How to Know When You’ve Finally Arrived
An excerpt follows from the e-book, "At Work as it is in Heaven: 25 Ways to re-imagine the Spiritual Purpose of Your Work."
I once heard a story about Henry Kissinger falling asleep in the middle of a very important meeting. Everyone noticed, but no one dared say anything because he was such a highly respected diplomat.
The moment he came to, upon picking up the few fragments of sentences that were being discussed in mid-conversation, he immediately interrupted the group with some blinding insight.
I try not to fall asleep in meetings, whether I am making the presentation, or receiving one. Because, unlike Henry Kissinger, I am very concerned about what people think of me, and I want to make sure I come across as sharp and capable and prepared and on the ball. I guess I haven’t achieved enough yet in my career that would allow me such unguarded self-possession.
But that story sure puts things in perspective. Here is a man so self-assured as to doze off in the middle of some high-powered meeting. “What’s the difference?” he’s thinking. “I am smarter than these people, and I know what the end result is going to look like anyway. My time is better spent in a snooze.”
Such admirable bravado!
I decided that Mr. Kissinger was an inspiring role model. If only I could be so well-respected, unquestionably smart, and insightful! In fact, his example would be a good benchmark for success. Better yet, why not make it a goal? Yes! This is how I will know when I have finally arrived in my career: I can fall asleep during a meeting without giving a rip, because everyone knows that even in my sleep, I am a valuable team member.
Not that this would actually ever happen in my lifetime. But it did get me thinking about success, and the possibility of nailing down a version of what success ultimately might look like for me.
Most of us view our lives as a series of plateaus to climb—when we have accomplished one thing, we start looking for the next. So our idea of “success” is a moving target, and in that case there is no true sense of arrival. On the other hand, scripture tells us to look to God, be content in what we are doing, stop striving (look at the lilies of the field!), and rest in the Lord. Also, remain humble, put others first, and submit to God’s will.
Well, that’s all spiritually agreeable, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying, stop dreaming, stop reaching.
I started fishing around for a better definition of success (without a sleep reference), one that can integrate my desire for spiritual fulfillment right alongside my ambition and desire for achievement. Here is what I came up with:
“Achieving my full potential while fully surrendering to God.”
What do you think?
Works for me.
Post by J.B. Wood, Executive, Work Editor for The High Calling, and blogger at Shrinking the Camel. His e-book, "At Work as it is in Heaven" is available for Kindle or Nook. If you don't have an e-reader, you can download a FREE Kindle reading app for your Mac, PC, tablet or smartphone.