For the past couple days I have been listening to Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist on Audible. I decided to *read* it because Brene Brown reads it every year. (Yeah, I'm one of those people.) I'm about 3/4th of the way through and I understand why. It's a fable about finding your purpose in life and living into that purpose. And even if you don't care about these things with the same passion that I do, I would recommend it because it is 1) a classic, and 2) an opportunity to listen to Jeremy Irons voice for 4 hours. It is masterful.
In this book, a young man is on a quest to live into his own personal legend. Think about that for a minute. We often talk about living out or into your dreams, but what is your personal legend? How is that unique for you? What are you called to do?
With organizations I often help them work through a new or reworked vision of who they are and what they are called to do in the world through writing an organizational mission statement. This mission statement when done well, helps the organization determine what they will spend their time and resources doing, and why they are choosing to do those things over all the other good things in the world they might be doing.
This is tough work. Especially for non-profits. Especially for faith-based non-profits, and even more especially for faith-based non-profits who are engaged in social justice. But these are my people. They are good folks trying to do good things in the world and they often struggle to define their mission because in the end they just want to save the world. But if you do everything or try to do everything or try to be all things for all people, you end up spending time on things that are not yours to do.
I was personally reminded of that today. I got a text message from a person who was looking for a health and wellness coach. While in the course of my life and leadership coaching I often assist my clients in addressing issues of their own self-care, health and wellness is not the specific kind of coaching that I do. This is not my passion, nor my gifts, nor my training. I am a yoga and meditation teacher and incorporate that into my leadership coaching and spiritual retreats but it isn't the same. Health and wellness coaching, per se, is not a part of my own personal legend. So I referred this person to a friend of mine who does this kind of work. And I'm so glad that I did.
I think the greatest temptation for freelancers and self-employed coaches like me is to try and do everything that comes across our desks whether it is our work to do or not. But in my experience, everyone wins when I don't try to do work that isn't my specialty and send that work along to someone else who has different tools and gifts. In my experience when I do this, the universe responds positively and sends other work my way -- work that ismy work.
So no, friends, don't try to save the world. Work on the corner that you have the training and expertise to do -- and do it well. The world needs all of us giving all we have in all the ways we can, and living into our own personal and organizational legends. Own them, and the work. When we do, everybody wins.