2014 Resolutions: Success vs. Craft

It is now February.  For many, New Year’s Resolutions have either taken a firm root or have already been forgotten promises made only a month ago.  There is something in our core that craves these resolutions.  Each New Year’s Eve show with Ryan Seacrest tends to follow a pattern of a dropped ball (apple), cheers, kisses, champagne and…hope.  This hope for a New Year or, New Start is really normal and widely shared. 

As someone in the staffing industry and who hires salespeople, I often hear this hope articulated in the form of a new job or a new role within a company or a new financial reality.  Almost all these goals are an end-result and a hope for change.  

What is challenging about this is that these results are ones that on-the-surface appear to provide a sense of arrival.  Yet most tend to not provide the expected fulfillment we have going into them. 

The most common of these goals in my context is to “someday make 6 figures”.  I hear this goal/result/measure of success multiple times per week.  But the goal is hollow.  The achievement of it means almost nothing and actually presents new problems.  This goal also is one that quickly just leads to another goal that is really another standard/carrot and simply keeps the on-going path to arrival just a bit further out.

I recently attended a great conference led by Author/Pastor/Philosopher/Culture-Changer Rob Bell (see www.robbell.com).  In this conference he spent time naming this dilemma by contrasting Success with Craft.  This contrast serves to remind us that the path to success is best experienced through the mastering-of or delighting-in our Craft. 

Focusing on our Craft exposes our passions, takes us through on-going challenges, places us in a position of risk while giving us opportunities to share and serve.  It is thrilling and frightening, it is vulnerable while providing moments of positive-pride, it taps into our Creativity and Humbles us as we witness others living out their vocational life more focused on the Journey than the Result. 

It is quite possible that a focus on Craft will yield success.  I have never believed that by following your passions, money will necessarily follow.  But it is more likely that a sense of Fulfillment and Happiness will. Along with this a confidence from an Adventure-taken, a Risk achieved and a Community formed with others that look at what they are doing a craft being developed day-by-day. 

Success is quite the impossible term to define.  It is likely you already are Successful; and if you don’t think so, it is likely you are not around enough people to appreciate what you have done and what they have done.  But in 2014 American Culture, the quest for Success is the impossible journey.  Living in Los Angeles one is quickly reminded of this by simply taking a stroll on Ventura Blvd. or Montana Ave. or through Beverly Hills and the surrounding areas.  If we are living our lives through the measurement of results, there will always be people with more Money, a better Resume, better travelled, a bigger-title/company and more beautiful than can possibly be imagined.  Facing this should serve to set us free.  To be reminded that we are not designed to Achieve and/or Consume all that comes with this.  But instead we are designed to be a part of the Creative process of life, and that through that to find our Purpose, to connect with Others and to know that in this Journey we have already Arrived.

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