Over the years I’ve spent a fair amount of time consulting with various leaders, helping them think through their personal story and the story of their organization. I’m a big believer in the idea that we’re born into a very particular family, at a very particular time, in a very particular place for a very particular purpose. Our stories aren’t done being written and they grow as we live each day, but they are part of a larger story. I love hearing these stories and helping people think through, and make meaning of the circumstances they find themselves in. The very hard to understand truth is that our lives are full of more joy when we realize it’s not all about us.
Life is bigger than you or me.
I have a challenge for you today: I want you to spend 30 minutes watching people around you – in a coffee shop, at your house, at the office, in a shopping mall. People-watch. And while you people-watch, think about those people. What is their story? What kind of family do they come from? Where are they going? Who are they talking to? How are they feeling? Spend some time imagining their story. It doesn’t take long before you’ll start to feel small compared with the vastness of human life. So many people – so many stories.
Now think of the 7 billion stories living today on planet earth.
All those people thinking, feeling, rejoicing, struggling, experiencing heartache, dealing with sickness, enjoying wealth and comfort or poor and impoverished – feeling with the same depth and magnitude that you feel the things in your life. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel small, very small. Small isn’t a bad thing because it helps take the eyes off of ourselves as we start to more closely see the people around us. However, our selfishness vies to take over and I can be consumed with the questions, “How does my story matter? Where does my story belong?”
Where does your story fit?
If we stay in that place of selfishness, focused on our own storyline as the most important storyline, it traps us into only seeing opportunities and decisions through the lens of, “How will this benefit/advance/highlight/help me and my story? People catch on quick and if what you’re about is you, you’ll find yourself on a solo mission pretty quickly. But, if we can grasp that the decisions we make and things we do fit into some larger, grander scheme—for the blessing and betterment of the people around us–that will gather a crowd willing to join in and advance the blessings even further. The mindset that what you have and how you live can directly bless other people is a much more compelling long-term vision than simply building our personal kingdom. You’re blessed to be a blessing. Given grace to be a grace giver.
Individuals and organizations that have compelling visions are the kind of people and places we want to associate with; something to get excited and passionate about. If you lead an organization, you need to know it’s story, how your story fits into it, and how your story can motivate others to add to the influence. This will give you a big vision for your life and your leadership, and empower you to leave a meaningful legacy.
It’s much, much bigger than just you or me.
How can your story benefit someone else today? Who needs grace from you today? What are you waiting for?