If you want to be a productive person, you need to read this!
Several months ago I was invited by a church to come to talk to the young adults about how they could be more engaged and fruitful in ministry inside and outside of the walls of their church. It was in preparation to speak with them that I prepared the majority of what I'm about to share with you.
After my discussion with their young adults, I felt the need to go back and expand the concepts a bit. Initially, there were 7, but I split one into two and added two more.
The more I reflected on the principles, I couldn't help but notice that they are applicable in practically any setting. In other words, these are universal axioms which, if applied, will make you fruitful in just about any situation you might find yourself in.
So here they are. If you want to be productive, you must:
1. Be Passionate - Passion is a consuming interest, a burning desire, a deep concern. Is the thing that you can't just let go. A long time ago someone asked me, “What's the one thing that you could spend all day doing and completely lose track of time?” If you're able to identify that one thing that you could do all day you're probably on track to discover your passion.
2. Be Purposeful - Once you discover the thing you're passionate about, then you have to determine what you intend to do about it. What kind of impact do you intend to make? What do you want to accomplish? It's important not to be sidetracked by related issues. Identify a mission and pursue it passionately.
3. Be Present - Tweet this: “Presence is power!” When you show up it's one of the best evidences of care and concern. But think about this. Are you really present if you spend the entire time staring at your phone? Presence implies undivided attention; not undisciplined intention.
4. Be Personable - Porcupines don't have many friends. You can't be a porcupine and expect to build valuable relationships and partnerships. There's an old proverb says, “he who has friends must show himself friendly.” No man is an island, and in order to be productive, you will need the support of others who are strategically positioned to help you along the way. Never forget, a smile, good manners and a positive attitude go a long way.
5. Be Participatory - Part of being present is taking part. You don’t have to do everything, but you have to do something. Get involved. Bring a dish. Volunteer. Do your part. Participation builds community and opens opportunities for lasting partnerships. Also, diving in ensures that you’ll either fail or succeed. Even if you fail, you can learn valuable lessons to help you along the path of passionate purposeful engagement toward your mission.
6. Be Plan-Oriented - If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Recognize that Rome wasn't built in a day and so there needs to be a detailed plan marking a clear path forward. Participation and failure give you a clear sense of what it’s going to take to be effective. Take the time to construct a plan of action rather than flying by the seat of your pants.
7. Be Process-Oriented - This one is closely related to the previous one. Every plan involves a process. There is a no plan without a process. If you have a plan you’ll know that there are distinctive steps and stages to execution. You can’t skip steps or the plan won’t work.
8. Be Persistent - Don’t give up! As the great E.E. Cleveland always said, “Good, better, best, never let it rest until your good gets better and your better is best.” There’s another “p” word embedded here. It’s called “practice.” Be persistent in learning and perfecting your craft and fruitfulness is on the horizon. Life is all about trial and error. And if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Success isn’t final and failure isn’t fatal. Never give up! Never ever give up!
9. Be Patient - The fact is nothing of value comes easily and just like the last one states you can’t give up. But along with your persistence, you have to remember that often times your persistence is preparation for productivity, and the only thing missing is the time necessary for things to come together. If this is your passion, you’ve planned, you’re persistent, you’re doing everything right...just hold on a little while. Hang in there. Be patient. Good things come to those who wait.
10. Be Prayerful - This is actually number one. Jesus said that (I’m gonna paraphrase here) there are some things that will never be accomplished without prayer and fasting (see Mk. 9:29). You might be doing everything right, but even the best human effort needs Divine help to bring things together and set things in order.
Listen, I believe in you! The fact that you’re reading this is evidence that you’re a passionate person that wants to make a difference. Your passion and prayerful persistence (in time) will materialize into fruitfulness and productivity. You just have to plan carefully, be patient and practice your craft and you will certainly achieve that thing that you’ve envisioned. Drop me a line and let me hear about your progress and journey, and don’t forget to “Keep growing forward!”