“Did he care what people thought of him? Maybe. But not enough to keep him from doing what was right.”*
If your life is going to have a dramatic impact on others, on your community, or especially on your culture, you would want the same to be said of you.
There are crossroads that each of us will come to where we know what we should do, see that no one else is doing it, know people will think we are nuts, and have to decide if we are going to do it anyway.
The single factor that stops so many would-be great leaders is that they know others will think less of them. Then they stand down. They conform. They take the one thing that is truly unique about themselves and tuck it away on a shelf, because they know that it is so new and so unique that initially, people won’t know what to do with it. That makes people uncomfortable. When you make people uncomfortable they don’t like it and therefore don’t like you. Just ask Jesus.
How passionate are you about doing what you know to be right? Can you take the heat, the criticism, even the mockery? If you can, the sky’s the limit. You might very well be the one to revolutionize your industry, your ministry, your community, or even your family.
*This quote was said about Dr. Emil J. Freireich, a now renowned physician who risked everything from his reputation to his career to implement groundbreaking new practices in the treatment of childhood leukemia. You will be able to read his amazing story in my upcoming post.
Two men, doing the same thing, at the same place and at the same time.
One of those men is perfectly content. Actually, he is more than content. He is enjoying himself thoroughly and could continue doing exactly what he is doing for hours.
The other man, however, does not look content at all. In fact, if you were to sneak up behind him and listen carefully, you would hear him mutter some very choice words in relation to his thoughts on his current task.
One is angry and being drained. The other has a big smile on his face and is being uplifted. The task is cutting thousands of feet of ribbon into one foot strips.
The only difference between the two men and what they are doing is the reason for which they are doing it.
That is the power of purpose.
This is not a fictitious scenario. I know, because I was the one who was smiling. The individual across from me was a man named Jared.
We were at a place called Watered Gardens Rescue Mission, where I volunteer and where the poor and homeless can come in and earn many of life’s necessities.
Jared was annoyed because he was not accustomed to having to work for what he receives. To him, spending 2 hours cutting ribbon was merely an obstacle between he and the 4 items of clothing he would receive at the end of those two hours.
To me, I was doing something of significance. Cutting the ribbon was incidental. I was helping others get their lives back on track. Teaching them how to become productive members of society. Some have no interest in learning or growing, but many are sick of the homeless life and are ready to move forward.
Those are the ones who transform something as monotonous as cutting ribbon into something that gives you genuine joy.
That is the power of purpose.
This scenario is no different than the everyday work place.You and I show up at work and go home that night either feeling empty and drained, or feeling like we have accomplished something of significance.
Purpose is the reason you are treated so differently at Chick Fil-A than you are at McDonalds. It is the reason flight attendants on Southwest Airlines make you laugh when they do the pre-flight demonstration and you pay attention. Whereas with every other airline, you do your best to tune them out.
Purpose has the power to transform a monotonous task like cutting ribbon into something fulfilling and enriching.
You, as a leader, have the power to create a sense of purpose for those you lead, just like the founders of the aforementioned companies have famously done.
There is fast food. Then there is Chick Fil-A. There are airlines. Then there is Southwest. What distinguishes these two businesses from every other one in their industry is the reason they do what they do.