk is a good one. Be disciplined. Aggressively pursue a few things that make sense. Say no often.
Learn to delegate. This is one of the most courageous things a leader can do. Entrusting others with important tasks requires letting go and relinquishing control. Liberally pass responsibility and authority to your team. If you want your team to be courageous, give them the chance to lead.
Many leaders today feel great pressure to succeed, and as a result, create and accept a pseudo self. The pseudo version of them that hides their warts and magnifies their best traits. Unfortunately, those who know us best and even those who simply work with us every day see right through this. They recognize our true self and know we’re not embracing that person. We won’t reach our full potential by investing energy into creating false versions of ourselves.
Here are some best practices I’ve found helpful to cultivate the essential leadership trait of authenticity:
Practice self-awareness. Before you can release your true self you have to recognize your true self. Too many people refuse to accept and even name their weaknesses, struggles, and pitfalls. As a result, they accept a version of themselves they believe others will like better. Understand who you really are.
Question yourself. I encourage leaders to evaluate their self-acceptance with honest questions: Whose attention do you crave? Are you chasing the approval of friends, colleagues, and customers? What is it you don’t like about yourself, and how can that shortcoming also be a strength? Self-diagnosis can lead to self-discovery, which is the only path to authenticity.
Move from self-promotion to storytelling. I can appreciate the effort made by individuals in the public eye to shape their personal brands. But I also worry about the effects this can have on living an authentic life. If you want to be a changemaker, begin to see public outlets as places for sharing your personal story.
Resist the urge to create a digital alter ego. Refuse to hide behind a website or Facebook page. Instead, adopt the mindset of Claire Diaz Ortiz, social innovation director for Twitter: “Social media is not just about being connected. It’s about being transparent, intimate, and honest.”
Learn to laugh at yourself. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Instead, grow comfortable enough with who you are to laugh and laugh often. When you are able to accept and even chuckle at your blunders and mess-ups, others will too. And this common experience will help you bond with them.
Build a support network. Beware of the temptation to surround yourself with flatterers who only tell you what you want to hear. Keep honest people in your life that can help you stay grounded and keep from thinking you’ve arrived.
Be interested over interesting. Be more concerned with listening instead of talking. Focus on others, not yourself