Success is no longer a zero sum game when I either succeed or fail, but rather success is much more about the impact that my life has on others.
The implications of the fact that we are all unique I think often get lost. They get lost in the jungle of the fact that many of us are trying to achieve similar things, many of us are taking similar routes, and many of us have similar backgrounds. We begin to compare ourselves to each other and compare ourselves to the people around us, the people that we see, the people that we want to be like.
One of the most interesting turning points in my life, at least my life and mental health, was when I begin to discover that I was good at things outside of what I had always considered. My early career was a baseball coach. I spent seven years a college baseball coach before entering ministry. It’s apparent now that one of the real limiters on my life was the idea that I was good at one thing and one thing only, coaching pitchers. I tied my self-worth and my future to, what I considered, was the only thing I was good at.
I was limited in the impact I felt I could make because I saw only one thing that was of value and worth. I wasn’t just limited in my future, I was limited in the situations I was already in. I had so much more influence on the young men that I coached, on the staffs that I worked with, and on my son and my family then I ever realized. It hasn’t been until recently that I have tried to take an honest evaluation of my skills, abilities, and interests.
I realized that I have value as a writer, a speaker, a minister, a crossfit athlete, a crossfit coach, and a musician. I now view my life as having seven (counting coaching) possible areas of impact and success.
I’m not exaggerating when I say how freeing that exercise, which has played out over several months, has been. Success is no longer a zero sum game when I either succeed or fail, but rather success is much more about the impact that my life has on others. It’s like this the purpose (and title) of my blog series. I now see my life in a range of ways to encourage and inspire those that hear me, see me, or read my words.
We are defined by more than one or two character traits or talents that we may have. Our lives are so intertwined with so many people, whether we know them well or bump into them in the store, that we have the ability to make an impact with our abilities, our words, even our smiles. So here’s a few thoughts to try to expand your thinking in evaluating what makes you unique and special in this world.
1. What do you love doing?
2. What is something that you do often that others may not do?
3. Is there something that other people have told you you are good at?
4. Has someone ever thanked you for something you didn’t realize you had done?
5. Have you ever been asked to do something because someone else thought you could do it?
You may not have an answer for every question right away so write these questions down and see if any of them come up during your week. I’m willing to bet you’ll have more answers by tomorrow than you think. When you are able to answer all five questions look for patterns. Often the things we excel are minimal to us because it comes easy and naturally. Public speaking tends to be this way. People that are naturally geared toward public speaking have very little issue with getting up and presenting. To them, it’s just talking to a lot of people. The fact that more people in America are afraid of public speaking than they are of death (seriously) doesn’t even cross their minds. Perhaps there’s something that doesn’t even cross your mind that you are good at that you never would have credited yourself with.
Now, be a blessing. Be a blessing to your family, to your friends, to those you encounter, and-most importantly-to yourself! You have the ability to enrich others’ lives in ways that no one else can.