I remember the time in my life when I worked two very taxing jobs – one as a pastor of an inner city church, and the other as a case worker at a non-for-profit helping refugees adjust to America.
My days (and nights) were full of busyness and activity. Granted, my work was meaningful because I helped a lot of people; but the truth was I barely came up for air. My relationship with God suffered, and I barely had time for my wife. Even on my “so-called” day off, I usually ended up working on my sermon for Sunday.
I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t discontent. I was just…
Disappointed, felt alone, and my purpose muddled.
In a word,
I was surviving.
If we’re honest with ourselves, being a leader is hard. There’s tons of pressure, and we often feel like we’re blowing it. Can you relate?
We question if we’re making a difference, if God has a plan for us, if we’re really doing what we’re called to do. If you’ve ever had these thoughts – congratulations! It means you’re human. It means you don’t want to settle; it means you refuse to be another statistic. This is leadership.
The problem occurs when we stay muddled, disappointed, and alone… because then we coast into survival mode. True, all of us face seasons of survival (this is a part of life), but to stay in survival mode is detrimental.
So what are some things we can do to move from a posture of survival to that of thriving? I suggest it involves 3 components:
1. Identity. Identity has to do with who you are and who you are becoming. This is huge! If you don’t know who you are, you will easily sink into survival mode because you will find yourself constantly reacting.
And when you react, you’re never really free. Someone – or something – is always in control. Conversely, when you know who you are, you are able to respond to others and circumstances in a healthy way.
Could it still hurt? You bet. But it won’t send you spiraling down, and often, you will learn a valuable lesson.
To thrive you must know who you are and who you want to become – the best you, you can be.
2. Design. Design has to do with what you’re passion areas are – your unique design and wiring.
After a year or so of working crazy hours and merely surviving, my wife asked me one day, “So, if you could do three things – the three things that make you feel most alive – what would they be?”
It was a great question and something I thought about a lot. After writing in my journal, I came up with these three things:
When I shared this with my wife, she affirmed it and said, “Okay, now what can you do to move toward doing these things?”
The truth is, writing, speaking, and coaching are the things I am most passionate about. It’s what I think about day and night. It’s how I’m designed.
The key is to (1) know your design – those things which make you feel alive; and (2) start taking action on it.
3. Calling. Calling has to do with how you express or live out your design so that it impacts the world around you.
Let’s face it, a calling is ineffective if it doesn’t impact people’s lives. It must be something larger than you. It must, in a sense, lift you out of yourself and into a larger story. Now that’s a true calling.
A good start to discovering your calling is what I call the three P’s:
Prayer is vital: it’s the starting point. Pray and ask God to show you what your calling is.
People are often the affirmation piece of your calling. That is, the people around you – your spouse, friends, pastor, etc. – are typically the ones that say, “Hey, you’re really good at…”
Placement is the circumstances which forge your calling and push you out of yourself. And I have found that it often involves pain and sacrifice and struggle for this to happen. Why? Because as humans we naturally drift toward comfort and passivity. Pain pushes us out of this and helps us see what we couldn’t (or wouldn’t!) see before.
When you have all three of these components – identity, design, and calling – that is when you thrive in life.
I don’t know about you, but I am so done with survival. I want to thrive! Who’s with me?
(2) Consider my coaching services, How To Thrive Coaching. If you’re struggling with something and it’s holding you back from thriving, or if you are plagued with doubts, or fears, or simply question if you really have what it takes to make a difference, than please contact me and set up a FREE 30 min. consultation. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also go here to learn more. http://www.davearnoldspeaks.com/services/
Question: What is one thing you do to thrive in life?