Rise Above Mediocrity – 5 Steps to Create Your Masterpiece

When we create in life the world is changed.

Jeffrey Steele, singer/song writer, leaned back from the microphone to hear about a hundred voices gain strength as his faded, still strumming his guitar.  He smiled and listened as they sang his lyrics back to him in a hushed voice:

What hurts the most
Was being so close
And having so much to say
And watching you walk away
And never knowing
What could have been
And not seeing that loving you
Is what I was trying to do

The song made famous by Rascal Flatts was written by Jeffrey Steele. He sang it at a YMCA benefit at Puckett’s with BWSC in Nashville last Sunday night. I saw in that moment how his creativity, in this case, his song, his creation, filled him with joy as he heard others sing his song back to him.

When we create in life the world is changed. We are fulfilled as we hear the world sing back our song. Reflecting on the satisfaction in Jeffrey Steele’s smile I thought of the times when I have been most creative in my work; the design of new systems, authoring, leading new teams, taking a step of faith.

Yet, honestly, in the workplace rarely is individuality and creativity expected or encouraged. Yes, with Apple and other standouts we recognize it in product design and function. But in professional service companies and many other organizations we seem to reach only to the expectation of the client or leader, rarely do we dare go higher.

We must learn to encourage the creative in our work. Creativity rises above expectations to bring something new to life.  It brings something new or something old in new way. A creative solution can deliver profit and new products by finding new paths that take fewer resources and less time. New paradigms are an act of creation.  When we each work with creativity something unique from our God-given ability and our life experience is birthed. Michael Hyatt frequently says it so well; we each bring our unique experiences and gifts to every endeavor.  In so doing something entirely new is added to the world.

Here are five steps to bring about your creative ability in the workplace:

1. Live beyond your chosen profession. Realize you are not defined by your profession. No profession or career can capture all the diverse talents,temperaments, and soul of each person. David in the Bible was not just defined by his Kingly role; he was creative; a psalmist, a lover of God, a warrior, and architect.  He was a renaissance man!

2. Live beyond the expectations of others. Many including those most close to us do not know our future, just our past.

3. Live beyond the expectations of the current task. Many of our endeavors require a modest effort to succeed but when we imagine something better with extra effort we can produce greatness.

4. Live above the routine. Routine and habits have benefit but if taken to extreme they stifle the creative. Change your routine by doing something you normally would not do to recharge your creative energy.

5. Live beyond the natural. Many times I have been prompted by The Lord to take a slightly different path than the expected, and following His supernatural lead, extraordinary opportunities and life experiences have been birthed.

What gives you the most satisfaction in your life, in your career, or in your family?  How is your workplace allowing creativity in your work?

Why Grace in the Marketplace?

Forever 21 prints John 3:16 on the bottom of every shopping bag (photo credit Los Angeles Times).

Forever 21 is a clothing store that was founded by Don and Jin Chang, Christians who moved to America from Korea in 1981. The small store they opened in Los Angeles in 1984 has grown into a mass business consisting of hundreds of locations across the globe.  They are lights for Jesus Christ in the marketplace.  On the bottom of each bag, shoppers will find “John 3:16,” the popular Bible verse that reads, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  This is one example of marketplace grace.  What is your example?

I wanted to write this blog to show how simple it is to follow the Lord in business.  More than a blog about leading  I wanted to offer examples about being  a follower of Christ in business.   I wanted to encourage you to be fully the Lord’s disciple in your own personal marketplace whatever your position and whatever your profession.  It’s where you are now that needs His Grace.

How do you do that?  By bringing the Spirit to the workplace as well as your soul and body.

The problem with the current business environment is that there is very little spiritual aspect to it.  There seems to be little difference in the workplace between people who know the Lord and those who do not.  The unspiritual personal behavior makes up unspiritual organizational behavior. Business vision, purpose, and strategy are articulated in secular terms.  Very few business leaders articulate business operations with a worldview that has been shaped by knowing Christ.  This leads to a “dumbed down” version of what the marketplace could be.     Christians sit silent in meetings when the Holy Spirit desires to speak through them.  As a result, our meetings can become discussions of numbers only.  We chart the progress of our organizations but the purpose of our organization remains unknown. It is all empty when compared with a business that seeks to fulfill and articulate a God ordained purpose.

The premise is that a God who changes people for the good can also change businesses for the good. If indeed the  Lord has transformed you into a “child of the Light”, then as He leads you in business, you will create products and businesses of the Light.

The solution is for you to be a child of Light wherever you are called.  I propose that you place your work into the Lord’s hands and ask Him to lead you in every part of it. The Lord has entrusted you with a position of economic influence, whether you are the CEO of an entire company or simply the CEO of your own desk.  He waits on you to give your work back to Him so that He can write a supernatural story through your life.

The benefits of allowing The Lord to lead you in the workplace are firstly, the Lord’s.  The purpose of all that we do is to bring glory to God.  The Lord will shape whatever you give him for His good purpose.  He will shape your story into His story and the success that follows will be beyond what you can hope or think.  It will be much greater than you could have accomplished without Him.

The benefit to you is that you will be fulfilled in your work as you do it for the Lord.  Our life becomes so much larger as the traditionally “secular” environments of your life give way to the Spirit and become part of your spiritual walk.  It will make your natural  and mundane 8 to 5 workday become supernatural in purpose and joy!  The greatest moments of my work life have been when I have worked hand in hand with The Lord.  So many of my testimonies of His power and grace come from the workplace.  He is waiting for that relationship with you as well.  My hope is that this blog encourages a new resolve in you to follow Christ into your marketplace.

So, follow in the footsteps of many other successful entrepreneurs and follow Christ into the marketplace.  See what God can do through you!

Rise Above Mediocrity – 5 Steps to Create Your Masterpiece

When we create in life the world is changed.

Jeffrey Steele, singer/song writer, leaned back from the microphone to hear about a hundred voices gain strength as his faded, still strumming his guitar.  He smiled and listened as they sang his lyrics back to him in a hushed voice:

What hurts the most
Was being so close
And having so much to say
And watching you walk away
And never knowing
What could have been
And not seeing that loving you
Is what I was trying to do

The song made famous by Rascal Flatts was written by Jeffrey Steele. He sang it at a YMCA benefit at Puckett’s with BWSC in Nashville last Sunday night. I saw in that moment how his creativity, in this case, his song, his creation, filled him with joy as he heard others sing his song back to him.

When we create in life the world is changed. We are fulfilled as we hear the world sing back our song. Reflecting on the satisfaction in Jeffrey Steele’s smile I thought of the times when I have been most creative in my work; the design of new systems, authoring, leading new teams, taking a step of faith.

Yet, honestly, in the workplace rarely is individuality and creativity expected or encouraged. Yes, with Apple and other standouts we recognize it in product design and function. But in professional service companies and many other organizations we seem to reach only to the expectation of the client or leader, rarely do we dare go higher.

We must learn to encourage the creative in our work. Creativity rises above expectations to bring something new to life.  It brings something new or something old in new way. A creative solution can deliver profit and new products by finding new paths that take fewer resources and less time. New paradigms are an act of creation.  When we each work with creativity something unique from our God-given ability and our life experience is birthed. Michael Hyatt frequently says it so well; we each bring our unique experiences and gifts to every endeavor.  In so doing something entirely new is added to the world.

Here are five steps to bring about your creative ability in the workplace:

1. Live beyond your chosen profession. Realize you are not defined by your profession. No profession or career can capture all the diverse talents,temperaments, and soul of each person. David in the Bible was not just defined by his Kingly role; he was creative; a psalmist, a lover of God, a warrior, and architect.  He was a renaissance man!

2. Live beyond the expectations of others. Many including those most close to us do not know our future, just our past.

3. Live beyond the expectations of the current task. Many of our endeavors require a modest effort to succeed but when we imagine something better with extra effort we can produce greatness.

4. Live above the routine. Routine and habits have benefit but if taken to extreme they stifle the creative. Change your routine by doing something you normally would not do to recharge your creative energy.

5. Live beyond the natural. Many times I have been prompted by The Lord to take a slightly different path than the expected, and following His supernatural lead, extraordinary opportunities and life experiences have been birthed.

What gives you the most satisfaction in your life, in your career, or in your family?  How is your workplace allowing creativity in your work?

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