Outer vs. Inner Markers of Success

chasingOne of the great problems of our day is that nearly all of the markers of success are external. We don’t look within to define success. We look outside. What size is their office? What kind of car does she drive? What neighborhood do they live in? Where did they go to school? Does she have her MBA yet? If all we have are external markers of success then we are complicit in promoting a bloodthirsty culture—one that is about domination, power, and control. We speed up so we can get the validation we think we need. We become aggressive in our pursuits of making life work. We both make choices and use people for our own ends. Success cannot be truly enjoyed because if you stop, slow down or smell the roses, someone—somewhere, might get ahead of you. One business executive confessed to me “When one of my colleagues succeeds at something, a part of me dies. I can’t be happy for her because I know I’ve just been bypassed.” It’s a sad state of the soul.When these external markers eclipse any other guiding values available for us, we become servants to the bitch-goddess of success and our hearts become enslaved one quadrant at a time until we lived dead to honor, enslaved to money, and paralyzed to move in any different direction.It seems that aspirations to be great and to be first are as old as the stories within our Bible. It’s interesting to find even the early followers of Jesus caught in plotting their own legacy so as to be remembered as one among the greats. In five short verses, Jesus shifts their paradigm and stretches their understanding of real leadership.They came to Capernaum. When he was safe at home, he asked them, “What were you discussing on the road?” The silence was deafening—they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest. He sat down and summoned the Twelve. “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.” He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me.”First place is last place. That’s a radical shift in understanding—one enough to make the proud fall and the humble to be exalted. Jesus’ model of leadership was something that the eager-beaver emerging leaders found difficult to grasp. Surely it would be about power! Most certainly it would be about grandeur and greatness. Wrong! This radical new paradigm of leadership took years for the early followers of Jesus to develop and it is no different for us today. Every definition of leadership that you think you already know—already assume and perhaps already embody is turned on its head.[tweetthis]Every definition of leadership that you think you already know is turned on its head.[/tweetthis] (This is an excerpt from Inside Job: Doing the Work within the Work IVP 2015 Chapter 3)Please consider ordering Inside Job through:Amazon: Buy through AmazonorBuy through Potter's Inn: Download a FREE Chapter, Download a FREE Session in the Companion Workbook and learn more!Buy and Learn More about INSIDE JOB through Potter's Inn3 Ways to Help in the Launch of Inside Job:1. Using your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Instagram, et) to quote the book, take a pix of you and the cover (a contest for this will be launched soon) and more.2. Think beyond buying 1 copy--buy several copy and give copies to your friends, spheres of influence.3. Start a group study and use the workbook.Get the WORKBOOK and download a FREE Session!4. Share this post now on your own social media platforms. We'd be very grateful for the "SHARE".Thank you for all of your consideration! 

Dirty Little Secret, Part 1

William James - author, philosopher, and psychologist - told us over a hundred years ago that success is the national disease of America. He went on further to say that success had become the “bitch-goddess” that allures us, captivates us, and then captures us to be its own servant. That’s a pretty rough phrase, I’ll give you that. You probably won’t hear it from your church’s pulpit. And maybe that’s part of the problem; we’ve a few too many pastors and not enough prophets.Success as the world defines has become a god to us. Yet the first of the Ten Commandments is “You shall have no other gods before me.” We may not have put success before the Lord God but we’ve sure put it alongside. Moses feared success for his people more than he feared a life in the wilderness. He warned his people of the dangers. Make sure you don’t forget God, your God, by not keeping his commandments, his rules and regulations that I command you today. Make sure that when you eat and are satisfied, build pleasant houses and settle in, see your herds and flocks flourish and more and more money come in, watch your standard of living going up and up—make sure you don’t become so full of yourself and your things that you forget God, your God,

the God who delivered you from Egyptian slavery;the God who led you through that huge and fearsome wilderness,those desolate, arid badlands crawling with fiery snakes and scorpions;the God who gave you water gushing from hard rock;the God who gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never heard of, in order to give you a taste of the hard life, to test you so that you would be prepared to live well in the days ahead of you.

 If you start thinking to yourselves, “I did all this. And all by myself. I’m rich. It’s all mine!”—well, think again. Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth so as to confirm the covenant that he promised to your ancestors—as it is today. From my latest book Inside Job: Doing The Work Within The Work (Due for release June, 2015 by InterVarsity Press)  

The Dangerous Ladder To Success

Long ago a Chinese man began his career making bell-stands for the huge bronze bells that hang in Buddhist temples. This particular man became prized and celebrated for making the best, most elaborate and enduring bell-stands in the entire region. No other person could make the bell-stands which such strength and beauty. His reputation grew vast and his skill was in high demand. One day the celebrated woodcarver was asked, “Please tell us the secret of your success!” He replied, “Long before I start making and carving the bell-stand, I go into the forest to do the work before the work. I look at all of the hundreds of trees to find the ideal tree—already formed by God to become a bell-stand. I look for the bows of the tree to be massive, strong and already shaped. It takes a long time to find the right tree. But without doing the work before the work, I could not do what I have accomplished.”NEVER?The ground at the foot of the ladder of success is littered with the names and faces and stories of leaders who self-destructed on the way up. Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, you know this. You know their names and faces. You’ve seen them interviewed by nightly news anchors, you’ve read the scandalous articles online, and you’ve possibly thought but that could never happen to me.According to the Harvard Business Review, 2 out of 5 new CEOs fail in their first 18 months on the job. It appears that the major reason for the failure has nothing to do with competence, or knowledge, or experience, but rather with hubris and ego. In other words, they thought but that could never happen to me.I’m here to tell you that it can happen to you. And if by some stretch of the imagination you believe that you’re immune to a crash-and-burn because of your faith in God, then you’re living with the exact kind of naivete that can ruin your reputation, your family, your health, and your legacy. Your name can be added to that ever-growing pile at the bottom of the ladder of success. In my work with hundreds of leaders from across the world, I find that far too many have eagerly entered the workplace, marketplace, or mission field with the goal of establishing themselves and striving toward a successful future. But unfortunately they missed or overlooked something crucial along the way. They end up in my office soaked in tears and shame because they were fired for ethical violations, they didn’t know how to work on a team, and some even succumbed to the much darker sides of money, sex and power. At one time they thought but that could never happen to me. But it did.The obvious question here is why? I’ll offer my take. But I warn you, the answer is not pretty. From my latest book Inside Job: Doing The Work Within The Work (Due for release June, 2015 by InterVarsity Press)