I see people working in jobs that are not fulfilling and for companies they don’t like. The mundane Mondays are more common than I would like to see. If all you have to live for is the weekend, something is wrong.
I wish that instead of asking college students “What do you want to do?” we would ask them “What are you passionate about?” I wish that people would be brave enough to live a life true to themselves and not the life others expect of them. It takes courage to constantly ask “Is this for me?”
I experience great tension in this area. Not everything I do is pure bliss, and if I had a magic wand there are things I would make go away for sure. But ultimately, I want to live a life that matters.
I want to be the best in the world at my craft, and I want to be the best dad and husband possible. I want to give to my community and to causes that I care about. I want what most of us want…I want more.
Several years ago I was asked to pick up a well-known author from the airport who was speaking at an annual ministry gala in our community. I’ve read many of his books and have been impacted by his teaching. On the way to the airport I was rehearsing what I would ask him and how our ride home would go. A thought entered my mind of the questions he might ask me.
We met at the airport, and the ride back was everything I had imagined and more. I had gotten through nearly all of my questions, and we were almost home when he turned to me and said, “Richard, how can I pray for you?” I thought he might ask this. “Oh, I appreciate that, but I’m OK,” I responded. “Richard, I know you have something specific to share, so please share it.”
I told him that I wanted prayer for wisdom in how to effectively balance my desire to be the best and give my best both with my work and with my family. I shared that I often felt out of balance and was concerned that I wasn’t giving my family (my kids specifically) my best.
After a long pause, he asked me if I was telling myself I wasn’t doing well at home. He asked if I thought my kids were disappointed in me. He asked if I felt as though I wasn’t putting “first things first.” He asked if I was beating myself up. My response was “yes.” Yes, to all of these questions.
We parked the car in front of his hotel, and he told me he wanted to give me an assignment. He wanted me to take each of my kids individually out for breakfast and ask them four questions:
- If you were to give me a grade as a dad (A-F) what would it be and why?
- What are the characteristics of a good dad?
- Who do you know that is an example of this?
- Tell me what you want me to stop doing?
I was nervous about this time with my boys and concerned about their response. Over the next two weeks I met with each of them, notepad in hand and asked the questions as assigned.
Not only did I pass but I was pleased with my grades. I was giving myself C’s and D’s and those that mattered most, gave me A’s. They gave me great examples of characteristics of a good dad and two of my boys gave me the same guy as their example of a dad that was getting it done.
I share this experience because if we are to live the life that matters most to us, we have to be intentional about it. Just because I passed with good grades a couple of years ago doesn’t mean I will again this year. I must constantly be intentional about this and regularly check in for feedback.
You likely don’t struggle with giving your best at work – that comes naturally. You also don’t likely struggle with having good intentions in all that you do. Your intentions have likely never hurt anybody. Your intentions aren’t your problem, it’s your actions.
“Nobody plans to mess up their life, but few plan not to.” – Andy Stanley
My wife Christy and I were talking about this very topic and she said “Good intentions aren’t enough you have to be intentional.” She is so wise and this is so true. Being pre-meditated, intentional and purposeful in where you invest your time, where you put your energy and how you make your decisions is critical.
Your intention is one of the most powerful tools you have but it pales in comparison to your action. Action beats intention when intention fails to show up in your life.
Lead well, lead often, LEAD STRONG.