Are You Living The Story?

I love what I do! I love to tell others about what I do! I get to go to work every day and use my business to try to impact people all around me for eternity! I have the privilege and opportunity to mentor and teach what I believe is Truth to everyone who works in our company. I get to work with people of like mind and overcome the challenges inherent in living and running a business from a Christian perspective! I really do love what I do, but I have a problem.

living

Background

Before I disclose the problem, let me tell you how I discovered it. At a Catalyst conference, I had the surprise of hearing a potent message from someone that I had never heard of before. The speaker’s name was Eugene Cho, pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, WA and founder of an incredible organization called One Day’s Wages. You really need to take a look at what this organization does!

The message that Cho gave was very simple, but extremely powerful! He talked about how our nation is one of abundant resources. Our families are extremely wealthy in relation to the rest of the world. We have basic amenities that the rest of the world considers luxuries.

He went on to explain how we have an incredible capacity for ideas and creativity. The problem he sees with all of this is that we are in danger of being more in love with the ideas than with the actions that should result from them!

…we are in danger of being more in love with the ideas than with the actions that should result from them!
-Eugene Cho

Telling vs. Living

Let’s take a closer look at what this means. How is this evident in our daily lives? For an example, think about how social media has exploded with people telling stories to everyone that will listen. Every day, people talk and talk about what is going on around them – sharing the stories with their friends and coworkers.

We all love a good story, whether we are telling it or hearing it! The problem, as Cho put it, is that too many are busy telling the story and not enough people are living a good story!

Look at this picture of an actual sign that reflects this very problem!

I Am Guilty

So, what does this have to do with my problem? I think I have the very problem that Cho described. While I may not have a terminal case of it, I can certainly see symptoms of it in my life.

Too often, I enjoy telling the story about what I am doing in trying to integrate my faith into our business. Too often, I like to learn about new ways to run our business according to our Christian faith. Too often, I am in love with the story of a Christian business.

The problem is that too often, I am not taking action to make it happen!

My Commitment

As a result of this message from Eugene Cho, I am committing to:

(1) Quit just telling the story
(2) Quit just loving the story
(3) Make more effort to be actually living the story!

In my life and in our company, I am going to make more of an effort to address the gaps between ideas and actions! I am going to close these gaps and take more action. I will continue to tell this story on this blog, but I will make more of an effort to describe actions rather than just ideas. I am committed to living the story!

I hope this makes sense to you. If so, I encourage you to do the same.

What are the gaps between your ideas and actions?

Are you comfortable with how you are living your story?

What are you going to do about it?

[Original post date – October 24, 2011]

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Wow, that’s pretty powerful. I know I’m in the same boat. I love learning and talking about living your life to bring God glory, but often I’m not putting my own ideas into action the way I should.

  • Michael Dodaro

    Great point and very funny graphic illustration.

  • Great blog today CP.  Thanks for challenging us to merge faith and work!

    • Thanks Randy. It’s no Ultra-Marathon, but it’s what I do!

      I appreciate you reading!

  • Anonymous

    Great post, so glad I took time to read; and then connect with you on fb.

    • Thanks Richard! I hope you find it worth continuing to read. I look forward to your comments and feedback!

  • It’s super tempting to love someone else’s story.  Or to get caught up in talking about a story rather than living one.  Great reminder to this concept.  We should be out there living stories, not just talking about them, or watching them.

    • Seth, that is so true!

      I am a movie lover and I have found that there are times that I crave a movie…somewhat as an escape from my own story! I see this more often when my own story is not going so well!

      I am determined not to let someone else’s story (even fiction!) or the telling of my own story trump my living of the story! I know I will falter, but I am committed to keep getting up and going at it again!

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  • This is key message I picked up in your blog post. “The problem, as Cho put it, is that too many are busy telling the story and not enough people are living a good story!”I did some mirror gazing and found I am guilt of the same. I believe I am great speaker, motivator, and inspirational leader to many in corporate America. And that is my cop out because I could be more to a larger audience. I plan… I plan…. I plan… and then I plan. The action part never shows up. I feel fear, lack of courage, and the fright of failing to a point that I will not recover should I truly take a risk and do what I believe I am good at doing in a safe environment like 9 to 5 America.How can I escape my fear and go forward with action on my talents?? That is my million dollar question and I am looking for solid input. Thank you.

    • Spencer, I completely understand your frustration!  I have read and reread your comment, last night and again this morning, to carefully consider how to answer you.

      Here is what I have, though you must keep in mind that I certainly do not have it all figured out!

      I have been to your blog and found some very good material.  You are obviously very intelligent and you are likely not fooling yourself when you say you are good at what you are doing now.  But I understand that you feel your problem is a fear of failure if you try to take it to the next level and fail.  The over-planning is most likely your defense mode, actually helping you avoid action.

      I have a couple of thoughts.  First, I hear Jim Collins speak a couple of weeks ago at Catalyst conference in Atlanta.  He was talking about his new book, Great by Choice.  In his message, he talked about a situation where someone has limited resources, but wants to take a huge shot at something risky.  

      He compared the situation to being on a ship with a cannon, limited gunpowder, some cannonballs, and some small bullets.  You need to hit a specific target with the cannonball, but you need virtually all of the gunpowder to take just one shot, giving you no ability to gauge the distance and wind and make adjustments for a follow up shot.

      He suggested instead to use a very small amount of gunpowder to fire the bullets, one after another, until you have correctly gauged the distance and wind for a direct hit.  Then take the rest of the gunpowder and fire the cannonball for a direct hit!

      The idea is that you take small, testing actions toward this “next level” in your career.  Use the feedback you get to determine the right target.  Once you have gained confidence that you are “on target”, then you fire the cannonball.  This way, you do not bet the farm on the first shot.  Does that make sense to you?

      The second thought is that your wife loves you and obviously supports your efforts.  She seems to be behind you regardless of success or failure.  Better than that, God is there and will never leave you nor forsake you, regardless of business or career failure!  

      My Dad asked me one time, when I was seeking advice on what I thought was a huge work problem, “What is the absolute worst that can happen?”  After several of my attempts of answering his question with my imagined worst-case scenarios, he answered, “No, the worst that could happen is that you die and go to Hell!  Is that possible for you?”  

      When I told him that I was certain I am going to heaven, he said, “You have the worst-case covered.  Don’t worry about the rest of it!”

      I don’t know your answer to the question he asked me, but you need to know it.  If you are not worried about that outcome, then don’t worry about the rest of it!  God is faithful…He will never abandon you.

      Sorry for the novel.  I hope I helped in a small way.  I am praying for you.

  • Bradley J Moore

    GREAT post, and that must have been a great speaker. It’s funny that it’s such a simple, obvious concept, yet we are so floored by it (Well, Duh! ). I have always admitted the struggle at work to live every minute as a spiritually connected leader. I forget a lot. But then again, doing good work in an of itself can be the act of worship, of glorifying God. It doesn’t necessarily have to look a certain way in order to make it spiritual. The living is the doing.  And that alone is a Big Idea, isn’t it?

  • Bradley J Moore

    PS, I love that warning sign.

    • Yeah, I really got a chuckle out of that one!

  • We are in love with our ideas, more than our action. 
    For me, I am all about the big picture, but not so good with the details. Bridging that gap is a lifetime pursuit.

    • Lifetime pursuit is right!

      If you figure it out first, let me know.

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  • The gaps between my ideas and actions come because of a lack of confidence mostly. I often feel like I have a lot of good ideas but that my introverted personality results in me getting overlooked most of the time. To a certain extent, that’s okay since I am a writer and can express my ideas in my writing, which turns them into action. But, does that matter so much if few (or no) people read it? And, if I teach or write on the ideas I have but no one takes action, does that mean my ideas are still just ideas without action? Or, have I done my part by teaching and writing (action) even though that action doesn’t impact much? So no, I’m not comfortable with how I’m living my story. I feel ineffective most of the time, but then I think that I’m concerned too much with what others do with the ideas they gain from my action. What am I going to do about it? I still truly feel that I am supposed to write and teach even though I feel ineffective. I am supposed to do what I am led to do with my ideas (put them into action) and not focus on what others then do with the ideas they’re given. Am I making any sense? It’s a definite inner struggle for me.

    • Kari, I am sorry for the delay, but I have read your comments several times in order to formulate a well-thought-out response. Here’s what I have…

      First of all, you are going to be held accountable with what you have done with the talents and resources you have been given. I do not believe you are accountable for what is done with your teaching IF you have taught, written, etc. what God has placed on your heart. Read Ezekiel 33:1-6 for an example.

      Second, I think it is your responsibility to spread your teaching, writing, etc. in every way you have at your disposal, to the extent God has placed on your heart. Practically, I think this means you are to work to increase the area or size of the impact of your writing, teaching, etc. according to the resources you have.

      If you have a platform that reaches only your own family and that is God’s will for you for now, then give your family all you can give them in teaching. That is a HUGE responsibility and should never be shirked OR undervalued.

      If your platform reaches hundreds of people, then give them the best you have and they are responsible for what they do with what you have taught.

      If you have the ability to grow your platform over time through diligent prayer and hard work, then do that. Pray as Jabez did for greater territory.

      Whatever the case, do NOT discount your abilities, your message, or the current size of your audience. Give all you have to the spread of your God-given message and let Him do the rest. This is perfectly illustrated in the Parable of the Talents – Matthew 25:14-30.

      I appreciate your internal struggle. Just remember, 2 Timothy 1:7…any fear or timidity is not from God. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and He has incredible plans for you and your impact if you are faithful. Jeremiah preached for 40 years as God led and he never had a convert…but he was faithful.

      Stay the course!

      • No need to apologize for the delay in answering, Chris. I really appreciate the time you took to consider your reply first. That means a lot. It’s so easy to undervalue a “small” platform, especially as a writer. I see so many successful writers and make the mistake of defining my success in comparison. But you’re right, even an audience of one person is enough. In fact, if writing is how God grows my relationship with Him and that’s the only relationship affected (it won’t be, I know), then that is enough too. The heaviness on my heart with writing is mostly on the responsibility you talked about with doing what I feel led to do as far as increasing my area of impact. That is as clear as mud to me on some days. One thing I know is that God makes the opportunities happen. Anytime I’ve forced them, I’ve gotten overwhelmed and overloaded. When He’s forced them, they’ve been tremendous blessings. I need to stay the course, that’s the conclusion I’ve come to on this topic. Waiting is hard, that’s for sure.