A couple of weeks ago I sent an email with a list of my favorite quotes. I received a lot of responses but, by far, the most popular quote was:
“What you’ve been given is a gift FROM God – what you do with it is a gift TO God.”
Now, I’m not going to go deep into spirituality. It’s not my place to tell you what you faith should be.
Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, this quote is about maximizing your potential.
It is about taking what you’ve been innately given (smarts, talents, skills, strengths) and striving to use and develop these gifts to the best of your ability.
THAT is an Outperforming life.
When we frame it this way, there is no pressure to perform. Only an opportunity to excel.
Why, then, do we put such pressure on ourselves? Why does there seem to be so much more negative than positive?
I’ll venture two guesses:
1. Society (what we’re “supposed to” do or be)
2. Social comparison
Last weekend I had dinner with a good friend of mine. He lives in Chicago and was recently hired as the global head of HR for a large company. The last time I’d seen him was at my father’s funeral in April, when he was in job transition.
Over the course of dinner we talked about how difficult the transitional period was for him. It was the first time in his life that he was out of work and he REALLY struggled.
He found himself looking at everyone else in comparison, thinking “Everyone else’s life is great and mine sucks. I SHOULD BE where they are. This isn’t SUPPOSED TO happen to me.”
I have to admit, I’ve struggled with some of the same feelings over the last year and a half. When I look out at others, I can’t think of a single person who is my age that has lost both of his/her parents. Not one.
He shared a very interesting quote that helped him and it resonated with me, perhaps because I’ve run a lot of “races” in my life:
“As long as you’re comparing your situation to others you will never feel good about yourself. You have to realize you’re not running their race – you’re running your race. You have a specific assignment. God has given you exactly what YOU need for the race that has been designed for YOU.”
I’m going to drop the mic and leave it at that 🙂
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