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MISFITS AND MISUNDERSTOODS You are CALLED to HIGH Purposes Your place of
Leveraging your Strengths FOR PURPOSELED LIVING
Meet the Sharks teammates who know it!
AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2012 ISSUE 14
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STRENGTHS WITH GOD - IN BUSINESS?
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Your place of Effectiveness
Where are my Strengths
HAND OF THE HARVESTER
Leveraging your Strengths for Purpose-led Living Sharks Players Interview You are Called to Astronomically High Purposes Playing to your Strengths in Business Misfits and Misunderstoods
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Playing to your strengths
ave you ever watched a dancer perform and felt it take your breath away? Or been brought to tears by a singer or musician? Or been dazzled by a masterly move in a sports match? A good example for me is Jacques Botes from the Sharks. I love to watch him play. When he is playing you can see that he absolutely loves what he does and he plays with all his heart. We had the privilege of meeting some of the Sharks team after their cell meeting to chat to them for our feature. What is it about these people that moves and stirs us so much? To me there is nothing more exhilarating that watching someone do something they love wholeheartedly. Passion moves us, it draws a response from us. That is why I am so passionate about helping people discover what their purpose is. Once they do, and they are intentional about developing it and living it, it creates a passion that is visible and that draws a hunger in others to want it too. This hunger causes them to start seeking and God always meets the seeker. Every single person has a purpose whether they know God or not, and when God created us in our mother’s womb, he intricately wove gifts, talents and abilities in us to fulfill that purpose. As a trainer and life coach I have often had to work with people who have not yet met with Jesus. The hardest thing for me FOLLOW US ON TWITTER Twitter.com/Connectbizmag
Sharks! is to help them discover their purpose. Without a kingdom perspective, their quest for purpose is driven by self-fulfillment and building their own dream. There’s an emptiness once the goals are achieved – a nagging feeling like there must be more to life than this. I believe this is because Jesus holds the key that truly unlocks the purpose he designed us for. When you add Jesus and what he has done for you on the cross to the equation, it unlocks a whole new world of opportunity, service and a fulfillment that cannot be described in words. I believe there are two hinges on the door of purpose discovery. The first is that discovering your strengths (Talents, Abilities and Gifts) is not only possible, but God really does want you to. The second is understanding that your strengths and purpose are designed to serve others. Don’t get me wrong – you are meant to benefit and you will, you will never find satisfaction like when you are doing what you were born to do – but you are only a small part of a greater picture. So discover your strengths, be intentional about using them and as you raise your eyes you will discover a world waiting for you to arise and shine!
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VOICE OF THE PROPHET
Your place of
he longer I am a Christian, the more I understand the value of what it takes to be effective for God. When out for a walk with its owner, a young puppy will expend boundless energy chasing things that don’t really matter and end up exhausted. The older, more mature dog will by that time have worked out what really counts and preserve his energy for more worthwhile causes. When you are born again, your life is drastically altered by the Presence of God and your new-found joy entices you to do all you can, whenever you can. Down the road a little bit, you realise that you are involved in so many things that you start to question where it is that you are most effective. When God created you and I, HE had something specific in mind for us to do. HE gifted us in certain ways so we could effectively fulfil what we were called to do. Finding ‘that’ place in your walk with God is crucial for you and contributes to your fulfilment and effectiveness. When Israel asked God for a king in Samuel’s time, Saul was chosen and we are introduced to him as a ‘head and shoulders’ choice. He stood out amongst the rest... but later made the wrong choices and had to be replaced. This shows us that the choices we may want to make may not be God’s best for us. When God chose a new king for Israel from Jesse’s sons, it wasn’t the most likely son that was chosen. God had 6 | www.connectmagazine.co.za
HIS choice in mind because HE knew what HE had placed inside that choice. In the same way, you and I are gifted as God’s choice for a specific task – and discovering and playing to your strengths makes you that much more effective. David was a shepherd boy and spent his early youth caring for and protecting his father’s sheep. One of the skills of the job was to know how to use a weapon to keep the sheep safe from wild animals. He spent a lot of time developing his skill at using a slingshot. Later on in his life, he volunteered to fight Goliath (1 Samuel 17) and King Saul was intent on placing his armour on David to get the job done. David was so unfamiliar with Saul’s armour that he said, “I cannot walk with these for I have not tested them” (v39). He was at home with his sling – and when he left to do what he was able to do with what he knew, he was successful. Playing to your strength is what will make you effective in the Kingdom. Learning to recognise where your strengths lie is a secret to personal achievement and success. Be careful to make the distinction between what you like and what comes naturally to you. There may be a difference. Always lean towards what comes naturally. There is no effort in that. John the Baptist was chosen to be the herald of the ‘Christ’. If you look at the background to his birth, you cannot escape the truth that God specifically anoints you in some way for a special
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When God created you and I, HE had something specific in mind for us to do. HE gifted us in certain ways so we could effectively fulfil what we were called to do. Finding ‘that’ place in your walk with God is crucial for you and contributes to your fulfilment and effectiveness. task. John’s ‘right time’ had to come at some stage. All his life was a preparation for that time. He was wired to be this herald. Luke 1:80 says, “So the child grew and became strong in spirit and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.” I love like this! YOUR DAY OF MANIFESTATION to your world is a reality. What you were born to do is high on God’s agenda and he has a specific purpose and time in mind. Accept the difficult patches and the preparation time. The moments when
you count and are most effective are still to come and unfold. Play to your strength and you will witness effectiveness unfolding and developing all around you.
Alan Rockhill Founder of Kings Net Ministeries allan.rockhill@ kingsnetministries.org
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HAND HEART OF THE OF THE HARVESTER PASTOR
WHERE ARE MY STRENGTHS?
sked what motivates her to support charity in the way she does, actress Whoopi Goldberg once said, “I fear waking up in the morning and finding out my life was all for nothing. We are here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.” Now Whoopi Goldberg is far from being a theologian, but her comment illustrates that every human being is driven by this search for significance. We all want our lives to count for something. She has discovered that all the attention, all the wealth the world has to offer really doesn’t satisfy that need. Solomon said, “God has set eternity in the heart.” So ultimate significance is found only in giving oneself to Jesus Christ. Only Jesus Christ can satisfy that spiritual hunger of the soul and only Jesus Christ is really the torch to lead people out of darkness into the light. With that in mind, let’s look at Romans 12:18. This passage talks about a proper evaluation of our strengths, our talents, which are to be used for God’s glory. If we understand and apply four principles from this section, it will really help us to find eternal significance.
The first principle is: remember your priorities.
Verse 1 says, “Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your 10 | www.connectmagazine.co.za
spiritual act of worship.” God could have disowned us but instead He chose us, He adopted us, He redeemed us, He sealed us as His very own. Since God has been so merciful to us, our priority ought to be to please Him, not to impress people. He says, “Don’t conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” Paraphrase that: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its mould but be transformed by the renewing of your mind and then you will prove what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.” You see, the world around us is obsessed with image. What will people say? What will people think? But the Christian renews the mind. We change our thinking. What becomes important is what God thinks. If you put God first in the use of your talent, you will attest and
approve what God’s will is but the world may not understand. So when it comes to the use of your talent, remember your priorities. Use your gift to please God, not to impress people.
suggest three things. First, take a test. There are all kinds of aptitude tests available today, and plenty of resources for identifying your strengths and giftings. The second thing we can do is try it out. One of the best ways to discover The second principle: your giftedness is to experiment and see how it goes. Jesus criticized the ‘one-talent man’ realistically evaluate your because he buried his gift in the ground and gifts. Verse 3 of Romans 12 says: “Do not think never used it. He commended the two and five of yourself more highly than you ought. talent people because they experimented. They But rather think of yourself with sober judgment took the risk and they doubled their investment. in accordance with the measure of faith God How are you going to know whether or not you has given you.” We have so emphasised a can teach, if you don’t try? How are you going positive self-image that there are some people to know whether you can help heal emotional today who can strut sitting down. If you think wounds of people, if you never in compassion too highly of your talent, it can actually be counsel somebody? How are you going to know detrimental because you are whether you can work with not teachable or you are not teenagers if you don’t try? Humility is ambitious or in some cases How are you going to know you don’t repent. Proverbs whether you can make finding out what 16:18 warns that pride goes money and give generously God has gifted before destruction and a if you don’t try to invest? haughty spirit before a fall. The third thing you can you to do and But some people go do to know your strengths doing it with to the other extreme and is to ask a friend. Honest they think more lowly Christian friends can help abandonment for of themselves than they evaluate your strengths. His glory and not should. I have seen people Now don’t ask them, “Do stay in dead-end jobs, your own. you think I teach well?” That unhappy with work every kind of puts people on the day but they just don’t have spot and most of us have enough confidence to look a hard time being honest for something better. When God challenged and saying, “Well, not very well.” Give them an Moses to go before Pharaoh and demand option and say, “You have heard me teach and the release of the Israelite slaves, Moses felt you have seen me work out in the yard; which inadequate and he said, “Oh no, God, they do you think I do better?” And if they’re truthful won’t believe me. I am not a very good speaker. with you, don’t get bent out of shape with them, Would you send somebody else.” The Bible because nobody is gifted in every area. Listen to does not say that God was pleased with Moses their counsel and focus on another area. because of his humility. It says the wrath of God was kindled against Moses because of his lack The third principle: refuse to of faith. An inferiority complex is not humility! compare yourself with other Humility is finding out what God has gifted you to do and doing it with abandonment for His people. One of the primary reasons we glory and not your own. feel insignificant is we are always comparing Now how are you going to do that? Let me ourselves to others in our field of interest. www.connectmagazine.co.za | 11
The ones who have more influence or more popularity, a bigger title or more money. As a result, we are never satisfied. We are jealous. Never quite feeling as significant as we would like. But this passage urges us not to fall into that trap of comparing and competing with one another. Some are gifted to preach, some to serve, some to teach, some to encourage, some to make money and give, some to lead, some to show mercy. Once you understand that, you are more likely to quit competing with others. We not only have different gifts â€“ we have 12 | www.connectmagazine.co.za
different measures of the same gift. Verse 6 says that if a manâ€™s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. Some have the gift of preaching with five talents and some the gift of preaching with one talent. Some are gifted to lead enough to be the CEO of a company and others ought to be a foreman. Some are gifted to make money and multiply it and ought to be giving millions and others just make enough to tithe and be generous each week. We need to evaluate not only where our strengths are but to have a realistic assessment
of the degree of our gift. The one-talent person should not be comparing himself with a fivetalent person or else he will feel jealous, and the five-talent person should not be comparing herself with the one-talent person or she is going to get lazy or have a condescending spirit.
Whatever God has gifted you to do and whatever is your passion in life, focus on that and develop that to the best of your ability. It may not be what others want for you. It may not be what you dreamed about when you were a child... but if it is what God ordained and gifted you to do, you will find significance and be The last principle: remain energised by it. Someone observed, “We can’t be anything we want to be. But we must be focused in the area of your what God ordained us to be.” strength. Verse 6-8 doesn’t say, “If a man’s Success and significance in life is finding gift is prophesying then what your strengths are – let him learn to serve. If a the gifts God has given – and man’s gift is teaching let then giving ourselves fully Success and him go on to encouraging. in that area for the glory of significance in life If a woman is a good God and not self. I want to encourager then let her close with a thought from is finding what learn to contribute to the Rick Warren. God gave me your strengths needs of others.” No! It says the gift to preach not for if your gift is prophesying, my benefit but for yours. If are – the gifts that is what you are I don’t use my gift, I cheat God has given – supposed to do. Prophesy! you. God gave you a gift, not If your gift is teaching, you and then giving for your benefit but for other stay with teaching. And do people. If you don’t use your ourselves fully in it generously. Diligently. gift, you cheat others. Cheerfully. That sounds so that area for the God has given different basic but it is amazing how gifts to the body for the glory of God and many people get off focus. building up of the body. not self. When you have discovered When you use your gift fully your primary area of for the glory of God, you giftedness, stay focused in begin to light little torches your area of strength and along the way to show your area of passion and you will be fulfilled. people through the darkness to the light of I talk to a lot of young men who say they Jesus Christ. are burned out in the ministry. They felt a call to preach and they love to preach but they get in church and they suddenly get bogged down in administration, organising programmes, going to the nursing home, raising funds. Their call to preach, which is their primary gift, gets shoved to the side and Sunday morning comes along Robert L. Russell and they get by on talent. But they know they Retired pastor of Southeast Christian Church, are not doing it to the fullest extent of their Louisville, Kentucky, and senior contributing ability and they feel empty about it. editor at Preaching magazine. Adapted and reproduced with permission from Preaching Magazine, http://www.preaching.com/sermons/11563853/
It takes a village to raise a child
n the heart of greater Durban, LIV (Lungisisa Indlela Village) is changing lives, one child at a time. Situated on 83 hectares of farmland just north of Amaoti, next to the Cottonlands community, LIV provides holistic residential care for some of South Africa’s most vulnerable children. Its vision: to RESCUE a child, RESTORE a life, RAISE a leader and RELEASE a star. By 2013, this will be ‘home’ to 600 children living in 3-bedroomed homes with trained foster mothers and a school from crèche to matric. LIV places vulnerable, parentless children into a family environment where they receive unconditional love, spiritual discipleship, care and nurturing. And as LIV reintroduces Christian moral family values, LIV founder Tich Smith believes that “these children will grow up to be a generation that will be an influence for positive change within South Africa, our continent and indeed the world.” Currently there are 60 children in residence, with others coming in weekly. Two of the homes have been converted into babies’ homes, and the pre-school and primary schools are up and running with 7 teachers, supported by volunteer therapists. The LIV Social Services and Homes Management departments provide counseling for the children and guidance for the foster mothers, as well as recruiting and training for future foster mothers. 2013 will see the completion of the first Village. LIV has purchased the 120 hectare neighbouring farm for a further two Villages, catering for another 2,500
children. An option has been taken on further neighbouring land to increase the number of children to be cared for in the LIV-Cottonlands Villages to between 4,000 and 5,000 children. LIV is assisting others who have the same vision to build Villages in Pretoria, Benoni, Kimberley, Grahamstown, East London and George. LIV has a goal to become a sustainable Village through farming and enterprise development projects. LIV Business, a 100% Broad-Based BlackOwned company, invests in businesses to provide for this sustainability as well as to create jobs. Currently, LIV has two factories making heat retention Wonderbags, employing 200 workers, and a vegetable farming program employing 26 ladies from the community. The future plan is to see many villages across our land raising future leaders and ‘turning scars into stars’ by providing a fresh start in a supportive community. South Africa needs thousands of Villages across the country in order to turn our biggest problem into the solution. These children, who could become future gangsters and street children, can become future leaders and valuable citizens, in turn helping others to rise up out of poverty and abuse. LIV needs your help to see 600 children sponsored by December 2012. You can donate towards the “Sponsor a Child” project for R100 or more per month. For more information call 031 561 2800 or visit www.liv-village.com.
Together we can. www.connectmagazine.co.za | 15
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HAND OF THE HARVESTER
PURPOSE-LED LIVING Much has been said and written in recent years on “playing to your strengths” and avoiding getting hung up on what we’re poor or “weak” at. But what does it really mean, and how do you go about identifying which is which? Graham Yoko, Accelerated Christian Education CEO and author of Get Out of Your Rut And Into Your Groove, shares some practical insights on the subject below. Then we bring you an interview with a special team that illustrates the strengths dynamic better than any other example we could think of. May you be challenged, empowered and energised as you read.
it contributes to others and the void is where it needs contribution. With this image in mind, a more accurate way of describing so-called ‘weaknesses’ is ‘areas where others need to be strong for us’. A rugby team consists of 15 players each with their own unique strength that they bring to the team. One of the 15 is elected as the captain; but even the captain only fills one of the positions on the team. His leadership abilities may qualify him to coordinate the players on the field, but he defers to other players that are better than him in their area of game. As part of the team that leads Accelerated Christian Education in Africa and Scandinavia, I love giving vision. Others in the team have a gift for painstaking detail. I’ve come to realise that if we don’t have Graham Yoko on Leading both, we’ll fail as an organisation. Your life is no different. Despite your from your Strengths position in your company or job, you One of the greatest challenges only have a limited number for us is to realise that we of things in which you are were designed to be The modern significantly skilled. interdependent on These are areas that day epidemic of those around us and you need to focus on not independent (1 depression and feelings and build into on a Corinthians 12:12-18). daily basis. These of worthlessness could be Interdependence is your strengths, often misinterpreted easily avoided if we simply are your ‘claim to fame’, as weakness, but went back to God’s specific the reason you are weakness is not here. If you have ever what God had in design and blueprint taken a strengths and mind when he created for our lives. weaknesses assessment, us with both strengths you would have received and weaknesses. Think of a report that indicates your yourself rather as a puzzle piece. areas of strength and weakness. Most A puzzle piece has a protruding section people’s natural response is to get to work and a void. The protruding section is where
18 | www.connectmagazine.co.za
on ‘fixing’ their weaknesses so that they highlights your weaknesses? Chances are do not cause them embarrassment in the that if your job is based on something that future. is not in your area of natural strength, The downside of this is that you are going to experience you end up ignoring your frustration and high levels Does your obvious strengths and of stress. I understand current job/career begin to focus on areas people may have to do where you should be jobs that don’t suit their maximise the things depending on others strengths for a season that you identify as your of their lives – but to complement you in their areas of strengths or are you stuck don’t let the stepping strength. The modern stone become the in a rut that highlights resting place! day epidemic of depression and feelings Surveys conducted your weaknesses? of worthlessness could be in the workplace reveal easily avoided if we simply that 52% of people working went back to God’s specific in the IT industry would rather design and blueprint for our lives. be doing something in the liberal arts field. How and why did they get involved in the IT industry? The lure of money, success How do I identify my and all the promises of happiness associated strengths and maximise with wealth often draw people away from the perfect plan that God had in my effectiveness? mind for their lives. The result The first step is to become is a life of frustration and a aware your specific The saddest never-ending journey on strengths. Ask yourself, thing for me is the treadmill of unfulfilled “What do people when I get to the end expectations. regularly compliment asked me what me on being good at? of a course and a retired ‘flicksIf you my switch’, I’d say What could I do for long person says, “I’ve it’s seeing people drop periods of time and really into their groove after enjoy myself while doing wasted my life”. pulling sideways, against it”? These are those things the grain, pretending to be that energise you and fill you happy. One gentleman, after with a deep sense of satisfaction. 28 years as a civil engineer, went and For some this may be working in the studied to be a teacher and has been IT industry, for others it will be the thrill of exceptionally happy since then even closing a business deal and for others it though he’s earning a lot less. Another may be the satisfaction of teaching a child case was a doctor who practised medicine to learn to read. Whatever it is for you, you for 13 years until his dad passed away and deserve to position yourself where your then closed his practice and went to study strengths can be utilised, maximised and to be what he wanted to be – a motor appreciated. mechanic. The saddest thing for me is Does your current job/career maximise when I get to the end of a course and a the things that you identify as your retired person says, “I’ve wasted my life”. strengths or are you stuck in a rut that
HAND OF THE HARVESTER
What about small businesses?
and take the strengths assessment on offer. On completion you will be able to print out a comprehensive, personal, If you have a small business, it can be 28-page report that is perfect for helping challenging because you’re everything – you to discover and understand your Godthe accountant, the marketing person, the given strengths. It’ll identify your normal/ person doing what your business core strengths and your adapted actually offers. You might be style (what you’re doing at a great plumber but if you the moment), so that you The first step don’t issue invoices on can see how far you are for small business time, your company will currently from your die. As far as possible, ‘groove’. It covers owners is to ask yourself try to outsource like how you what you’re really good at, things those activities that deal with people, don’t fit your skill and then work out how to how you deal with set to others who problems, how you get to the point when you’re deal are skilled in those with pace and areas, even if it costs doing what you love and change, and how more. Try to build that you feel about taking are good at 80% of into the cost of what risks. If you do this as a you offer. And if you aren’t the time. team, you can plot your in a position to pay someone respective strengths on a chart to help you, trade services with and make sure the right roles are them. And when your business grows as a assigned to result, you’ll soon be able to delegate – and the right people. pay for – even more functions that aren’t I always say there are two critical points your core competency. in a person’s life: here and there. ‘Here’ The first step for small business owners is where I am now. ‘There’ is where I see is to ask yourself what you’re really good at, myself in the future. To bridge the gap and then work out how to get to the point I need to structure a 5 or 10-year plan that when you’re doing what you love and are will get me there. That way I can measure good at 80% of the time. In my book I speak it on a six-monthly basis and see how far about cabbage – the stuff on your plate I have come. Don’t spend one more day you don’t really like, but have to eat. Try to trying to compete in your area of weakness. keep the proportion of the ‘nice’ stuff to Discover your strengths now, lead from the cabbage in an 80/20 ratio. In a business your strengths and have fun in life! there are certain things you hate but really can’t delegate, but the 80% ‘good stuff’ will give you the stamina and strength to handle the 20% you don’t enjoy.
How do I find my groove? If you would like to discover your strengths more specifically, you can make use of an excellent tool which is available on the Internet. Simply go to www.leadingfromyourstrengths.com 20 | www.connectmagazine.co.za
Graham Yoko firstname.lastname@example.org
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To get an idea of how strengths work in a team, Tracey and Elaine spoke to none other than the boys in black and white. Our meeting with a few of the players from the Shark's cell group – Willem Alberts, Jacques Botes, Louis Ludik, Meyer Bosman and Charl McLeod – was a fascinating glimpse into the tension between playing to strengths and managing weaknesses.
I thought I wouldn’t make it,” he says. “But my studies didn’t go so well and then I got an opportunity to play junior-level rugby. I only wanted to do it for a year to earn money for my studies, but after that I played Super Rugby without even a contract. I never believed in myself to be able to play even Currie Cup rugby, then when I played my first season I thought, ‘Hey I can do this!’” For all five players, others’ recognition of their skill was the catalyst for a career in what they had hitherto just ‘loved to do’. “Once How did you get into someone believed in me it gave me professional rugby? confidence,” says Jacques Botes. Interestingly, not one of our Willem’s “Dick Muir was an example five interviewees set out with of that. Once he started the intention of playing response speaks giving me backing, playing professional rugby. In fact, professionally became for everyone “To me four of them started out more achievable.” studying commerce, while it feels like playing, Willem studied for a BSc How do you it doesn’t feel Agric before switching to know you’re ‘in Sports Communication. like a job” your groove’ now? “I grew up playing rugby, Willem’s response speaks for but never thought of becoming everyone “To me it feels like playing, a professional player,” recalls Charl it doesn’t feel like a job,” he says. McLeod. “I was studying accounting His next comment takes us a step further, at Stellenbosch and I played rugby raising the inevitable question of what throughout varsity, eventually playing comes after. “The problem is it’s going to end for the varsity. I started making teams I before too long. At this stage rugby is what I didn’t think I’d make, and realised I could want to do. I never thought it would be, but play a bit better than I thought I could, it is. And after that I want a 10,000ha farm so I started working harder. Playing with a game capture business, a hunting professionally was never a ‘carrot’ for me.” business... but it’s not just going to happen Willem Alberts has a similar story. when I walk out of rugby.” “I never wanted to play rugby after school as
HAND OF THE HARVESTER
So... what comes after?
God to open the door at the right time”.
Obviously being well known will help the How do you deal with players establish themselves professionally after they retire, but is it enough? Charl areas of weakness and agrees that the exposure will help to some negativity? extent, as will the contacts that the players For at least two of our players, negative build up early in their careers. “But the situations actually worked in their favour balance is finding something you’ll enjoy,” to get them where they are today. For he adds. “We won’t battle to find a Jacques, others’ perceptions of his job but we’re still a bit nervous physical stature had an energising, about finding the right job so rather than demotivating, effect. “I need trust we’re not just working to put “I was often told I’m good, but bread God to open the too light and short to make it on the table.” professionally. To some people door at the “Another factor is that it’s a weakness that I’m not 110kg right time.” we won’t have the luxury and 6ft5in. Some people thought of trying out a whole lot of I’d reached my limit – and that was options because we’ll already something that hung on me for a be 35 or so. We’ll have to play some quite a while in my career. But in the end catch-up professionally. I wouldn’t be able it motivated me to get to the point where to walk straight into an audit firm now, I am today." even though I have an accounting degree,” After completing his Accounting said Meyer (who incidentally is in his first degree, Charl had to choose between year of his MBA to widen his options). rugby and studying. “Having my degree For Willem, who knows he doesn’t I thought I was headed for my Honours want to pursue a career in sports and a career in accounting, and I was communication, the option is to wait for happy with that,” he says. “Then I was an alternative opportunity to come up offered a contract with Western Province. through networking – “but I need to trust But my dad had a whole different picture 22 | www.connectmagazine.co.za
ot sB Ja
– he sent me to varsity to study accounting and become a CA! Looking back now I don’t think I let him down, even though at the time he was telling me I should study and forget about the rugby. How he felt motivated me – not to prove him wrong, but just to not let him down.” While team players occupy positions according to their strengths, their weaknesses can’t be wholly ignored – especially in professional sport. “Part of your strength is also knowing your weaknesses,” Meyer explains. “So your philosophy is to focus on your strengths and know your weaknesses so that you can try to improve them. Your weak area is never going to be your strength – but it can be less of a weakness.” Jacques elaborates further. “In rugby we’ve all got to be good at something specific, so we all adapt our game to focus on that. But as we get higher up in the game we need to be able to get just a little less poor at some of the other things. Sometimes you try to focus so much on a weakness that you miss your strengths, though.” Charl agrees. “If everybody plays to their strengths you’ll be successful,” he says. “For us, playing rugby is natural. But even
though it’s our strength and we do our best in that, it’s not easy. Especially when the coach is looking for you to be better in some other area.”
How do you leverage your individual strengths as a team?
“With us we have very specific functions in our positions,” says Jacques in conclusion. “Within the team, we have many units or threes – front row, loose forwards, etc. I might not be best flank but we’ve worked out a combination where as a loose forward we function well together. There may be a better flank out there but he might not benefit this three as much. It’s nice when you get to the point where you may not be best forward in the country but you’re making your fellow team members look good in certain situations, and they’re covering for your weaknesses in others.” Which brings us back to the image of the puzzle – interconnected pieces that together tell a story. May you find your ‘piece’ and enjoy the peace and joy that comes from plugging into God’s story. www.connectmagazine.co.za | 23
HAND OF THE HARVESTER
You are called to astronomically High Purposes God’s magnificent display of his handiwork - the universe
In a 2005 presentation aptly titled “Indescribable”, Louie Giglio gives a fascinating introduction to the scale of the universe and its creator, God. He describes the magnitude of the universe’s measurement scale, the light year. A light year is the distance the light would travel in a year, which is 5.88 trillion miles. Our galaxy alone has an estimated 200 billion stars and measures an estimated 100 000 light years (i.e. 5.88 trillion miles x 100 000) across. Scientists estimate that there could be 125 billion other galaxies in the visible universe alone.
You are patterned after God
Now imagine the mind that conceptualised such a universe. It is recorded in the Bible that God created humankind in his image and after his likeness (Genesis 1: 26). Humanity is patterned after the same God who conceptualised and created the enormity of the universe; a pattern which can also be observed in all living matter as it reproduces itself.
The high purposes of those called by God
Think of all men and women in the Bible called and used of God – from Abraham to Noah, Ruth to Esther, Isaiah to Malachi, and Peter to Paul. They were used for mighty high purposes that affected the destinies of nations. Now think of your life purpose and ask yourself this question: is it patterned after the enormity of God’s thoughts? If you believe you are patterned after God, your life purpose should be much bigger that what you can ever achieve on your own.
Is your thinking patterned after a limitless God?
Of the three levels of thinking outlined below, what level would you say describes your thinking? 24 | www.connectmagazine.co.za
Self-centred thinking: This thinking is dominated by thoughts about one’s own survival and happiness. The Bible teaches us to put to death this kind of thinking. Humanistic thinking: This thinking concerns itself with the advancement of humankind. No amount of human goodwill can redeem humankind from sin and death. God-scale thinking: This thinking is focused on aligning humanity to a mighty and limitless God. It is when we renew our minds to become Christ-like that we are able to experience this alignment.
You can limit God
Now here is the thing: your thinking can produce behaviour that limits God in your life. You may ask, “Is it possible to limit God?” Yes! This is exactly what the Israelites did. Verse 41 of Psalm 78 says “Yes again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy one of Israel”. Even though you are called to astronomically high purposes, they may never come to fruition if your thinking remains small and self-centred.
Your action challenge
Are you living a life of God-patterned purpose? Is your thinking on a human scale or on God’s scale? Are you limiting God, the Holy One of Israel, in your life – or are you allowing him to be the magnificent, all-powerful God that he is? If you want to know more about thinking patterns and how you can change them, visit www.worldchangersunlimited.org
Vezi Mncwango Life Coach and founder of World Changers Unlimited email@example.com
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HAND OF THE HARVESTER
Playing to your Strengths
s a Christian business person, who told you to focus on your weaknesses? I guess it comes from that universal drive to be the ‘perfect’ Christian, which many strive to become yet somehow fail to live up to. Overcome by the guilt of continually ‘missing the mark’, and wearied by this perpetual striving for some sense of perfection, you find yourself crashing and burning without ever asking who said you should be playing to your weaknesses in the first place. Could it not have been the evil one himself, who suggested to Eve that God was withholding knowledge from them by forbidding them to partake of a certain tree in the Garden of Eden? Was it not possibly the one who tried to tempt Jesus to make bread from stones by drawing attention to His fast-induced hunger? The one who induced Judas to provoke Jesus into siding with the freedom-fighting Zealots and thereby forcefully wrest political control from the Romans in Israel? It is none other than the father of liars, the accuser of the brethren, who religiously prompts and repeatedly reinforces your preoccupation with becoming that perfect person – to the extent that it becomes an idol, bowed down to daily – as you ever strive and never seem to actually arrive at this elusive destination. It’s time to say, “No More! I refuse to bow. I refuse to burn myself out, consumed by this fantasy of perfection. I forbid the sense of failure and guilt to overwhelm me any longer. Satan, get behind me!” But don’t just leave it there. Remember, the evil one specialises in finding work for idle hands, fantasies for idle minds, sloth for idle wills, and addictions for idle emotions, 26 | www.connectmagazine.co.za
seeking to wear out the saints of the Most High (see Daniel 7:25). Rather, turn the tables on him by adopting opposing actions and more positive reactions to this pressure to conform to this fantasy. Play to your strengths! Did the Master not say, “Well done, you good and faithful servant” to each of those who increased His investment by the application their respective talents (Matthew 25:14-30)? When Jesus said, “Occupy yourselves (trade, do business, transact) until I come,” he did not expect us to achieve this by playing to our respective weaknesses. In fact He spoke highly of the non-believers who for this very reason are more shrewd business folk than the children of the Kingdom. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, encourages us to adopt the 80:20 principle of focussing 80% of our resources on utilising our strengths, in order rise above the pack in order to take ourselves and our enterprises to the next level. It’s time to stop exhausting yourself chasing your tail, while obsessivelycompulsively persisting in trying to play to your productivity-limiting weaknesses. Instead, be reminded that “It is not in your own strength; rather it is the Lord, Who energises you to both will and do of His Good Pleasure, His Delight and His Satisfaction” (Philippians 2:13, adapted from The Expanded Amplified Bible). Furthermore, “You can do all things through Christ, which strengthens you” (Philippians 4:13, KJV). Bottom-line: play to your strengths! Carl Roodnick Carl Roodnick Associates Journalist and Courseware Designer email@example.com
Specializing in online community management, social media setup and management, graphic design, web design and email marketing. Elizabeth Houareau 083 445 1293
www.connectmagazine.co.za | 27
Adele shares two key insights that will help bring harmony to your work environment. The first deals with brain preferences and the second with personality – both key factors in letting your people play to their strengths.
nderstoods u s i :
HAND OF THE HARVESTER
INSIGHT 1: People are NOT your greatest asset!
We have all heard it before: “People are your greatest asset,” referring to your staff. While it sounds good, in reality you may shake your head thinking to yourself, “No, my staff are definitely not my greatest asset. They underperform, waste time all day, and then blame the company for things going wrong.” And so, many of us walk away disillusioned. I have good news! You are right: people are NOT your greatest asset. It’s the RIGHT people in the RIGHT jobs that are. And there’s a big difference between the two. Every person is born with brain preferences. Some are naturally good at technical things, whilst others are naturally good at dealing with
28 | www.connectmagazine.co.za
people. Some may call these strengths, others may call them giftings. Either way, people have natural areas that they excel in according to their brain preference. When you operate in your brain preference: • tasks become easier to do, • you are able to be more creative, • you accomplish more as you are more effective, and • work becomes more enjoyable as you excel in what you do and add more value to the company. This then results in increased commitment to your work and clients. Is this what you want to feel toward your company and clients? Is this what you want your staff to feel toward your company and clients? Imagine what your business would be like if everyone in the company felt this way! You are now talking about taking a company from being associated with ‘the norm’ or mediocrity and a ‘just do enough’ mentality to being a company that is filled with people who are proactive, effective and progressive. People who operate in their area of strength are more inspired toward their work for longer. Does this sound good? Here is how you can achieve it in your company: 1. Do a strengths-based assessment of all of the staff. 2. Ensure that everyone is in the right job according to their brain preference. 3. Adapt your leadership style to your people’s
brain preferences to get the best out of the individuals on the team.
4. Allow staff to use their strengths in the team and in their work. 5. Watch your team go from strength to strength!
The Power of Personality
Many companies blame cultural differences for poor working relationships between staff. But culture doesn’t play nearly as great a role in poor working relationships as personality differences do. Whenever we do personality-related exercises with teams, there are people from every culture in the different personality groups. When we ask individuals within teams what causes more work-related problems – i.e. culture or personality differences, personality differences win hands down every time. In the working world, we tend to throw different people together and just expect them to get along. Every person has natural strengths and perceived weakness related to their personality. For example, John may be very analytical, which makes him great at number crunching but sceptical of new ideas. And Busi may be a big picture thinker who’s less concerned with the ‘smaller details’ than keeping the client happy at all costs. Both are needed, and both have to work on the same team – but they drive each other crazy.
Here’s the rub: There is a big difference between perception and intention when it comes to personality-related weaknesses. The important thing is for everyone on the team to understand themselves and their fellow teammates better. In most cases, their fellow teammates are not trying to intentionally annoy them – that is just how they do things based on their personality. If we start to understand what could annoy others and how others naturally do things, we will not take offense as easily, thus improving working relationships daily. This wastes less business time as staff are more efficient since they are not preoccupied with unnecessary distractions or irritations. We need to take the time necessary to understand ourselves and each other by: 1. Doing a personality profiling exercise with our team 2. Spending time with each other in a non-work context where we can leave our ‘desk personalities’ behind and just be ‘real’ with each other. We all try to focus on utilising our personality strengths and minimising our perceived weaknesses. It is a wise leader who focuses on the team’s personality strengths. Posted on Thursday, 09 February 2012 at www.successco.co.za. Adele Benvie CEO - The Success Company firstname.lastname@example.org
THE CHOICE IS YOURS: On 21st June 2012, Spencer West reached the summit of Kilimanjaro. Spencer is a double amputee... and climbed all 22,000 steps of Kilimanjaro on his hands! That’s ‘possible’ redefined! What is possible in your life and mine depends very much on the choices we make. Choices are at the heart of success. You need to choose your goal, and then choose daily to remain focussed on it – not getting distracted by the ‘urgent’ things that always scream for your attention. Take regular time to remind yourself and your team what you are aiming for, and recognise even small achievements towards that goal. When something comes your way, ask if it is going to assist you in your goal or distract you from it. I am convinced that LIFE is a choice. You can either get sucked into someone else's choices, or you can start living the life you were intended to live. The choice is yours!
The rest is
Where is your house of success?
ost of my childhood, I was extremely business and 1.5 hours talking about the Lord. blessed. My family enjoyed an Though I never voiced a lack of respect for upper middle class standard of living Dad as a professional, my actions betrayed my with all of the amenities you’d expect: new true feelings. I poured myself into my studies cars, nice holidays and minimal exposure to and worked hard to earn industry credentials. serious financial stress. Yet, even with such I developed an expertise (or so I thought) at bountiful financial blessings, I never developed crunching numbers and analysing investment a sense of entitlement. Instead, gratefulness opportunities. By my late 20s, I was well on and generosity flourished. From a temporal my way to industry recognition and financial standpoint, life was great. success that had eluded most of my peers. Though it might be hard to believe, Little did I know that most of this ‘house of life was even better from success’ was built on sand. a spiritual standpoint. I was You see, as I became raised in a Christian home more learned, I became “As I became by parents who truly loved more confident in the more learned, the Lord. In fact, I’ve never knowledge of this world met anyone with a more and less dependent on the I became more intimate relationship with omniscient creator of the confident in the the Lord than my father. universe. Without realising You may have heard some it, I began to lean on my knowledge of this wives complain that their own understanding. world and less husbands changed when As my increased knowledge dependent on the the courting was over and puffed me up, it became the marriage began. With very natural to become wise omniscient creator Dad, the honeymoon with in my own conceit. And just of the universe.” the Lord never ended. as Saul didn’t realise when His Christian walk the Spirit left him (as the wasn’t limited to Lord was choosing David), private and church settings. He was a true I was no longer sensitive to the still, small voice. marketplace minister. As a pastor of a Praise the Lord that He loves His own small church, Dad also sold insurance and enough to correct them. And I was no savings products to provide for our family. exception. In 1985, the Lord brought trials On many occasions, I had the privilege that tested the foundations of what I had of accompanying him on appointments. built. He began to shake everything that We would pray on the way to the client’s could be shaken, so that only the things that home. Usually, I would come inside and do couldn’t be shaken would remain. By 1987, homework in their living room while they all I was deep into my wilderness experience sat down at the kitchen table. It was normal and very little of my ‘house of success’ was for Dad to spend 15 minutes taking care of left. Worse than the financial losses, I realised 30 | www.connectmagazine.co.za
that I had dishonoured both of my fathers’ Biblical perspective. And I hope never again names. I had come to the end of myself, and I to neglect this truth. was ready to give up. However, the Lord had Secondly, without Him, I can do nothing. different plans. It is a blessing to have natural gifts and Although He didn’t speak audibly, the abilities. Unfortunately, as we fully develop message was loud and clear. “Now that I our strengths, it is easy to forget where they have your attention, do you suppose clients came from. I must remember that my will be better off with someone who has strength will always pale in comparison to His. made mistakes and learned from them or As I acknowledge my dependency upon Him, with someone green, who will make more He is able work through me to produce fruit mistakes with their money?” As Elijah saw that makes a real difference in both this world a cloud the size of a man’s hand and knew and in the one to come. that abundant rain was around the corner, I As I play to my strengths, I know that sensed that I would soon the joy of the Lord is my be the beneficiary of God’s strength. And, in His amazing grace and mercy. presence, is fullness of joy. “When there is Today, I enjoy wealth One day, I hope to hear, a conflict between without sorrow and a level “Well done, good and the Word of God of contentment that the faithful servant…. Enter world will never know. into the joy of the Lord.” and the wisdom It took a great while to And I hope to hear it not of this world, become a faithful steward just for myself, but for my to whom the Lord could sons and my grandchildren. go with the entrust significant wealth, Thankfully, He who began eternal truth.” but the journey has a good work in me will be been rich and rewarding. faithful to complete it until Through this process, the that day. Lord has taught me many truths. Two have been critical to my success. First of all, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. It is the first step Ben Franklin toward building on a solid rock foundation. email@example.com Industry knowledge is very important to Ben is the Managing maximising our skills and talents. But God Director and Senior Advisor at Franklin has chosen the foolish things of this world to Wealth Advisors, Inc in confound the wise. When there is a conflict Illinois, USA and was between the Word of God and the wisdom of recently in South African this world, go with the eternal truth. There co facilitating the Biblical is no greater view than that provided by a Entrepreneurship Course. www.connectmagazine.co.za | 31