No Man is An Island: A Guide to Intentional Christianity

One of the most uplifting and motivating minds of the last 30 plus years is Zig Ziglar. His methods, grounded in a deep faith and a spirit of charity have greatly impacted me as well as millions of others in sales and leadership alike. His stories draw you in, pull on your heart and push you toward the excitement of victory.  He is best known for his doctrine of success.

No Man is an Island - John Donne

No Man is an Island – John Donne (Photo credit: mark(s)elliott)

He says ” You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want”. Achieving awesomeness in life is not simply about productivity and execution.  There are a thousand different “takes” on balancing the key areas of life: work, faith, family, etc.  For the Christian, this must be more of a “centering”.

If God is not the center of our life, all the worldly success is useless.

 The anxiety of a wandering Christian is paralyzing, terrifying, and absolutely destructive toward the journey toward awesomeness.  Perhaps Ziglar was familiar with the 1955 Merton Classic No Man is an Island.  Tomas Merton, a Trapist Monk, known best for his autobiography The 7 Storey Mountain, writes on the virtues of contemplative prayer and the intentionality of the will.  Interesting and purely coincidental juxtaposition, I re-read this book a week after finishing Don Miller’s Blue Like Jazz.  Miller, much less formal than Merton, shares a very real experience Merton wrote about over half a century earlier.  We can all relate to wanting to want to love God, but not always feeling it.  Merton articulates this challenge and posits a road to healing that we walk when we truly begin to face our relationship with God:

It is not enough to do the will of his because his will is unavoidable. Nor is it enough to will what he wills because we have to. We have to will his will because we love it.

Perhaps Merton’s theological version of fake it ’till you make it is best summed up in this thesis:

…since no man is an island, since we all depend on one another, I cannot work out God’s will in my own life unless I consciously help other men to work out His will in theirs.

Merton is laying out the opportunity for us to intentionally center ourselves on God.  First, he says we cannot simply run into God’s will. It doesn’t “count” if we accidentally do it.  The Feed America campaign at Target is nice, but doesn’t constitute an intentional act of God’s will on our part.  Also, going to Mass on Sunday because as Catholic’s we have to, is not enough.  To attain that desired relationship with God, we have to love the will of God.  Our intentions ultimately dictate our actions and our awesomeness. His second statement tells us how.  We must love others so much, that we consciously and intentionally help them find and achieve God’s will in there lives.  This is what Mother Teresa survived on for years in Calcutta. This is what drove Pope John Paul II out of bed for so many years through the pain of Parkinson’s. This is the new starting line on our spiritual journeys.  Helping others through our prayer and our physical actions.  Start here and God will lead the way.
Who are you going to help today?

Rocco

 

Intentions Are Everything on the Road to Purpose

Recently I asked my boss for an opportunity to develop my leadership skills. I was given an assignment to teach a short workshop at an upcoming sales meeting. I began putting together some thoughts. Immediately I went into “impress” the boss mode. This is a ridiculous self aggrandizing exercise of compiling how much I know and finding a way to look good. The “what’s in it for them” is getting schooled by me. This misses the point. My purpose is to provide value; to do good. I was focused on looking good. Zig Ziglar said You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want. Unless the room is full of groopies rather than my co-workers, I have been working with the wrong intentions. This happens. You may have experienced a lapse in your purpose as I have. By our nature, we think of ourselves first. After all, no one cares more about you than you. You must leave it at that step away from your inherent nature if you live in any society that involves other human beings. You will create more influence. You need other people in order to function and succeed. You need other people on your own journey to find happiness and to live with purpose. Fortunately, I was able to discover my mistake before delivering disastrous results in front my peers. Here are a few take aways you can use to make sure you are “doing good” while “looking good”.

Bumpy Road

Bumpy Road (Photo credit: donrul)

1. Have Purpose: Back to basics. Is your success associated with influencing others to find success?
2. Stay Golden: Remember the Golden Rule? Are you leading in a way you would want to be led?
3. Find happiness in helping others succeed. Helping others bears such wonderful results. Often times, the person sharing learns as much if not more than the person being taught.
4. Be good at what you do. Intentions are nice, but if you don’t have anything to offer, you can’t help anyone.
5. Start with the end in mind. Ask WHY am I doing this. What do I hope to gain? The answer may be startle you to the core.
6. It’s never too late to refocus your intentions. A bumpy road to purpose is better than a straight road away.
How are you going to DO GOOD today?

Rocco De Leo