Success Quote – Mar. 8, 2015

So true! While we all would like to live a long life, and go ‘up yonder’ to enjoy eternal salvation, ask yourself this: What am I doing down here?  This great MLK quote reminds me of many scriptures (about our purpose and God’s plan for us). It also reminds me of the following quote: “Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.” (Henry David Thoreau).  Do more than simply exist, Live!  Thanks for sharing Paul.

Goal Habits.com

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“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.” 
—Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Enjoy today.
Achieve today.
Tomorrow is promised to no one!

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Your Work, Your ‘Life Energy’

What is my purpose?


  • I shared some thoughts last week (Who You Are, All You Are) from a Theresa Sullivan post (LinkedIn) – on how occupation and life purpose get ‘tangled together’ too often my American workers. This week, I stumbled on to a series of posts being featured on TheHighCalling.org.   The theme: What Do You Do?

As stated by the Series Editors:

If you sit with someone long enough, included in the initial small talk (“Where do you live?”   “How do you know so-and-so?”) someone in the conversation will inevitably ask, “What do you do?”   What are we looking for when we ask that question? And what do we hear when we’re on the receiving end of that question?

What we do is important stuff in this world, and God desires greatly to be invited into what it is we find ourselves doing every day.   God takes delight in the work of our hands.   But do we sometimes confuse what we and others “do” with who we are and, especially, who we are in Christ?


  • Link to The High Calling series page (link)
  • There are 3 posts that I found particularly interesting:

What Do You Do: Finding Value in the Question No One Likes

Charity Singleton Craig ably highlights how, in the U.S., as compared to many other countries, this overused four-word question reveals how American workers too often view their personal identity, worth, and work.

  • An American journalist quoted in the post wrote: “In the U. S., we’re obsessed with people’s jobs. We want to know all about it.   We insist that you tell us what “career tribe” you’re in—white collar, blue collar, or new high-techy collar . . .  Basically, we would like everyone to walk around with their business card attached to their forehead, but since that’s a bit over-the-top, we try to glean the same information by asking questions—often lots of them—about your work”.

What Do You Do: Where We Find Our Worth

Should your worth be defined solely by your job? This post, as did my post last week (link), addresses this question well.   As well, the author (Jeanne Damoff) envisions how God feels, in her opinion, about how believers should determine their worth.

What Do You Do: Focused Answers for Unfocused Careers

If you are currently facing some mid-life issues, planning a career change, or defining yourself solely by your work, this is a great post to read.

  • Describing the ‘shifts in what I do, who I am, and where I belong, Gideon Strauss states:

“More immediately, many of us know the middle passage of life—sometime between our mid-thirties and our mid-fifties—as a time when the career dreams of our young adulthood have lost their charm or turned out to be phantasms.   These big changes bring us face to face with the deeper significance of the question because there are indissoluble connections between how we answer the question “What do you do?” and the questions “Who am I?” and “Where do I belong?

Vocation (our sense of what we are called to do in the world), identity (our sense of who we are), and belonging (our sense of connection with other human beings, communities, and places) are inextricably woven together’.  [Emphasis added]


What Energizes You? (Theresa Sullivan) 82834289_25db4ef0d4_z_LightCross_davekingAs I noted last week (blog post), Theresa Sullivan (You Need To ‘Find’ Your Passion & 4 other myths debunked) stated:

“I’m not sure where it came from, but somehow our passion and purpose get all tangled up with our occupation.   Your passion and purpose do not come formed in the shape of a particular job or career, ever.   Passion and purpose are WHO YOU ARE and what makes you, you.   Nobody’s passions add up to a single job . . . a single job role can never remotely encompass your energy and the potential you bring to the world.”

  • What does Sullivan say about some other issues?

On your value and worth

Unless you’ve got a sizable trust fund in your name, your own human capital is the most important, valuable, long term asset you’ll ever have.

On your passion

When people say they need to find their passion it makes it seem like it’s lost, or that they think it’s hiding somewhere.   It isn’t.   In fact, your passion is right in front of you, in plain sight.   What gives you energy is your passion.   What you do when you’re under no pressure to do anything is your passion.

On your ‘life energy’

What fuels your ability to earn money, love other people and simply get out of bed in the morning is your life energy.  When you do things you do for no outside reward except the satisfaction of doing them, you gain energy.  When you do other things for the sole purpose of being rewarded or recognized by someone else, you lose energy.


Related posts you might like:

 Greg Silverthorne


Photo credit:

Who You Are, All You Are (Life Purpose)

What is my purpose?

“I’m not sure where it came from, but somehow our passion and purpose get all tangled up with our occupation.   Your passion and purpose do not come formed in the shape of a particular job or career, ever.   Passion and purpose are WHO YOU ARE and what makes you, you.   Nobody’s passions add up to a single job . . . a single job role can never remotely encompass your energy and the potential you bring to the world.”

  • Are you defining yourself primarily by your 9-5 job?  Theresa Sullivan, in “You Need To ‘Find’ Your Passion & 4 other myths debunked”, captures powerfully the all-too-common notion that this single part of one’s life (a job) encompasses ALL that one is – or can ever be.   She explains quite well why it can’t.   I agree with her wholeheartedly!
  • In this post I’ve provided several excerpts, from Sullivan’s insightful LinkedIn post, to give you a flavor of her thoughts.

“Look at who you are, not your job title, when you’re talking about purpose or passion.”

“Your passion isn’t hiding from you, you won’t find it all neatly packed into a miraculously fine job role, it isn’t just one thing and it can shape-shift throughout your life.” 

“Not a single one of us knows what is going to happen tomorrow, let alone 10, 20, 30 years from now.   We get to do this lifetime exactly once.  By not being who you are right now, selfishly hoarding your gifts instead of sharing them with the world, you will have missed out on the entire, miraculous opportunity of being alive.   Only when you share with the world what you were uniquely put here to do will you be able to claim you’re really alive.”  [Emphasis added]


Even if you have a phenomenal position which you truly love, that single work role surely is NOT the only role that’s important – to the Lord, others, or you.  Is It?   Being one of ‘God’s masterpieces’, all you are can not be simplistically reflected in your job alone.  Like Sullivan, I too wonder how our purpose and passion got ‘all tangled up with occupation’.  Do you need to untangle yourself, and your purpose, from your job today?  Grace, mercy, and peace to you.

 Greg Silverthorne


For we are God’s masterpiece.   He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,

so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)


Photo credit: iStock

The Ultimate Career Question for Christians (Part 2)

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Your Next Triumph: Just a Step Away Series

In Part 1 (link), I set forth five (5) different Career Scenarios you might currently be in now.

An insightful post I saw recently helps a less-than-content Christian worker get a firm sense of what specific points of discontent exist.  The scenarios explored in that post, based on post readers deciding first if they’d continue working if they won a large lottery, are:

  • No Change
  • Promotion or Employer Change
  • Career Change
  • Retire Early and Rededicate
  • Cease Working (paid or unpaid)

If you feel that a promotion, employer change, or career change (second and third paths above) is needed, what are the precise reasons you’d seek such a change?   Jeff Haden, in 9 Reasons to Quit Your Job As Soon As You Can, will help you better understand your current situation.    His writing is powerful and to the point!

  • In his post, on LinkedIn Pulse, Haden states:

“Life’s too short to go home every day feeling unfulfilled.  Life’s too short to work for a terrible boss.  Life’s too short to go home every day feeling taken for granted, feeling taken less than seriously, or feeling taken advantage of.

Life’s short to not be as happy as you can be.

Say your grown daughter called and said, “I hate my job.   I’m bored, frustrated, and feel like I’m going nowhere.”   Wouldn’t you tell her to look for another job?

Shouldn’t you follow the same advice?”

I agree!

He offers, and explores, the following nine reasons, namely:

  • Your input is disregarded… or even not wanted.
  • You get criticized publicly.
  • You never hear the word, “Thanks.”
  • Your boss manages up, not down.
  • You feel like you have no purpose.
  • You feel like a number.
  • You aren’t even mildly excited to go to work.
  • You can’t see a future.
  • You don’t think you can do anything else.

 


I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 3:14 NIV)

  Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way

Photo credit: Jeremy Brooks/flickr (CC)

The Ultimate Career Question for Christians

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In this Your Next Triumph post, my main aim is to help Christian workers assess if their career is on track.   By answering one question, based on the following What If story,  I think you’ll have a better sense of your current career situation.

Use your imagination.   Imagine that you win a large lottery next week.   Based on being a lottery winner, you’re in a financial position where you don’t have to work another single day in your life!   You’d be getting an annual check . . . which would make you and your family very comfortable for the rest of your life.

  • Question:  If you were to win this lottery, would you continue to work?    That is the ultimate career question I’d like you to ponder for a few minutes.   Please answer either Yes or No.

Having answered the question above, your Career Situation can be narrowed further (See the next section below).   My secondary aim in this post is to help you see what your Next Career Move could be.   Once you’ve narrowly targeted your career situation, you can ‘press on towards your goal’ with greater confidence.


Your Career Situation

  • The 3 Scenarios, if you answered Yes:

a –   I’m very content with my current job (No change).

b –  I’m content with the field I work in now, but would seek a better job with my current (Promotion) employer or a different one (Employer Change).

c – I’d definitely make a Career Change, in order to get a new position in a new field.   I feel I would be able to find more meaningful or purposeful work in a different line of work.

  • The 2 Scenarios, if you answered No:
  1. While I am fairly content with my job, I’d Retire Early and Rededicate myself to doing Volunteer (unpaid) work instead.
  2. I’ve worked enough!   I’d really have no burning desire to do any work, paid or unpaid. [N.B.  Your level of contentment could be at any level, high or low]

Which of these Career Scenarios would you place yourself?   

In summary:

  • No Change (a)
  • Promotion or Employer Change (b)
  • Career Change (c)
  • Retire Early and Rededicate (1)
  • Cease Working (paid or unpaid)  (2)

Press On (Paul, the book of Philippians)

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 3: 12 – 14 NIV)

 


Your Next Move

So, lottery winner (smile), if you were honest in answering the Question posed above, you’ve narrowed the options you have to 2 (or 3) paths you can choose going forward.

  • For the No Change and Cease Working paths, your next move is fairly simple.
  • For the other three paths, however, you will have much more work to do before you can successfully make your next move.

Who am I?    I’m a 53-year old career professional.   I launched an educational ministry named Dare to Work (2009) to assist people, here in the Greensboro NC area, with various career and job hunting matters.   The career/worklife posts on this blog are an extension of my career education ministry work.

Based on what I’ve learned and read in the last five years or so about worker satisfaction, relatively few people would select the No Change (a) path.   If you did, Congratulations!     The percent of workers who are ‘very content’ with their current job, who love or really like their job, is -I’d guess- no more than 15 – 20 %.  Therefore, most workers, about 4 out of 5 workers, are prime candidates for a job or career change.

  • To be clear, even if someone truly “loves” their job, the Cease Working or Retire Early Options might still be appealing to that man or woman.   If you fall in this group, you simply feel that you’ve done enough full-time, paid work in your life.   There’s no shame in that.
  • If you answered Yes, but did not select the No Change option, what should you do to better your situation?   In short, seek a Promotion (current employer), seek a better job for a different employer, or plan (and pursue) a Career Change.

Is a Career Change in your future?

Are you a Career Change candidate, based on this exercise?   While this route will demand a major investment on your part, it CAN allow you to reap a great Return on your Investment.   If you’ve chosen the right career to pursue, it could be the smartest move you ever made, as a Christian  . . . other than choosing Jesus Christ as your personal Savior!

  • Essential to making a successful career change is making sure you’re ‘moving your career ladder to the right wall’.  Once you’ve done this, how you ‘climb the ladder‘ will come into play.   Put another way, your Planning and Implementation actions will be critical to your success in any career change.   If either is lacking, you may need to rely on those lottery winnings to survive!   You might not achieve the career fulfillment and work life contentment you seek and deserve!   So, please make sure you’ve got your ladder on the right wall . . . and are a Smart (not just fast) Climber!   Regarding your implementation actions (being a Smart Climber), envision Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson; his poise, athletic abilities, and playing IQ are phenomenal!    He’s a Christian too by the way.

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  • In closing, while the Lottery Question I raised assumed you’d be the recipient of a fat check every year, only the Retire Early and Cease Working routes (the two No Scenarios) rely on those winnings.   All three Yes options (a, b, c) are fully valid without this fictitious financial windfall!
  1. So, if your initial answer was Yes, you have three different paths you can travel going forward.  *No change, seek a better job, or embark on a career change.
  2. Even if your answer was No, however, assuming you’re not content to sit tight and do nothing, two options (b or c) should be looked at closely.   *Seek a better job (perhaps with your current employer) or pursue a new line of work (career change).

 Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way

Photo credit: Jeremy Brooks/flickr (CC)

Christians: A Career or a Calling?

What is my purpose?A great online article from The High Calling, by Bradley Moore, should help you answer the question posed in title.     “Do You Have a Job, a Career, or a Calling?” is a brief, but very informative Career post which can help any Christian know what they have.    If you aren’t happy with the level you find yourself at now, you might need to seek a higher level of employment – to find that happiness and greater purpose.

How does a Career differ from a Calling?    

In his post, drawing on an insightful Harvard Business Review article, Moore answers this question as follows: Bill Barnett, in his Harvard Business Blog post, “Make Your Job More Meaningful,”  distinguishes between the consequences of our attitudes towards work as a job, career, or calling.   People with a “jobs” mindset, he says, are working just for the money, and generally find little meaning in what they do – similar to my dishwasher stint.

 Those who are careerists focus more on the advancements and prestige of their work.   Their level of job satisfaction tends to revolve around their perception of whether or not they are getting ahead at the pace they expect.

“But people with callings are different,” Barnett continues.   “They see their work as a positive end in itself.    They feel good about what they’re doing.    They give more to their work.    They get more from it.”


After graduate school, Moore states:   “I was proud to be a professional, and thus began my track towards a true career. I leveraged the experience gained at that job to get the next one, continued honing my strengths and skills, and for the next two decades focused on promotions and advancement.” [Emphasis added]

However, Moore would then get the  ‘Calling, not Career yearning’ which many career professionals get during their work lives eventually.   Moore candidly states:

“As I matured and became more concerned about God’s purpose for my career, I considered that it might be more than just all about me.    Perhaps the emphasis of my work could involve helping others, rather than self-seeking promotions.    This led to a much more integrated and fulfilling view of my employment.” [Emphasis added]

 


  • While purpose can be found in all work, the nature of that purpose can evolve.   In a typical life, one may work in any or all of the three types of work cited above.   If you regularly find your work to be unrewarding, you might be at a lower level than desired . . . by you or God.   Seeking a Career (if in a job) or pursuing a more purposeful, fulfilling ‘Calling’ (if you’re a Career Pro) might be in order.
  • Please keep your Christians values in mind as you plan and move to a higher level.  If you do, you’ll surely be more-than-a-conqueror!
  • Some like Bradley Moore have successful careers, but seek work which they’re ‘called to’ later in life.    His 2012 post addresses the nature of having a calling.   Do you have a Job, Career, or Calling?

 Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way

Photo credit: iStock

What’s Life Saying to You? (Part 2)

What is my purpose?I highlighted 3 excerpts from Parker J. Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation book in Part 1 post on February 8th.   Let your life speak, by the way, is a Quaker saying.   Palmer, a teacher/writer, feels people are often inclined to let the voices of others drown out their OWN ‘vocational voice’.    Ponder this for 7 seconds

  • When you go out to eat, do you let the waiter or chef decide what you eat for dinner?  
  • No.   But, as many decide on a line of work to pursue, Palmer firmly believes, such nonsensical behavior is rampant – not rare!

Frankly, I believe Palmer’s observations about the dynamics of career selection are true.   Our true selves can get lost in the cacophony of ‘voices’ we consciously (and unconsciously) allow to direct the career path we walk down.    Many don’t tap into their God-given talents until they have a mid-life epiphany.   Some never do!

Listening to life

After reading the first Chapter of his book, I found several compelling points.   As you read the chosen excerpts from Palmer’s book below, please keep in mind these three (3) questions:

  1. What is listening to life?

  2. What is the consequence of not ‘listening’?

  3. Does being responsive to yourself go beyond just listening?

  • Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you.   Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you  what truths you embody, what values you represent.”  (p. 3)
  • Beginning at a very young age, Palmer states “we are taught [in school] to listen to everything and everyone but ourselves, to take all our clues about living from the people and powers around us.” (p. 5)
  • Palmer believes and states: “True self, when violated, will always resist us, sometimes at  great cost, holding our lives in check until we honor its truth” (p. 4)
  • Verbalizing is not the only way our lives speak, of course.   They speak through our actions and reactions, our intuitions and instincts, our feelings and bodily states of being, perhaps more profoundly than through our words.” (p. 6)

The wrong wall?

Is your ‘career ladder’ leaning against the right wall?   Is the line of work you’re in now one based on your own voice?   Don’t be surprised if your ladder is on the wrong wall.

  • After listening and soul-searching, develop a written plan – based on your self-reflecting vision.   As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there!

Parker Palmer believes you’ll be more victorious if you let your life speak; listen to your own voice – to help you discover the vocation which suits you best.    Guess what?    You may discover that it’s time to switch ‘walls’ – become  a career changer.    Again, Palmer sees vocation not as a  “goal to be achieved but as a gift to be received.”

In being ‘more than a conqueror’ in your work life, as God wants all His children to be, strive to listen more to your life.    If you do, don’t be surprised if you’re walking (faith) and working (career) in ways which are far more fulfilling.  

Let God speak to your heart . . . and let your life speak to you.

Grace, mercy, and peace to you!

Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way