All posts tagged Faith at Work

The Best Advice I’ve Received At Work

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As a young associate, I watched an older, skilled trial lawyer I’ll call Dave in action.  How does he do it?  He makes it look so easy.  Certainly, he must have a secret.

So, I got up the nerve to ask him. 

“What’s your secret to being a great trial lawyer?”

Dave’s response?

“Be yourself.  Juries can see right through it if you’re fake.  You must be sincere, and you must find your own style.”

Wow.  That wasn’t what I expected to hear.

I thought he would say to work harder and smarter than everyone else.  To emulate him.  To speak boldly and clearly.  To take control and project confidence.  In other words, “Never let them see you sweat!” 

But that wasn’t his advice.  Instead, he told me to be the person God created.  No, Dave wasn’t a religious man.  But anyone who successfully tries cases for 50 years understands human nature.  That we are each uniquely skilled and talented – that the only thing we contribute that isn’t fungible comes from within. 

So what does it take to be yourself?  Frankly, it’s harder than it sounds.

There is no formula for being yourself.

There’s no “cookbook” for being yourself.  We just have to do it.  We must learn by trial and error – in other words, the hard way!   When some of us start our careers, we don’t even know who we are or what we want to be.  It can take years and years of practice.  As we grow, we change.

I can’t tell you who I’m going to be ten years from now.  I can’t tell you how I’m going to get from here to there, or what “there” even looks like.  But I’m committed to a journey that no one can walk for me.  That’s the beauty and the thrill.   

Comparisons will derail our journey.

We must put an end to the constant comparisons.  Jealousy is toxic, especially when it comes to our work.  Every thriving business has a range of contributors – from bossy leaders to quiet worker bees.  And you cannot measure success by the person above you, next to you, or below you.  

The best measure of success is whether we work in an environment where we can use our full potential — in other words, where we can be ourselves.  And not worry about the cubicle next to us.  As I constantly preach to my children, “Just worry about yourself!”

The best coach is our Creator. 

No one knows you like the One who made you.  Our Creator knows our greatest strengths, greatest weaknesses, and greatest potential.  Which means He is fully equipped to help us be ourselves.  He also knows our dreams and desires – not only who we are, but who we want to be.

When we walk into His office for a coaching session, there is no “intake exam” or family history to cover.   And He doesn’t charge by the hour!

Like I said, Dave wasn’t a particularly religious man.  But I took his advice to heart. 

What’s the best advice you’ve received at work?

Bonus tip:  I’ve been following a fascinating discussion on Linked In in the Professional Women’s Network on “the best advice I’ve ever received …”

Taming Your Tongue AT work: Can you Go A week Without Whining?

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What if I challenged you to go an entire week without whining or complaining at work?  Could you do it?

I don’t know if I want to answer that question! Continue reading →

work matters, by tom nelson

Is work just a means to an end?  Something we “have” to do to get by?  After all, we need food and shelter.  Someone has to pay for the house, the car, the daily necessities (like our computers and cell phones!). Work gives us the opportunity to earn a living – so that we can engage in more “spiritual” matters when we’re off the clock.  Right?

Or, is the act of work something that God esteems and values — regardless of whether we “work” in a church, a hospital, a home, or even an office?   Could God have a greater purpose for our daily work?

In Work Matters, Tom Nelson urges us to bridge the “gap” between Sunday worship and Monday work.

This may not be a new concept for you.  Especially if you regularly hang out with me at The High Calling.  But stick with me.  A couple of gems in Work Matters gave me new insight into this whole business of “work.”

Like when we work, we are bearing God’s image.  We weren’t just created to survive and to be in relationship with God and each other.  We were created to work!

Nelson puts it like this:

“Because God himself is a worker and because we are his image-bearers, we were designed to reflect who God is in, through, and by our work.  The work we are called to do every day is an important part of our image-bearing nature and stewardship.  As human beings, we were created to do things.  In this sense we are not only human beings, we are also human doings.  We have been created to contribute to God’s good world.”

I don’t know about you, but I rarely connect my daily work with bearing God’s image.  Do you? Continue reading →

Does Prayer Work At Work?

Do you forget to pray at work?  I have to admit, I often doubt that God cares about conference calls and billable hours.  Sometimes, I think prayer doesn’t even matter in the office.  Right?

Wrong.

Continue reading →

Has God Forgotten About Your Resume?

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Do you wish you had a different job?  Do you think you are uniquely qualified – maybe even called by God! – to do something else?  


You’re not alone. 


I know, lots of people feel this way.  What’s the big deal?


Here’s the big deal.  Did you know that the Apostle Paul – arguably the most effective New Testament figure – likely had these same thoughts?


Check this out.


In Acts Chapter 22, Paul tells how he first responded when God told him he was going to be sent away to the Gentiles.

God:  “Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.”


Paul:  “These people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.”


Paul was probably thinking to himself:  Wait a minute, I’m uniquely cut out to work in Jerusalem, remember? After all, I have been an insider.  I know the ropes.  I understand the culture.  I have even walked in the shoes of those who persecute Christians.  I can make a difference right here!  I’m the guy to do it.


God’s response?  “Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.”


Did God forget about Paul’s resume? 


After all, why would God send a highly-qualified insider out of his home territory to a place where he has nothing in common with the culture, geography, or religion of the people?


It’s like sending someone who has worked his way up Wall Street to run a soda pop stand in Ohio.


It’s like sending a Republican to Berkley. 


It’s like sending a surfer dude to the desert.


It’s like sending Pastor Eric from the Ivy League to North Dakota (and then to Ohio!)


You get the point.


Maybe you’ve even told God, “Hey, you must have made a mistake here.  I’m meant to do something much more important.  What about my resume?”


I’ve even wondered, does God just like to mess with us?  Does he like to pull a fish out of water? 


Or, like Paul, could it be that he has something bigger – maybe something even BETTER – for our futures? 


[This post was inspired by Pastor Eric’s 8/28/11 sermon at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church.  You can download it here.]