I tend to be a people-pleaser. Its not that I actually please many people. That’s for them to determine. But I try. And because I do, I wind up saying “yes” to too many things: social plans, lunch invites, projects, leadership roles. On top of that add the usual family responsibilities and work requirements.
And then, every time an e-mail, text, or Twitter flies through cyberspace and lands on my mobile device of choice, I of course have to attend to that. I’m learning that productivity is not the result of doing many things but in doing fewer things. Maybe even “one” thing.
I’ve always been fascinated by a statement the Apostle Paul made. He said, “This one thing I do …” Can you say that? Can you sum up your life focus by saying “This is the one thing I’m about …”?
Maybe we fill up our lives with too many distractions in hopes that we’ll hit something that takes off. That we’ll get something right. Really, its a bit daunting to think I can narrow my focus to one thing that is my life’s pursuit, isn’t it? I mean, what if I get it wrong? But one thing’s for sure: aim at nothing and you’re sure to hit it.
I think our big problem is that we want everything now. We live in an age of instant-gratification. And yet, the people who have made the biggest impact seem to know what they are aiming at and work, sometimes for years, to hit their mark. Think Edison, Bell, Gates, Jobs.
Then think about Jesus. He came to preach the kingdom of God. That’s what he did. And 2000 years later his teachings are still being heard. He has made arguably the biggest impact on our world by focusing on one task. So today instead of saying “yes” to everything that comes your way, why not find a quiet place and begin some work on discovering your “one” thing. Ask these questions:
- What is it I find I’m good at?
- What is it I’m good at that from start to finish I enjoy?
- If I were to ask my closest friends what it is they see as my “life story/statement,” what would they say? (And maybe it would be a good exercise to actually interview a few of them.)
- What do I want people to remember me for someday?
Jot your answers down. Reflect on them. Find your “one thing.” Then get up everyday and create ways to live it out.
See if you can move past being a people-pleaser to being a person of impact.
Photo credit: Andre Chinn (Creative Commons)