25 February 2010

Fearing to Be Present

I subscribe to a blog written by a marketing guru named Seth Godin. Two of his recent blog posts came together for me in a very unique way.

First, the blog posts. Then read on for the insight I gained.

From Seth Godin:
Your most vivid fears...

are almost certainly not the most important ones.

We pay attention to the loud and the urgent. This can lead us to ignore the important and achievable paths open to us--because we're so busy defending against the overwhelmingly dangerous (but unlikely) outcomes instead.

Phoning it in

This was sort of shocking, at least to me:

I was talking to a religious leader, someone who runs a congregation. She made it clear to me that on many days, it's just a job. A job like any other, you show up, you go through the motions, you get paid.

I guess we find this disturbing because spiritual work should be real, not faked.

But isn't your work spiritual?

I know doctors, lawyers, waiters and insurance brokers who are honestly and truly passionate about what they do. They view it as an art form, a calling, and an important (no, an essential) thing worth doing.

In fact, I don't think there's a relationship between what you do and how important you think the work is. I think there's a relationship between who you are and how important you think the work is.

Life's too short to phone it in.
Now the insight that I gained from thinking about these two posts and relating them to my life. These are questions that I'm trying to honestly answer for myself. And the answers are enabling me to see things at my office and in my life very differently.
  • Am I afraid to be present, to live my own life, to show up when in counts--to the point that I am missing out on blessings (Seth Godin calls them "important and achievable paths open to us") and the direction that God would have me move?
  • Am I focusing too much on urgent, "important" things that aren't really that important in the long run? For example, will God ask me how many emails were in my In Box when I left work that day -- or will He want to know how I treated my colleagues, customers, friends, the waitress at lunch, the attendant at the gas station, etc?
  • Who am I? And how does that knowledge affect how I view my work and perform my daily tasks? If I am not viewing my work as spiritual, what can I do to change that?
  • Do I fear feeling too much, getting too involved with others? Do I hold back compliments that would help someone else feel Heavenly Father's love? (This is an on-going struggle for me. See "Never Suppress A Generous Thought.")

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