The following was contributed by a tentmaker working in the Arab world.
In her book, Grit, Angela Duckworth presents a compelling case for why people are successful. As you might expect, she declares grit to be the decisive factor – as opposed to talent or anything else. The following quote from her book struck me:
Pitching…determines what I eat, when I go to bed, what I do when I’m wake. It determines how I spend my life when I’m not pitching. If it means I have to come to Florida and can’t get tanned because I might get a burn that would keep me from throwing for a few days, then I never go shirtless in the sun…if it means I have to remind myself to pet dogs with my left hand or throw logs on the fire with my left hand, then I do that, too. If it means in the winter I eat cottage cheese instead of chocolate chip cookies in order to keep my weight down, then I eat cottage cheese. – Tom Seaver, Hall of Fame pitcher
What if cross-cultural workers lived like this in relation to God’s calling on our lives?
If you think about your goals, your biggest goals (you should only have a few “biggest goals”), are they fully aligned with God’s calling on your life? If not, you need to scrap them. Under those big goals you should have some medium goals, and under those medium goals you will have smaller goals. If you have smaller goals that don’t aid your medium goals that don’t aid your big goals, scrap those as well!
Grit is about having the same “biggest goals” for a long time. It is about sticking it out when others are quitting all around you. It is about scrapping smaller goals that you find don’t aid your biggest goals (aka “pruning” from John 15) and trying new things in order to accomplish your biggest goal. For B4T’ers, our biggest goal is to see entire communities transformed in the name of Jesus via business.
What are your biggest goals? Are they aligned with God’s goals for your life and for His world? Are your medium and small goals helping you achieve your big goals? If not, I challenge you to scrap them and create better small and medium goals to move you in the right direction.
Lastly, Warren Buffet has reportedly given a helpful exercise to an employee of his. It goes like this:
- Write down 25 career (or long term or life-long or whatever you want to call them) goals.
- Do some soul searching and circle ONLY the top 5.
- Take a good look at the other 20, and then avoid them at all costs because you have now found the things that will distract you from the few most important things you are called to do.
Angela Duckworth said, “Any successful person has to decide what to do in part by deciding what not to do.” What things do you need to not do in order to fulfill His calling on your life?