In sports, there are several metaphors to describe when an athlete is functioning at their best. Tennis players hit the ball in the sweet spot of the racket. Basketball players hit nothing but net. Baseball players are in the zone. Marathon runners hit their stride. Race car drivers run on all cylinders.
I have discovered the same thing is true of life and work. I have worked in positions that were not a good fit and where I was not effective. I have served in places where I felt energized and encouraged because I was using all of my gifts and abilities. I discovered the hard way what happened when I was in a job without a good fit. My insight came as the result of coaching and reading.
On a professional level, I benefited greatly by going through Dallas Theological Seminary’s LEAD program in 2001. I discovered how my personality and operating style helped explain why I failed in some places and succeeded in others. The coaches helped me flesh out my life dream and develop a game plan to accomplish it. Attending a SonScape Retreat in 2011 helped me better understand how to balance the demands of life, family, and ministry, and rekindle a passion for Christ and his church.
On a personal level, I have benefited from reading numerous books by authors such as Aubrey Malphurs, Patrick Lencioni, Warren Bennis, James Kouzes and Barry Posner, and others.
It should come as no surprise that I am trying to pass on what I’ve learned to my Sunday School class at First Central Bible Church. I am currently taking our Sojourners young families SS class through a series, Discovering your S.H.A.P.E. (Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, Experience). I borrowed the acrostic from S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life, by Eric Rees. I’m using several assessment tools from Maximizing Your Effectiveness: How to Discover and Develop Your Divine Design, by Aubrey Malphurs. I’m also using some of the exercises from the Life Development Planner put out by the Centers of Church Based Training.
Rather than merely perform a content dump, I’m trying to teach the concepts, give an assignment using the assessment tools, and then have the class members share what they discovered about themselves. My wife and I are also sharing the insights we gained from our experiences with LEAD and SonScape. I’m hoping the class finds the series as profitable as I have.