why now?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1 Corinthians 13:11 NKJV

So why now? Why, after decades of compartmentalizing my life, do I decide to remove all the structural lines separating my professional and personal life and see what I get? If I combine so many seemingly unrelated aspects of my education, skills, work (and life) experiences with my faith, won’t it make me appear unfocused? Will it make me appear as if I’m trying to do so many things at once that I couldn’t possibly do any of them well? Will allowing current and potential business contacts to see my personal life (and my faith) make them uncomfortable? Will exposing my personal life (and my faith) damage my credibility as a business woman? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to stick to the old adage? Business is business.

I stopped talking openly about my faith at work in the 1980's when I got my first “career” job. I was young, surrounded by people who were more educated, more sophisticated and more wealthy. Lacking a formal education, with minimal skills, I wasn’t confident in my abilities in the workplace and was new to my faith. I was intimidated. I remember asking to take vacation so I could chaperone a youth mission trip and becoming engaged in a conversation where I found myself defending my faith when faced with the opinion “You’re young! What are you doing wasting your vacation time?” Over time, I learned to avoid conversations in which the intellectually minded attempted to convince me that my faith was idealistic and . . . wrong.

Later, as I began my career in information technology support, most of my colleagues were men. I found I was more comfortable adopting a typical masculine communication style - mostly report talk, not rapport talk. Business is business.

Over time, I let my guard down and have engaged in many workplace conversations about faith in God - but only with clients and colleagues with whom I had an established relationship.

So why expose my faith so openly now? I’ve been thinking about it and believe there are a number of reasons - some I’m not even sure I know yet.

  • I’m more educated now and the journey to attain the degrees was more life changing than the actual papers I received when I graduated.
  • My skills and experience in the workplace have increased and expanded. I’m more involved in training now, which required developing more diverse interpersonal skills.
  • My role as a wife and mother have taught me more than I ever imagined.
  • Years of teaching business and professional communication at UCF facilitated practical application of so many communication theories in my daily life.
  • I’m more confident now, not afraid of what people think and not motivated to gain approval by meeting someone else’s expectations when they are counterproductive to my goals. I understand that I will never get everyone I meet to like me and I’m okay with that. To each his own.
The bottom line is: This is me. All of me. Combining ALL my education, skills, experience ( in work and life) and goals (personal and professional) with my faith is having unexpected and interesting results:

  • I’m finding new ways to apply my formal (and informal) education across all areas of my life.
  • I’m motivated to learn even more while actively looking for ways to incorporate new knowledge in both my business and personal life.
  • I’m identifying skills I’ve not recognized before because they weren’t practical or necessary when my life was organized in neat little boxes. (Okay NOT so neat, but still - boxes)
  • My faith is growing stronger as I recognize more and more practical applications of biblical truths.
  • I’m gaining wisdom and making better decisions because I’m developing a conscious understanding of my personal, family and professional goals and mapping out the steps I need to take to achieve them.
So why now? Synergy.

What is synergy? Simply defined, it means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It means that the relationship which the parts have to each other is a part in and of itself. It is not only a part, but the most catalytic, the most empowering, the most unifying and the most exciting part.

The creative process is also the most terrifying part because you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen or where it is going to lead. It takes an enormous amount of internal security to begin with the spirit of adventure, the spirit of discovery, the spirit of creativity. Without doubt, you have to leave the comfort zone of base camp and confront an entirely new and unknown wilderness.
Stephen Covey
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People