Playing to your strengths
During the course of this year Rob Parsons will be speaking at a number of Elim’s Men’s Events throughout the country on what lies at the Heart of Success, starting at MPower Enable in at the end of February.
This opportunity was born out of a survey we conducted with the men of our movement on life-issues that challenge them. One of the stand-out topics identified was that of achieving the right work/life balance in a busy world clamouring for our attention from all sides. Rob was approached by Mark Lyndon-Jones to speak into this area of our lives based on his best-selling book that addresses various aspects of this topic including making it in business without losing in life. Here we are delighted that Rob gives us a taste of the material.
FINDING YOUR FACTOR X
One of the main issues I write about in The Heart of Success is to urge us all to discover what I call our ‘Factor X’ – and then be set free to use it. Factor X is that ability in a man or a woman that is a natural strength – it’s something you do well and sets you apart from the pack. The problem is that in life we are dogged by people who want us to be just like them, or, in our work places, to do things just as they’ve always been done.
Maybe our parents pressured us into a career that, given the chance, they themselves would have loved to pursue. But it is their dream, not ours. I am convinced that most people have never had the opportunity to consider, let alone discover, what their natural strengths are.
As a boy in Sunday school, I used to love hearing the story of David and Goliath – the shepherd boy who took on the giant warrior that threatened Israel’s army. When David asked King Saul’s permission to fight the giant, the king agreed but wanted David to wear his own armour.
But the second David put the king’s armour on, he knew he’d made a dreadful mistake – he could hardly move. David didn’t want to offend the king, but in essence he said, ‘I can’t wear your armour because I am not you. If you will allow me to use the talents that God has given me, you will see things that you think are impossible.’
The world is full of people who want to put ‘Saul’s armour’ on us, but if we are to reach our true potential in life we have to discover the gifts that God has given us.
But it’s not only about discovering and using our own Factor X, it’s important that we do the same for others. For organisations, especially small ones of less than 20 people, this isn’t always easy. The need here is for people to ‘muck in’. But that said, it makes sense to consider whether amongst our team there are individual gifts that are just waiting to be discovered.
It’s sobering to discover that someone who used to work with us doing a job (sometimes one that others consider ‘menial’), has an incredible gift in another area and has just won an “outstanding results achieved” for their new employer for the third year running!
Often when organisations discover a glimmer of Factor X in a team or staff member, they first try to control it, then regulate it, and eventually extinguish it. They say, ‘He’s a rebel,’ or ‘We’ve never done it that way,’ or ‘That’s not in his job description.’ But if you’re fortunate enough to work with somebody with Factor X, change the job to suit them.
What a tragedy it is when nobody takes the time to help us discover our Factor X, and what desperate lives many of us are condemned to as we try to be what others want us to be. The world is full of people who will want you to do things just like them. They will push you into jobs you’re not suited for and make you do things that, in your hands, will probably fail.
In short, they will want you to wear Saul’s armour. Now, of course, sometimes it’s good to be pushed out of your comfort zone – but don’t make a lifestyle out of it. Have the courage to do what David did: to play to your strengths and have faith in your own abilities. And as you politely take their armour off, turn to what comes naturally – to what you are gifted at – and have confidence in that.
Rob Parsons OBE, chairman and founder of Care for the Family.