Posted April 9, 2020
Early in my life I remember dreaming about what I wanted to be when I grew up. For years I wanted to be an Oceanographer. Fascinated with Jacques Cousteau and the thought of living on a ship and swimming under water had me spell bound as a 10-year-old.
As I grew older, I soon realized I wasn’t going to be an Oceanographer. More importantly I learned that what I did, did not determine who I was. Rather, who I was, determined not only what I did, but how I lived every part of my life.
When I discovered my true identity, it changed how I looked at everything. The beautiful part of this discovery is that I didn’t even realize it was happening. As I began my career, it was as a press operator in a printing company. I loved it, but soon began to get hungry for more responsibility and recognition.
My co-workers would laugh, they were not interested in what seemed to them to be more headaches and hassles. To me it was another challenge, something new to master. As the years passed. It wasn’t enough to just learn more; I began to ask for more “people” responsibilities. I wanted to lead people, even the difficult ones.
I became fascinated now, not with colorful fish in faraway oceans but with colorful people that surrounded me. I was as hungry to know how people worked as I was with how machines operated. Machines could be easily mastered and figured out. But people required relationships not mastering. They needed trust and training not adjustments to belts and rollers.
This discovery of what drove me brought forth a realization about who I was. I loved machines and working with my hands, but was I loved even more was leading people. I was hungry for the challenge of problem solving and overseeing a team. More importantly, I was wanting to do this in other areas of my life. At church, with a local youth camp, a few sports teams and lots of other places as well. With these opportunities came many victories and successes.
What I discovered was that I was made to be a leader of people. I had and have lots to learn, but this was the beginning of me both discovering and embracing my identity. I began giving myself permission to lead. Where before I may have shied away, not wanting to come across as dominating or arrogant. I now looked for opportunities to lead and influence people well.
Lots of defeats and frustrations came too, but I learned and grew and developed into a higher quality leader. Taking the challenges that humbled me and using them as lesson to better me.
When I enter new situation, I am fine serving in many roles, but the role that seems to suit me best and where I am most comfortable is leading. I also have become much more intentional about developing that part of me. Reading books, finding other leaders and asking them for wisdom and advice. I love the learning process; I love relationships and I love leading. These are key parts of my identity.
As I move forward in life, I find the road narrowing on the roles and responsibilities I take on. They need to be in those areas of my identity for me to truly have a passion to do them. And as I age, working in areas that I’m passionate about have become much more important to me.
So, here’s my hope for you. Look for your unique identity. It’s buried, not so deeply, in your desires, gifts and passions. Think about what draws you in and what you succeed at. What you think about in the quiet of your life. As you grow in this discovery, embrace it! Look for others to verify it . . . or tell you that you’re a little out of whack.
One of the key components of StrongLead is the belief that we are made on purpose for a purpose, that you are unique in your gifting and identity, and that the one who made you doesn’t make mistakes, and that today is your day to live and shine.
To truly live a life that brings you great joy and fulfills your inner passions they must come from your identity. And discovering your identity comes over time. It’s a wonderful and maddening process that if walked well will bring you to see who you really are, what makes you tick and how you can impact your world!
So, go and discover you and be the best version of you that you can be.