Over the past few months my work has shifted. It may have come gradually, but the effects feel immediate and the contrasts blink neon before me. Where once I was primarily a book reviewer and a freelance editor, I am now a project manager, a graphic designer and a marketing lead. The book reviews and novel consultations have all but ceased. Now I manage stats, create editorial calendars, build flyers and brands and regular communications.
Wait — what? How did all this happen?
Well, you remember the humanitarian organization I accidentally started over the summer? That exploded like I never could have dreamed. I am now a formal abolitionist. I am the Co-Founder and the Director of Media and Publicity for Justice Network. (Or something like that. We haven’t chosen official titles yet.)
But that’s not all. I am also the Managing Editor and Web Master for our church blog, an initiative begun in January, but launched in September.
While I miss diving into the editing of a client’s manuscript, I am thoroughly enjoying these new roles. They have taught me a few things about myself.
What have I learned?
- I’m a perfectionist.
- Passion frequently leads me to dive head-first into projects.
- I am an absolutely terrible boss … for myself.
It turns out that I am really, really good at managing projects and people. I know how to organize components into logical and seamless fashion. I am an encourager. I find strengths in people and help them to embrace those gifts within themselves. I do all of these great things for other people … but fail to do them for myself.
The HGC blog, for example, has already blown away my own blog stats. I’ve been around for seven years. It’s been around for only two months. Oh, and it’s had no publicity or concerted marketing efforts. The same person (me) is managing both, so why the drastic difference?
Because I encourage and manage and direct others, but I do none of that for myself. I insist on quality and consistency for them, but not for me. The fruit is obvious!
Sometimes being your own boss sucks. Sometimes being your own boss means you have no boss at all. I give myself passes. I convince myself that no one really cares if I do this or not; besides, I’m nothing special anyway. Why beat myself up to get it right?
I can’t be the only person who does this. I can’t be the only one who builds others up and helps them succeed while slowly, effectively sabotaging self.
And it’s so silly. God has already prepared the work for me.
“For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for goodworks that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.” — Ephesians 2:10
It’s all there, ready and waiting. The results are in His hands. All I have to do is … do it! The benefit of doing it, of course, is not because He needs me, but because He loves me and wants to bless me through my obedience that He might be glorified. Only good stuff will come from this and yet … And yet I falter.
How do we fix this?
Good question. I don’t exactly know, but I have some ideas.
1. Know who you are and who you’re not.
I am a child of God who has been granted spiritual and natural gifts for the purpose of edifying others and glorifying Him. I know what those gifts are and need to stand tall in them. I need to employ them to the greatest capacity possible.
I am not a failure. I am not a mistake. I have not come here — to this time, place or opportunity –by accident.
2. Know to what you have been called.
This is a tough one, because I don’t always know what that is. We so often measure success by results, but God measures success by faithfulness. That means that in spite of what will be, I need to persevere in what is. Admitting that we don’t always know the plan is a great step toward humility. In that humility God can accomplish great things through us and, at the proper time, exalt us for His glory (1 Peter 5:6).
While I may not be convinced of the specific details of my calling, I do know the general direction. Teaching. Writing. Encouragement. I also know clearly to what I have not been called. I am not called to politics. I am not called to music or theater or children’s ministries.
3. Get a boss.
Once we know who we are, who we’re not and to what we’ve been called, we can set goals and move toward them. If you have trouble being your own boss (like I do), get a boss. Find someone or a group of someones to keep you accountable. Tell them your goals and give them permission to nag you about it. Then report to them. Don’t make it all their responsibility; these are your dreams and ambitions. If you want to succeed, you have to take the first steps.
TALK TO ME: Do you do this, too? What strategies do you employ to keep yourself motivated toward your callings and ambitions?