“But is that your best work?” – Catherine Caine
How would you describe the moment where you knew that you were doing your best work?
Not your best work according to some external evaluative grid, but work that satisfied your soul at the deepest level. When was a time that you pushed past fear, and your expectations, and the expectations of others, and offered work that came directly from your heart, genuinely expressing wisdom that you have gained?
Let me give you an idea of what I’m talking about…
I am walking across a dark parking lot, having locked the doors to the trailer that we use as a classroom. It’s good that no one else is around, because I couldn’t talk if I had to. A young guy in one of my classes pulled my aside just moments ago and said “for all the times I have heard it talked about, I never really understood how much God loves me just like I am today. Tonight, I got it.”
I am on a phone call, helping a worship pastor recognize what is being formed in her spirit, and clarifying how these new developments will affect her vocational and spiritual journey. Listening, untangling and guiding through confusion or apprehension, I know that she is moving into a season of unprecedented effectiveness and soul satisfaction.
Sitting in the common area of a rural retreat center, I get to listen to a talented legislative staffer describe his vision for combining his skill set with his passion for serving under-represented rural Americans. Our relationship is a long one, and his vision came to full clarity during the retreat.
In a conference room in a St. Louis hotel, a group of law enforcement officers talk about their struggles reconciling their personal spiritual journeys with the harsh realities of their work. As a speaker, I am in the privileged position of being both a resource and a source of support.
In these moments, I know that I am doing my best work. I know this because the work comes from the best part of me.
I was talking with Catherine Caine last night about new business possibilities. Her lovely Australian accent and the birds chirping outside the window in Brisbane set a very soothing tone, even over Skype. After listening to my idea, she challenged me with the best, most pointed question. “But is that your best work?”
The question made me think very hard.
I had to admit that particular idea would not be my best work. But I know what my best work is.
There are a lot of things that I can do very well… I can efficiently move through all the steps of running a retail store, a bar, a restaurant, a ministry. I can craft a good strategic plan and I can say all the right things. But my best work is never found in the project.
My best work is always about the people.
I urge and equip people to do their best work.
At my core I am a teacher, a communicator, and a guide.
Working with people is like air to me.
Talking with people is the soul fuel that makes me run.
So, I’ll ask the question again – how would you describe the moments where you knew you were doing your best work?