Old Lessons, New Applications

One of the biggest advantages of this blog is that I can go back and revisit lessons I’ve theoretically learned and remind myself to apply them to what I’m experiencing today. One of the biggest disadvantages of this blog is that I can go back and revisit lessons I’ve theoretically learned and get depressed over what a slow learner I am!

Being in the very early stages of launching a new business as an independent consultant is creating a whole new set of life circumstances to test my core values against. They’re holding up quite well, I’m pleased to say, but new circumstances do create new challenges.

I’m not a particularly entrepreneurial person, nor am I an extrovert who is energized by proactively networking with other people. Those two traits would be big advantages in my current endeavors.

While I’m excited about actually providing the services I’m offering, I’m also having to do a number of things that I’m not particularly good at and don’t enjoy doing. Chief amongst these is marketing and selling myself to potential clients. I’ve dealt with too many people selling their services over the years who come across as arrogant and self-centered, and I don’t want to be like that. I also don’t want to be the person others avoid because they know I’m going to corner them about hiring me or that I can’t talk about anything but my work. Yet I don’t want to miss opportunities to use the giftedness God has provided for His glory and to change lives. How does one develop humility and portray self-confidence simultaneously?

I’ve been told repeatedly by several people I respect that I need to be more bold about promoting the talents God has given me. I think there’s wisdom in that. But I also believe scripture teaches humility as a foundational virtue that is at the core of our ability to relate properly with God. And because of that, Satan and our world’s value systems fight to keep us from developing true humility. If self-promotion is necessary for success and I can’t learn to do it while growing in humility before God, I pray that I choose to let the business fail.

But I also know that God is stretching me to grow in healthy ways, including helping me become more relationally bold. So I can’t just pretend to be a martyr to stay within my comfort zone.

I’ll undoubtedly continue to wrestle with this, but in the meantime, I’m standing on two principles that I’ve referred to in previous posts:

1) I’m confident that I’m being obedient to what God has called me to do at this point. That doesn’t mean He’s promised success, only that this is the path He’s called me to walk (How Do You Measure Success, March 12, 2014)

2) I will strive to do my best, not because that’s what success requires, but as acts of worship to the God who deserves my best (For God Alone, Nov 20, 2013)

Prayers and comments on this topic are welcome!


One thought on “Old Lessons, New Applications

  1. Over the past two days, I talked with three people struggling with the same issue (in addition to myself): being uncomfortable selling their services. As an operations guy who has turned many a vendor away (techniques I learned from you!), I completely understand that reluctance. And as someone whose signature sin is pride, I also understand the need to constantly and intentionally practice humility.

    This morning I was flipping through Henri Nouwen’s thoughts on A Spirituality of Fundraising and found several thoughts relevant to your (our) situation: “Fundraising is, first and foremost, a form of ministry. It is a way of announcing our vision and inviting other people into our mission. . . . If our security is totally in God, then we are free to ask for money. . . . Only when we are free from money can we ask freely for other to give it. . . . Once we are prayerfully committed to placing our whole trust in God and have become clear that we are concerned only for the kingdom… [w]e are free to ask for whatever we need with the confidence that we will get it.”

    If you and I are confident that God has called us to our chosen vocation as our primary ministry for this season, then we should be bold in conveying our vision for impacting the Kingdom through our services and not be shy in asking for fair compensation in return.


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