To the untrained ear, the advice given to Jim Rohn by his mentor Earl Schoaff sounds contradictory. “Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job,” the late philosopher says with his unique cadence and tone. But listen to the words from Rohn’s mouth and you know that this man’s advice is anything but contradictory. He’s not saying you shouldn’t work hard at a job you love. The hard work comes naturally when you love what you do. What Rohn is saying is that personal development—the building and strengthening of you—is how you become better at everything else. Communication, time management, goal setting, leadership—these all improve when you do.
Theater and screen actor Michael Emerson may have uncovered the mystery to success: There is no right way. “This is one of those tricky businesses where there are a lot of intangibles and a lot of different ways of going about it.” His career may not have taken off until his 40s, but he’s making up for lost time with back-to-back TV hits: first as Ben, the memorable leader of the Others on “Lost,” and now as the mysterious billionaire Harold Finch on “Person of Interest.” Emerson says that despite the long road, “I don’t regret a moment of my stage training;” it not only taught him how to create character and deliver lines, but also provided the opportunity to develop a strong work ethic. In Emerson’s mind, the actor’s main responsibility is to deliver the words. “A lot of my work is analyzing, analyzing, analyzing the script, the text I’ve been given, the lines I have to say and thinking how they best work…how they are most real, but also the most stylized or artful.”
I’m not sure exactly how it works but it’s obvious throughout Scripture the Lord moves in seasons. There doesn’t seem to be a set formula, or predictable timeline, but it becomes evident as I lean into the Spirit of God that there are certain things He highlights at different times. There are things that are always on His heart, but there are seasons where He seems to be emphasizing or pointing at something specifically.Over the past few months I have felt that the Lord is continually bringing up the ones who have stepped away from Him–the prodigals–those who have walked with God before but are now living life away from Him. Of course, these people are always on His heart, but right now He is stirring me to pray and act upon it. Because we have a responsibility and privilege to take care of God’s heart, we must be aware of what He is thinking; and then we can partner with Him to see His desires fulfilled. It is as if I can see a picture of a family dinner where the family sits down to eat but some of the chairs remain empty. The Father is delighted about His sons and daughters who are at the table with Him but there is still a yearning in His heart to see those who are no longer there to come back to their seat. The meal will not be complete without them.
It is not complicated to understand what happened.
I had simply failed to refuel my private world.
I was leading others, just not myself.
I had totally depleted my capacity, because I had neglected to nurture my personal growth.
There’s a crucial link that exists between your ability to parent and your personal growth.
We sometimes refer to that value as “make it personal”. So maybe your challenge this week isn’t to focus on your kids, but to focus on you. What are a few things that you do that help you revive, refocus and refuel your life, so you can be better at loving and leading your kids? How do you lead yourself to grow personally?
Any time my activity takes away from my awareness of Him I need to refocus my attention on what this life is really about. I was born for relationship with my Father. I was born to live from His Presence – His Peace, that makes everything a joy rather than a labor. Any time I’m feeling anxious or troubled it is an indication I have left His Presence and I need to reassess and realign.