One of my favorite teachings of Jesus is the parable of the talents.
In it, Jesus shares a story meant to illustrate the importance of putting all of your God-given gifts to work, and to take risks.
Failure to do so results in negative judgment.
This is something I’ve spent a good amount of time thinking about. Am I putting all of my God-given talents to work? Am I maximizing my potential?
Have you ever thought about or asked yourself those questions?
There’s an ancient Greek word, Arete, that has no literal English equivalent. The closest would be wisdom, and it’s fundamental meaning is “what I can be, I must be.”
It’s one of my favorite words and I think it encapsulates what Jesus is trying to teach us. To ensure you’re putting all of your talents to work and you’re working to maximize your potential.
I think our life’s work is to figure out what we were put here to do, and to do it.
Sounds easy, does hard.
So how does one do that?
That’s what I’m going to talk about today. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Who is your best-self
- Who is your current-self
- Bridging the gap between the two
- Making it real and sustainable in your life
Let’s get started.
Who is your best-self?
This isn’t a traditional goal-setting conversation or exercise. I want you to think about the ideal version of you.
This isn’t the best you’ve ever been, it’s the best possible version of yourself you can imagine.
When you’re answering these questions, don’t think too hard about them, and don’t judge your answers. Just write down what comes into your mind.
Who are you?
How do you feel?
What’s most important to you?
What do you do?
How do you spend your time?
What do you think about and focus your attention on?
Who do you spend time with?
Where do you live and work?
What does the world think when they look at you?
Who do you most respect and wish to emulate?
How did they become who they are?
Now, go back through and spend more time thinking about each one. Think about why you answered the way you did. Think about why you want what you want.
If you’d like to dig deeper into this, you can access our Values Course at no-cost.
Who is your current-self?
Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, famously said, “Tell me how you use your time and how you spend your money, and I will tell you where and what you will be ten years from now. Time and money are precious resources, and few people striving for success ever believe they possess either one in excess.”
How are you using your time and money?
Are you putting all of my God-given talents to work? Are you maximizing your potential?
If you’re not, it’s ok. And it’s not my goal or desire to make you feel bad.
But it is important to recognize where you’re coming up short, and what you can do about it.
In service of that, I want you to explore your current patterns and habits.
If the ideal version of yourself we’re to look at the current version of you, what would they say?
Your patterns and habits have gotten you to where you are, and will keep you there. Far too many of us are simply getting by. We’re stuck in comfortable and familiar loops of waking, eating, drinking, finding pleasure, and then sleeping.
Let’s break down some of the main parts of your life:
- What are your recovery and sleep habits? Are you going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday?
- What are your nutrition and fitness habits? Are you eating healthy foods that fuel and nourish you? Do you exercise consistently?
- How strong are your relationships?
- What do you do for a living? Have you figured out what we were put here to do, and are you doing it?
- Are you a good steward of your time and attention? Are you focused on the right things, or do you give away these invaluable resources?
Think about how these habits and patterns are preventing you from becoming the best-possible version of yourself.
Bridging the gap between the two
Earlier, you wrote down who you wanted to be, and thought about why you want what you want.
Then, you examined your current-self.
Now, let’s talk about bridging the gap between those two people.
Here’s the thing – everybody wants you to become the best possible version of you.
I do. Your loved ones do. God does.
I was having a conversation recently and the person I was talking with brought up how he liked to ask people, “Would you die for my family?” He told me people always answer “yes.”
His follow up is, “Would you live for them?”
It’s one of those profound, punch you in the gut kind of questions.
Because, in a lot of ways, it’s easier to die than it is to be the best-possible version of ourselves day in and day out.
Are you willing to take personal responsibility for your life, and to work everyday to be the best possible version of you?
If you are, let’s put a plan together.
I focus on six key areas for goal setting. In each area, think about and write down what you want your life to look like.
It’s important to think about these goals in terms of time horizon. Meaning, you’ll be able to do some immediately, while others will take longer.
What’s most important in all of this is you moving in the direction of putting your talents to work. I appreciate some changes will take time.
Family: What do you want your family life to be and look like?
Community: What is your community and how are you active in it?
Money and career: What is your work, how much money do you earn, what is your impact? How do you invest your money?
Personal development: What do you learn for the sake of learning? What do you spend your free-time thinking about and doing?
Wellbeing: How do you nurture you physical and mental health?
Peace of mind: How do you nurture your spiritual health and what do you do to promote peace of mind?
If you’d like to dig deeper into this, you can access our Goals Course at no-charge.
Making it real and sustainable in your life
I’m a giant fan of self-discipline, but that takes time to develop.
To position yourself for success in this important endeavor, I encourage you to set up as many systems and processes as you can.
I want you to create your personal standard operating procedure.
A standard operating procedure is a set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to help their people get what needs to get done, completed.
- Checklists. One day, perhaps many of the things you need to be successful will be second nature. Until that day, make a checklist for everything that needs doing.
- Calendar. What gets scheduled, gets done. If you don’t put all of your important activities into your calendar, they’ll get bumped by some other “emergency.”
- Automate. The more we can take our hands off the wheel, the better.
- Delegate. Get a financial advisor, coach, or join a mastermind. If there’s an area you lack in, find someone or something that can support you in your change.
Through the parable of the talents, Jesus is working to illustrate the importance of putting all of your God-given gifts to work.
That’s what I want you to do.
And I want you to start doing it now. Don’t let another year go by.
If you’d like, you can have a no-cost chat with one of our Certified Coaches who can help you get closer to making your ideal life a reality.
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