Success

Pursuing Success with God in Mind

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Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in Him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life–is not from the Father but is from the world.” – 1 John 2:15-16

To this very day, I have been tempted to worship the god of achievement and success. Don’t get me wrong. Pursuing goals are noble desires. Getting the best grades, being promoted to a leadership position, or finding a career that will support your family is good and even commended by God.

However, when we agree with the world that “achievement and success” define who we are, this turns a noble desire into a dishonorable idol. God doesn’t want us to place our self-worth in material measurements. Our self-worth is found in Him. For Scripture says, “God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Gen. 1:27).”

Why do you think it’s important for us to find our self-worth in God rather than in the world’s notion of value and success? Because God’s definition can’t be altered or broken, but the world’s can.

Let me give you an example. There once was a successful man named Bill. He went to a prestigious university, received his Masters in Business Administration, and developed a million dollar company. According to the world, Bill was the epitome of success.

One spring day, Bill got into a car accident. Due to physical limitations, he wasn’t able to continue his role as CEO of the company. Then his wife left him because he no longer had the authority and prestige he once had. Bill became very depressed and wondered if his life was even worth living. What would you say to Bill? I know what I would tell him.

Bill, your self-worth is not found in your achievements. Our successes can be taken from us in an instant. There is no guarantee that our material possessions will stay with us indefinitely. But I have good news Bill. There is a God who loves you unconditionally. In fact, Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before God formed you in the womb, he knew you.” Your friends and family may leave you, but God will never leave you or forsake you. There is no amount of money you can offer him. His love can’t be bought with your performance. Find your value in Him and your sadness will be turned into joy!

God knows our joy and satisfaction can only be found in Him. As the Westminster Catechism succinctly asserts: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

This is why God commands us not to love the world. He is not giving us arbitrary commands for the sake of being strict. Instead, he knows that if we pursue the desires of the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life, we will end up empty-handed, burned out, and depressed like Bill was.

God is our Heavenly Father. He loves to see us smile. When we find our satisfaction in him, our goals, aspirations, and dreams will be properly aligned with God’s will.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 37:4. “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This means that if you want to be a Marine Biologist then study diligently and he will make it happen. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, start up a business and ask God to guide you! When you decide early on to give glory to God for your successes, there is no limit to what you can achieve!

Finally, the statement “do not love the world” doesn’t mean to hide in a basement and become a social outcast. Instead, seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all things will be given to you. The point is not to find your ultimate satisfaction in what you do, but why you do it: “To give glory, honor, and praise to your Creator.” Only then will your self-worth be eternally secured.

Teamwork is the Key to Greater Success

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Michael Jordan once said: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence    wins championships.” This is coming from the most gifted Basketball player in  the history of the game. Even he recognizes that talent alone is not enough to win championships.

I have a picture hanging in my office from the year 1998. My Little League  Baseball team won the city championship. It was taken shortly after our clean-up hitter, Derek, hit a solo homerun in right field to put us in the lead of our rivals. As he approached home plate, the whole team ran out of the dugout with joy. I was the first one out and immediately jumped on top of Derek with my head in the air. The photographer took a snapshot of that moment. I am so glad he did because that image reminds me everyday of what my own Father engraved below the frame: “The reward of hard work.”

Derek helped us score a couple of runs, I pitched from the mound to maintain our lead, but it was a concerted team effort and not our individual talents that won the game. Our center fielder dove to make a great catch, the shortstop didn’t miss any ground balls hit to him, and even our teammates on the bench continually cheered and encouraged us throughout the game. We couldn’t have won the city championship without the team.

The same is true in life. In order to have a successful family, you need to work together. The mother, father, and even children are responsible for doing their part in making the family a thriving success. In work, you need to respect upper management, the boss, work with people on your level, and train others below you how to be more diligent, persistent, and sharp.

As Vince Lombardi famously stated: “Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” I have to remind my prideful self daily that no matter how hard I try, I will always perform better with help. With that said, what are some ways you have developed teamwork? Do you have any quotes that also inspire you?

Planning Priorities and Goals in an Age of Distraction

Did you know that $650 billion dollars are lost annually in productivity because of workplace distractions? Workplace Options, a company that specializes in evaluating productivity in the work force, conducted a study and found that the top 5 distractions were: Technology (e-mails, social media, and voice-mails), personnel, surroundings (co-workers, loud environment) unproductive meetings, and celebrations.

This does not surprise me. Just today I was communicating with an employer about an upcoming project. Halfway through our conversation, my phone began beeping on my desk.  A couple of seconds later, it beeped again. I had to literally turn my phone off to avoid being distracted.

This problem is an epidemic in our culture. Statistics show that an average worker starts a project and spends 11 seconds on it before being distracted. Then it takes 25 additional minutes before he or she can get back on task. How do we avoid this dilemma? Here are 3 practical steps that I believe will help us become more efficient at our job.

  1. Prioritize your day. Before you go into work, write a list of 10 tasks you want to get accomplished and rank them in order of importance. Why? So that you complete the most pertinent jobs first and get ahead of schedule instead of trying to accomplish all of them at once without any direction.
  2. If you have to work on your computer to get the project done, but social media is tempting you, turn off the internet. This will prevent you from browsing Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and other websites that decrease your productivity.
  3. Find another employee that will keep you accountable to your goals. This will benefit your productivity and the employees, bringing a positive change to the company’s working environment. Let’s be honest. Many of us don’t even have the discipline to workout at the gym on a regular basis, but we know our chances increase exponentially if someone keeps us accountable to our physical health. Shouldn’t we swallow our pride and apply this to the business world?