Tag Archives: Assessment

Is Your Success Stunting Your Growth?


When you’re starting out in something new, you are painfully aware of your shortcomings and faults. You see your mistakes. You realize that there is so much that you don’t know. It can be an overwhelming and discouraging feeling that makes you quit or it can be the fertile ground that breeds productive action for a good leader. When you’re unsure, you ask more questions, study longer and harder and practice with more intentionality.

But something happens over time. As a friend of mine says, “The game slows down.” Like a major league slugger, you see the curveball coming, you know where the strike zone is, you get more confident in your ability to impact the game. If you do well, there may even be those who come alongside you to applaud your efforts. You may be financially rewarded to the point that you can pursue your aspirations and enjoy things that make you more comfortable—the extra cable channels, the trips to the massage parlor or salon, the extended lunch breaks, the trips out of town. Enjoying the fruit of a job well done is no sin and should be done within reason. However, I have observed in myself and others that even the slightest tint of success can cause us to become blind to the many areas where we need to improve.

Success in one area of life can even validate the idea that “whatever I’m doing must be working,” which is a dangerous conclusion to land at. In anything, success is often a product of timing and context as much as it is the result of any one person’s individualized efforts. The classic example is the man or woman who is excelling at work but failing at home. But what about the other ways that success in one area masks underlying issues of character development or obedience to God?

Don’t let success blind you to the things you know you need to work on. At the end of the day, we all stand before God and will give an account to Him.


A Few Questions Worth Answering…

Who Am I? – This is a question of IDENTITY.
Who I am is not what I do or what I have. Who I am is a gift from my Maker. Until this issue is properly settled, your actions, experiences and reception from others will rule you. Once this issue is settled, you finally find the freedom to live.

What do I have? – This is a question of INVENTORY
What Spiritual and Natural Gifts, Skills, Knowledge, Experiences, Expertise, Interests, Training do you have. Invest the time to take inventory of what God has put in you and allowed you to experience. Good and bad—ALL of these things are part of your story and your story can end good if you love God and have been called according to His purpose. Take inventory because what you have is all you need to take the next step.

Who can I be helpful to? – This is a question of ASSIGNMENT

Look at your unique design to discover what you can do to serve others. Then consider the people who need you. Trust God that they are out there because He would not have made you as He did if He didn’t have purpose in mind.

What do I want to see? – This is a question of VISION
When you dream with God, what does He show you? What possibilities does He uncover in your private time with Him? Intimacy with God births vision.

What or Who will I sacrifice for? This is a question of PASSION
There is an idea or person or vision that you will prefer above your own comfort and convenience. You will stay up late for it and get up early for it. You’ll read when you don’t have to and listen when others won’t. That thing is your passion and your passion unlocks your compassion. Compassion is passion for an idea, person or vision combined with action calculated to support that  idea, person or vision. Your passion in action is satisfaction.

Who do I know and who knows me? – This is a question of NETWORKING
Relationships are a two-way street in which “ship” — cargo is shared as people “relate” to one another. Be measured in showing people who you are but don’t be afraid. Some will not understand. Others will mock. None of that matters. What matters is the few people God will allow to surround you who believe in you and whom you believe in. The purpose of these relationships is to partner with one another on the path to destiny. Like an adventurer on a long journey home, you will meet lots of interesting characters in your story. Some will stay too long and with some, it won’t seem long enough but the key is that you are on a journey. You have a destination to arrive at and the journey is fitting you for the destination. You are becoming.

Where am I? – This is a question of ASSESSMENT
C.S. Lewis has skillfully articulated the idea that one of the many facets of humans that the animal kingdom does not share is the ability to step outside of ourselves to evaluate ourselves. There is a consciousness that we can get to through which we look over our own lives and ask, “No, really, where AM I?” I’d like to tell you that the key is to be objective but objectivity is a myth. Everything is subjected to one’s own viewpoint of the world. No, the real answer to the “Where am I?” question can only be found by asking someone who knows. Consider this brief illustration: An unexperienced skipper is on a small boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. He has no map but he does have a cell phone. Using a satellite, the watch tower has pinpointed his direction and tells him exactly where he is and where he should go next. If the skipper is wise, he will heed the words of the watch tower as to where he is and what steps he should take next.

Remove the allegory and place you and God in the story and it becomes clear that the “where” question is not best answered by the unexperienced skipper with no map.