I think most of us have had a desire to achieve a level of recognition at some point in our lives. Whether in our personal relationships, business endeavors, or community involvement we cherish moments of praise or honor. Whatever your definition of success, we can all agree that we feel accomplished in these moments. These moments, however, can be a blessing and a curse.
It's probably safe to say that the average person doesn't set out to be the worst at what they seek to do. If you have kids, you want to be the best parent you can be. If you're an accountant, you want to be the best. If you're a leader of an organization you want your organization to thrive. All of these are great desires, these are respectable aspirations.
As a family man and a leader I want to lead my family and my business to succeed in every way possible. Seeing my wife and kids achieve their goals is tremendously rewarding. Landing that big client or closing a deal is tremendously rewarding. The downside is when our identity becomes so wrapped up in these facets of ourselves that these pursuits become, in a sense, objects of worship or idols.
Let me unpack this a bit. If you're the CEO of an organization, many people will know you as the boss. Maybe you post videos about business and get some recognition. You make some good investment choices and now you're gaining confidence. You've fully embraced being "the man". Then the company takes a downturn, a few deals fall through, or the stock market takes a hit. Suddenly your spotlight fades and the title, that held so much value to you, is now gone. What are you to do? For many in this position the answer to that question leads to dark places such as depression, drug abuse, even suicide.
To speak from my own experience, I saw the title as validation. People calling me by the title gave me credibility that I desired, mainly because I wasn't secure in myself. When I couldn't live up to the title the fear of losing the credibility drove me to fake it until finally I couldn't take it anymore. For my own integrity I chose to quit. The aftermath was painful. It took me to dark places internally. Thankfully, the process taught me some things about myself and gave me a new sense of security in who I am without a title. Just me! Just Anthony! Yes I'm a husband. Yes, I am a father. Yes, I am a leader. But these things are not my identity they are only facets of it.
You see, when we let a title become an idol and we don't know who we are, we risk losing ourselves in the process. Our reason for doing what we do then becomes about survival and maintaining our position but the passion is lost. Whatever we stand to gain in our endeavors is not worth the cost of what's at stake if these endeavors fail.
So what's the solution? The answer is simple but the journey not so much. Self-awareness is key! Spend time getting in touch with who you are, your dreams, your passions, your desires, and your reasons for doing what you do. Ask yourself why you desire that which you desire, ask yourself why you want to walk the path you're walking, ask yourself why your goals are what they are. Secondly, audit you circle. Surround yourself with people who will be honest with you, people who know you for you, not your achievements, people who care enough to be honest with you if you start to stray from your vision. Communicate your passion well with those around you. Be honest, be vulnerable, and be authentic. Most of all, be yourself! Nobody can be you like you can be you!
Anthony currently serves as a co-host on The Alliance Podcast at boldcupofcoffee.com, a public speaker and author.
Anthony had a 15 year love affair with heroin addiction and spent time in prison. An encounter with God, one night, radically changed his life. Since that evening Anthony has had a desire and passion to serve the LORD and spread the message of the goodness of God wherever he goes. Using Biblical insight, his experience, and street knowledge, his heart to reach people in all areas of society. Anthony’s desire is to see those in bondage set free from anything that holds them back from all that God has for them and to build people up into the fullness of that purpose, while manifesting the Kingdom of God in their everyday lives.
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