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Weekly Thoughts

The intersection of work, life, sport and spirituality.

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work

It is good…

I’m currently going through a nine month fellowship program run by an organization that studies the intersection of work and faith. I think a lot of people, including myself, struggle with the question of what intrinsic value our work brings to the world. As a sales professional, how I can be of value outside of just strictly driving profits to the bottom line? Is our work goal simply to make a bunch of money so we can retire and travel the globe?

The beginning of the program has been thought-provoking in many ways but nothing quite as impactful as studying the creation story in the first part of Genesis. Setting aside the literal scientific questions we all have when we read a seven-day creation story, there are many parallels behind God’s work ethic and things we can model in our own work.

There were four key things that stood out to me when reading Genesis Chapter 1 that I had not considered before. These key elements apply to our work as people and our approach to business.

  1. A planned and staged approach to work. If you were God and all powerful, wouldn’t you just create planet Earth and every single thing in it in one day? I think about it related to my own work and how I try to wrap up as much as I possibly can in the shortest amount of time. If we have a proposal due, the faster we can get the thing done and out the door the better. Yet God himself took six full days to build creation. In business I’m always talking about the importance of a plan and strategic approach to everything that we do. Even my own athletic goals have a very strategic and staged approach to training. If we look at how God spaced out his creation efforts, we can learn that this is also how we need to approach projects in our every day lives.
  2. Pause to evaluate work at each stage. The next observation really struck me. You know how I mentioned trying to get through projects as quickly as we can and get them out the door? Well, In Genesis, God paused each day paused to evaluate His work. He doesn’t wait until the end of the project but he evaluates his work at every step of the way. To take time to reflect on work product and evaluate its goodness is something that’s in God’s nature. It’s something that I need to take more time to do.
  3. Celebrate a job well done, even when it’s not finished. In addition to evaluating work product at every step of the way, God also takes the time to celebrate his work. “It is good”. He blesses each day’s work and moves to the next step. This is something I find extremely hard to do when drafts of proposals and deliverables aren’t complete. To pause and celebrate work when it’s not yet completed is something that I plan to work on over the next year.
  4. Rest and recover. Last but certainly and certainly not least is taking the time to rest. How often do we rest after we complete a task? I definitely don’t have that gift! I finish one thing and move to the next as quick as I can. Rarely do I take the time to rest after a project is done. With rest built into the seventh day of the creation story, it is apparent that God built into us the need to recuperate and recover after goals have been met. Whether it’s a race that I have just completed or a project that I just got out the door, I need to take the personal time to rest and hit the “reset button” and recover for the next job.

I’m excited for the revelations that I received so far. Looking forward to this next nine month journey through the fellowship program and how I can improve me as a professional and help me reflect more of him in everything I do.


Genesis 1:3
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day”

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Comparison and ‘Value’

Comparison.

It drives every aspect of our lives. How do we stack up in the rankings?

In work, do you get your self-worth from the number of sales you have brought in or the initiatives you’ve been able to bring to your business? Do you correlate the amount of your paycheck with your personal and professional value? Do you measure yourself by the house you own or the car you drive?

Often times, we spend our lives comparing ourselves to others in a desperate attempt to derive more self-worth or somehow feel valued.

I spent this past weekend in Leadville pacing at one of the biggest ultrarunning races on the planet, the Leadville 100 Trail Run. Profiled in countless books and media, the Leadville 100 typically boasts a 40-50% finisher rate OR a 50%-60% failure rate depending on how you look at it. Within that finisher pool, if you finish in less than 25 hours you get a big belt buckle. If you finish in less than 30 hours you get a smaller belt buckle. There are awards for top three athletes overall and the top three in each age group category. Walk around the finish of Leadville, and you hear athletes boasting about their accomplishments:

“I got a big buckle.” “I finished before the cutoff.” “I got on the podium.” “I didn’t finish because of….fill in the blank.”

I even stood next to a guy at the finish line that had a 200-mile ultrarunning race finishers t-shirt on (from another race) and it was tucked into the front of his shorts to show off his 200-mile finishers belt buckle as if to say, “Yeah, I’m proud of all you finishers, but I’m way more bad ass than you. I ran TWICE as far

I do think we should be proud of our accomplishments and set goals to pull out our best potential. The danger I find however, is when we derive our importance and self-worth from comparing ourselves to others and placing value on these goals outside the goal itself. Placing improper importance on the goal itself damages the life experience.

What if you still strive to achieve excellence, but you knew your value was not based in how much or how little you have or are able to do? What if your DNF (did not finish) in the last race didn’t matter to you anymore than taking first place in terms of how you see yourself?

One of my favorite authors, Donald Miller, wrote a book called “Searching for God Knows What” where he profiles the broken human condition and points out that we are all trying to achieve success based on how we stack up against other people. In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul clarifies that our inherent value has nothing to do with what we do or don’t do. (Romans 3:21-30) It has nothing to do with our accomplishments or feats in life. We are all valued as humans in the full and overflowing love that comes from God (whether you believe in Him or not).

What if we all lived our lives knowing that we already had all the intrinsic value we need by just being us? What if we no longer compared ourselves against others because we were all at peace with who we are already?

How would you live your life differently?

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