Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Successful or Significant: Part 4 (Overcoming the Panic)

Life is seasonal. Just like the seasons of nature, the circumstances of life change. And because of this, we need to periodically shift our focus in order to achieve healthy growth. Before I was married, I spent much of my time doing what “I” wanted to do. Then once I was married, I shifted my focus to include Tami as well. And now that I have kids, my focus has again been shifted to make them the priority in my life. If I were to live my life like I did in the season when I was single, then I wouldn’t have a very healthy marriage or family.
But this is true in the area of my spiritual life as well. We cannot go through life doing the same things, and living the same way from year to year. As life and circumstances change, so must our focus. This shifting of our focus will help us to be successful in the way God desires of us; it will help us to overcome the panic of trying to be successful. We live in a world that likes to dwell on being successful. The problem with this is determining what kind of success you want. Many people will say that to be successful, you need to set goals. As you achieve your goals, you will be a success. In many people’s eyes, being successful means being married, having good, stable, healthy kids, having a couple of cars, a house, a good job, and good health. If you are lacking in this criteria, then you will not be seen as a success.

And yet, let’s say that you even do achieve all of this. The question still comes: How much is enough? And many in the world would answer: There never can be enough. And when we hear this answer, we get what is called “Success Panic.” Success panic is the feeling that you can never have enough, and you can never achieve all that you need. Success panic is not ever being able to be satisfied with what you have and what you have achieved. Success panic is not expected; it usually comes after you have reached a goal, and then you wonder: What is next?

The journey getting to our goal is often more exciting and rewarding than actually arriving. This is where the “Success Panic” comes in, because you realize that reaching your goal hasn’t fulfilled you the way you thought it would, and you panic to wonder what is next in your life. At this point, you must decide whether you will: 1. Move the finish line forward, and continue doing what you are doing. 2. Look at new possibilities and new goals. 3. Wonder whether you have really been successful and question if it was worth all the effort.

(Taken from the book "Half Time: Changing Your Game Plan From Success To Significance," by Bob Buford)

Where are you in your life? Do you feel successful? Are you feeling panicked because you aren’t as successful as you would like to be? Is the success you have had made a significant difference in the world. In my next blog I will talk more about how we can overcome the panic of having to feel successful. Tell me what you think (