Slow and steady

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Hello Café Dwellers,

Many of you have heard of the fable, The Tortoise and the Hare.  In a recent conversation with my Generation Y mentee, I casually mentioned, “In my generation, we were taught that slow and steady wins the race.” “Not today!” she said with a quick and emphatic retort. Some of what she said and more of what she inferred told me that many just entering the workforce want it all and want it now. I must admit, I bought it.

Seeing her boldness and assumption of entitlement, I immediately (and secretly) began to second guess the old system of making small, consistent strides until you get there. After all, today we have social media and there are so many under 30 success stories that I thought maybe she was right. Maybe a shift to the ‘go big or go home’ mentality was just the catapult I needed.

Soon after this conversation, I began to run across article after article that argued one point and refuted the other. Finally, I stumbled upon a ToddHenry.com post that while arguing against one side, actually presented the best compromise to bridge the thinking between generations. In summary, the article gave a mixed portfolio of advice which included adapting parts of both doctrines. This felt right. It bore witness to my natural instinct to:

  1. Not expect consistent behavior over time to replace continued knowledge, growth and skill development
  2. Punctuate slow and steady action with sprints when the situation demands
  3. Make deliberate moves, whether running a sprint or marathon
  4. Know what meaningful progress looks like for me, benchmark against a strategic goal
  5. Fail forward, as we hear a lot in Corporate America, meaning if you’re going to fail, fail in the direction of your objective, learn from it and pick yourself up quickly

So, my mentee was right. Times call for bold and deliberate action. I was also right in being wise enough to know that we can’t apply one type of thinking to all situations. Whether you slow your pace deliberately to preserve your energy for the win or you blaze through full-speed astonishing all in your path, remaining steady should always be the end goal.

What thought-provoking conversations have you had recently with someone from another generation and what was your takeaway?

 

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Discovering your purpose

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Invisible Woman

Dear Cafe Dwellers,

Here’s a repurposed former blog that I thought would be a perfect first post and introduction of Purpose Cafe:

A few years ago I had a doctor’s appointment. “Mrs. Balkcom, we’re ready for you,” the phlebotomist said with a broad smile before leading me to the lab for bloodwork. He distracted my nervousness with small talk and carefully explained what was about to happen with each step. As if he had lost a valuable diamond in a concrete parking lot, he searched every crevice of my arm for the perfect vein. My shirt sleeve was pushed up so gently that I was caught off guard when I finally noticed him about to insert the needle. I don’t know if I’ve ever had blood drawn so painlessly, quickly or with such skill. I would even go as far as to say it was a pleasant experience.

Although this may sound a little bizarre, the fact is I marvel at anyone operating in such excellence and passion in what they do — even something as ordinary as lab work.

The phlebotomist left me with an impression. I haven’t forgotten him or the careful skill with which he took care of me. The excellence with which my Pastors operate our small ministry influences me. The lady that delivers soda to my job has an electric smile and beams with positive energy. I look forward to her coming. The Longhorn waiter who won my dinner companion over recently (no small feat) is etched in my memory because of his excellence. Every time he’d leave our table we’d look at each other and say, “He’s good, he’s really good!”

The fact is that there are many who operate with quiet excellence– some doing jobs not visible to large numbers of people or anyone. The attached video speaks to these invisible heros and sheros. My desire is to operate in my gifts in such a way that it makes a difference in someone’s day and is permanently etched in their memory.

I know now that personal passions can run the gamut and excellence can found in everyone from the CEO to the guy who delivers lunch. I have friends who are passionate about everything from gardening to jewelry making, from ministry to math. I had a colleague who blogged about his passion for knitting. I continue to be amazed with the unique gifts and interests we are each given.

The question is how do we align these passions with God-given purpose? How can a passion for something like fashion or fishing become something that is used to enhance your life and the world at large? I believe we start by availing ourselves to that gift and by looking for ways to hone the skill and practice its use, and more importantly by small and large acts of yielding.

What is your passion and how do you believe it’s a part of your purpose on earth?
How do you want your contact with others to be etched in their minds?

Hello world!

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Dear Cafe Dwellers,

Welcome to Purpose Cafe, where you are invited to grab  a cup of tea or coffee, relax and enjoy a weekly dose of inspiring words, funny stories, life observations and sometimes useful information.

No promises of profound insight or life-changing content, just little nuggets to help motivate us all toward purpose and passion.

So grab a cup and take a sip,

Ellena