How to Know Where to Focus Your Efforts

To be successful in life, work, or ministry it is very, very important to get clear on who you are and what you should be doing.  For greatest happiness and accomplishment we need to find that sweet spot, that area of convergence between who we are, what we are good at, and the needs of the people we are called to serve.  Any individual, church, business or organization that does this well increases their chances of success DRAMATICALLY!

            For most individuals and organizations, however, this is difficult.  I’ve heard a few very self-assured, quick decision maker types say, “It’s easy.  Just look at what you like to do and what you’re good at and do that.”  That statement is easy and for a few the process is easy, but I know from experience and research that for thet majority; it is not easy.  Without a proven process and outside feedback it is really hard to make a good judgment about our strengths and what our areas of focus should be for business and ministry.  Why is it hard?  Because without a mirror to reflect back to us what we look like, it’s impossible for us to know.  (Huh, what are you talking about Mark?).  All of us can look inside and realize what we like to do, but it’s impossible to really know what we’re good at unless we have the mirror of outside input.  All you have to do is look at any of the “talent” shows on TV to see that.  I know some people get on there as a joke, just to get on TV.  But there are many others who really believe they have great talent who are average at best and awful at worst.  They have not looked in the mirror of honest outside feedback and significant results.

            The summer before I went to high school, I went to a 4 week football camp at the Lake of the Ozarks.  I went to improve my skills, get ready for high school football, and to get a little bit of a read on how my talents compared to the other guys.  Through that 4 week period, I got all of that.  Another guy wanted the same results, but he signed up for the wrong camp session.  He mistakenly signed up for the session with the 6th graders.  Imagine what that was like as a guy entering high school is competing with kids who have not yet hit puberty.  He was definitely the king of the jungle for those 4 weeks, but not when he got to pre-season training with the high school team.  He had no way to improve or measure his talents against sixth graders.

            From listening to experienced business people and those who have done well in coaching in particular; they all emphasize getting clear on who it is you are called to serve.  Some call it a “niche”, others call it a “target market” and Seth Godin made popular the word “tribe.” For those in the church world who want to reach everyone; realize that people like Rick Warren made clear years ago that we need to be clear on who we are trying to reach in order to be effective; especially in the start up phase.  No one can serve everyone well.  The only way to succeed to is excel; not be average so it’s important to nail this down.  All the experts see it is as vitally important to get clear in your mind who it is you are called to help so you can speak their language and provide the right services to meet their needs.

            We will continue this discussion next time; but the big three questions we need to answer are:

  1. Who am I (we, if an organization)?  Values, talents, dreams, purpose, passion.
  2. What are my strengths? What do I do really well?
  3. Who can I best serve?

Remember, In order to excel, we must realize we cannot serve everyone well.

Get clear on those and you’ve found a major piece in the success puzzle.

Which of these are you most clear on?  Which do you need the most help with?

Next time, “how to get clear on your dream and vision.”

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