I just returned from a national staff conference for the department of Local Church Ministries that I work in at Word of Life Canada, a national non-profit that focuses on reaching the youth of Canada with the message of Jesus Christ. It was a powerful conference from all angles with many elements, including refreshment, team recruitment, risk management policies and everything in between. (I assure you… not everything started with ‘R’ though.)
The theme for our conference was “Communication.” We were encouraged throughout the course of our four days in several areas related to communication but the one element that resonated the most within me was this: what I do should not communicate more loudly than who I am. What does this mean?
Our culture tends to focus on quantity as it relates to success (financial, spiritual or whatever) rather than quality. As a society, we tend to connect personal value with the extrinsic things in our life (our bank account, the car we drive, the house we live in, the job we have) rather than the intrinsic (our principles, values, belief system).
Think about it this way: go ahead and recall last time you were in a social setting, meeting the friend of a friend, when one of the very first questions in your interaction was NOT something like, “What do you do for a living?” When was the last time you yourself didn’t do the very same thing?
This past summer I had a complete paradigm shift (i.e. I changed the “filter” through which I see life) directly as a result of reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (affiliate link). I tell you with complete honesty that this book was a “game changer” for me in so many fundamental ways; it honestly shook me to the very core of my being. I highly recommend this book for those looking to firm up the foundations of understanding “why we are who we are.”
I don’t know about you but I want to be known for who I am rather than simply what I do. The latter ought to flow out of the former, by the way, not the other way around.
More thoughts to follow in future posts.
Do you allow “what you do” to define who you are? Where do you find your value, self worth or identity? Leave your comments below.