What makes you you? When someone says to you, “Tell me about yourself,” what do you say? Are you the profession you chose? Are you the organizations that you belong to? Or are you your ethnicity? What is it that you allow to define yourself?
Many people assume their identity stems from who they believe they are, and many take their identity from external realities. When asked what they do, they respond, “I am an architect.” Or “I am a dentist.” By responding that way, they allow their profession to define them.
Others define themselves by the organizations they are part of. They may say, “I am the NRA.” Or “Once a Marine, always a Marine.” I think it’s great to be part of organizations. God made people to be relational, so it is perfectly fine to be part of organizations. But when people allow organizations to define them to the point of giving them their identity, then that becomes a problem.
Then there are others who allow themselves to be defined by their ethnicity. They may describe themselves as Scottish, or Chinese, or African (all three of those ethnicities live in my house), and I think it’s great to be proud of your ethnic heritage. But when your ethnicity defines who you are, then you lose your identity to your national origin.
So how should you think about your identity? Here are three principles to guide your thinking in that context.
God wants you to be someone who is comfortable with your own identity. You should be who you are. And more importantly, you should not be who you are not.
While it may seem obvious on the surface, that is not the norm with most people. As Henry David Thorough wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” They don’t know who they are, so they don’t know who they should be. They try to fit into molds created by other people, only to find that they don’t fit.
That is a sad way to live. In fact, that’s not really living. That’s just existing. And it doesn’t allow God to use the one life that you have to the fullest.
Life is meant to be an adventure. God wants you to trust that He knows how to fully actualize you. But that requires putting total faith in God to help you reveal who you are, and not try to fit someone else’s mold for you.
Oscar Wilde reputedly said to “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” While that may seem funny, it can be uncomfortably insightful to many. Because it requires that you must first know who you are.
If you have tried to fit into the molds that others have made for you, then here are three things you can do to step into your own identity.
What words do you think of when you think of business? Do you think of words like money, performance, results, control, and fear? Or do you think of words like honor, team, relationship, connection, and fun? Most likely you associate business with the first list of words. But if Bob Hasson and Danny Silk have their way, you will link business with the second list of words.
Hasson and Silk have co-written a seminal work with The Business of Honor. As soon as I saw the promotional information his publicist sent me about the book, I knew that I had to read it. I had high expectations about this book, and I was not disappointed. Whether you are a business leader, a ministry leader, or a leader in your home, you will benefit from reading this book.
After reading The Business of Honor, I had the opportunity to interview Bob Hasson. Here are excerpts from the interview, complemented by my thoughts.
I recently came across a Bible study I had done more than 20 years into character traits of elders and deacons. My study showed what the Lord would require of those who aspired to those offices. At the time I did this study, I had not yet become an elder in my church. But I sure aspired to be one. And Scripture said that was a good thing (1 Timothy 3:1). So I took these Scriptures as an assignment: to develop the character traits these offices would require. I sought to know what I needed to be—and what I shouldn’t be. And I also wanted to know what I should do—and what I shouldn’t do. So I compiled a list.
Mind you, these were aspirational affirmations. They were not necessarily all true statements about myself. But I wanted them all to be true about me.
I hope you find this list useful for developing the right character traits and weeding out the wrong ones in your own life.
No one likes to be criticized. It’s not fun to be told what you did wrong. But criticism is exactly what we need to hear to get better.
If you were taking a college writing course and got glowing remarks every time you turned in a paper, those remarks might make you feel good at first. But if the remarks became a consistent trend, they would begin to ring hollow. As a result of the consistently positive feedback, you would eventually realize that you weren’t getting any feedback that would help you improve. You would sense that you needed some constructive criticism to help you get better.
While not all criticism is constructive, it can be received in that way. But that requires that you look at criticism in the right way. Here are three steps to deal with criticism and make it work for you.
God has a plan for your future (Jeremiah 29:11). He has a plan that He would like for you to follow because you have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). And He wants you to pursue that plan. But first it is up to you to find out what that purposeful destiny is.
God is still the potter and you are still the clay (Isaiah 64:8). It is His will that you are here to fulfill. But if you delight yourself in the Lord, then He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). Because your desires will be His desires.
God knows you intimately. He even knows the number of hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7). And He knows the way that would be best for you to follow (Proverbs 22:6). So His plan for your life is the perfect one for you.
Here are 15 questions you can use to determine what God has planned for your purposeful destiny here on earth.
Integrity is important for your leadership. It is important for you to be the same person all the time, especially if you are running a business. The people in your charge are relying on you to display the kind of character that is necessary to produce a healthy business culture. That’s why it is imperative that you exhibit business leadership integrity.
You can’t afford to be one kind of person at the workplace and one kind of person at home. That is not integrity. That is compartmentalization. And that will sabotage your business culture.
Here are three disciplines to implement to maintain business leadership integrity and develop a healthy business culture.
What you expect will come your way. It is a biblical principle: you will become whatever you believe in your heart (Proverbs 23:7). You won’t be able to change your life until you change your self-talk.
Fear and faith are two opposite concepts. But they both are self-fulfilling. Both imply a belief system that will support their fulfillment.
You have a choice to make. You can either choose to listen to faith or listen to fear. What you listen to will determine how you think. And how you act. And what you say.
Here are three ways you can change your life by changing your self-talk.
You walk into work on a Friday morning, thinking about all that you have to do that day and what you want to do that weekend. Soon after you get in, your boss calls you into his office. After you sit down, he tells you that you no longer have a job at that organization because your services are no longer needed there. He then informs you that you need to pack up your desk by the end of the day. And for the rest of the day you think through how a job loss will impact your financial situation.
Can you relate to this? This is a difficult experience to go through. You have to fight thoughts of worthlessness and worry. Because a job loss feels like an attack on your identity. But it shouldn’t be.
You are not your job. You are not what you do. Because you can change what you do. And a job loss can be a great blessing if you look at it the right way.
After a job loss, you can move forward and not just move on. Here’s how.
Have you ever marveled at how some people can persevere through anything? They seem to be able to plow through any obstacle to achieve their goals. Ever wondered why? It’s because they have the power of courageous commitment.
I know some people have a self-confidence that borders on cockiness. But the power of courageous commitment doesn’t have to be based on our own sense of self-importance. In fact, it should be grounded on a firm belief of who God is and what He has called you to do.
Here are some examples from Scripture to show that you too can appropriate the power of courageous commitment.