Some stereotypes are almost impossible to escape. Think of all the sales industries that try to come up with names for their employees that mask their true identity! Executive consultants, advisors, experience managers, development directors…..the list goes on. A tacky suit and a pushy approach are usually equated with sales and regardless of venue we all push back against the idea that we are being “sold” something.
In reality one in four of us are in sales or service industries. But so are the other three.
Whether we send email, sell something on eBay, pitch ideas to coworkers, are entrepreneurs enticing investors, or parents and teachers encouraging children to study, we spend up to forty percent of our days persuading others. Almost everyone is engaged in “non-sales selling.” As a result, we wrestle with the tension between selfish “selling” versus selflessly serving others.
Being a Christian I think there’s a basis for understanding this problem. Peter, who hung out with Jesus, provides illumination.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10
Here is something that I have sought, received and yet cannot measure – it’s validation. We seek it in many areas of life. We long for our parents, business partners, friends, colleagues and even our kids to say – “You matter!”
Men and women of great minds and those of absolutely average minds have all wrestled with the same question, ‘do I matter’? Sadly the answer to this question and the wrestling to the answer have brought some people to a state of desperation and depression. I reflect on my own parents and grandparents wondering what difference did they make? What difference will I make? Where’s the hope for this part of our story?
If you have been to an art gallery, museum or places of historical significance you will often discover the stories of the average person doing extraordinary things. It’s only from the perspective of time that we know if, the decisions we make and the action we take, make a difference to others. Perhaps these “others” are yet unborn. We cannot realize ALL the implications our decisions and actions in the moment. Only in the future, do we gain perspective but sometimes we never know.
Few of us always knew what we wanted to do. Those rare people are the lucky ones in a sense, because they find that direction early in their journey. What about the rest of us?
Today the average person will find a job 11 different times, with the average lasting just 4 years. How do I find the job I love? What field of work do I pursue? These were the questions I faced as a young person. As my life progressed I starting building homes then later building people through blogging. Part of this path was planned, part of it was organic, and it just evolved. There is nothing wrong with doing whatever you fall into. But, when you find the meeting point between natural talents and personal passion it changes everything.
Most of us have used a GPS – so we know about the importance of the destination input. If you want to get where you want – you need to know where you want to go and follow the path! I’ve met many people who work at a job that offers security, opportunity for advancement, or lots of money. Many of them drag themselves to work each day and it ends up being something they dread. They had a burning passion to do something they loved, but for whatever reason, did not follow that dream. My good friend, Mike, works in ‘high tech’. He often asked if he could work with me. From an early age, all he wanted to do was build houses. For a variety of reasons, he has not ended up where he expected, nor intended. He lost direction in life.
Why is it that good intentioned, smart people, with admirable life goals, often are not where they intended, they’re not reaching their goals? Why is it that many people with a clear idea direction in life end up far from their intended destination? Has this happened to you in one area of your life?
First in the series, Destinations then in his book The Principle of the Path, author Andy Stanley talks about how to get from where you are, to where you want to be. We have all lost direction in life in one area for a period of time.
In my life, many things have come easily… and many things frustrate me to no end. There are things that I just cannot seem to do!
In our homebuilding business, I was blessed with the right strengths for managing people’s time, money and expectations for a new place to call home. However, as I transitioned into my second half of life, I didn’t know what my real strengths were. No one ever encouraged me to explore them or told me how to find them. What a frustrating feeling!
Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.
Proverbs 22:29 ESV