Jun 202015 2 Responses

Do What You Do

Originality is a mirage. The world is too big for anyone to truly be original. We are all copies of something or someone. Yet there is a thing we do. We take our God-given makeup and we use it to express ourselves, make money, spend time, raise kids, etc.

One of the most difficult aspects of growing up is trying to figure out who we are. When I was in college, a student asked our old professor a question about identity. The professor laughed and said, “Son, you won’t even know your speaking voice until you are forty.” It takes a long period of time to figure out who we are and what we want to do. (See: Do the Work)

In order to learn, we try different things, emulate other people, and search for who we want to be. Oftentimes what we think we want and what we actually want aren’t the same things. There is no way for us to know this divide until we try. I always thought it would be fun to be a college professor until I started teaching adjunct classes. While I loved teaching, I couldn’t stand grading papers, the extra demands on my time, and dealing with the paperwork demanded by the university. I thought I wanted to be a college professor, but when I was one, I didn’t like it.

Part of growing up is trying new things, seeing what they are like, and determining who you want to be.

Once you figure out what you do, you should do it. Without explanation or apology, you should do what you do.

But know this–it won’t be easy. At every turn you will have two people pulling you to be something you are not. (See: Never Try to Prove Yourself)

The first threat is you. Doing what you do takes humility because you can’t do everything. You have weaknesses. You can only do so many things. To choose one thing is not to choose something else. Humility allows us to recognize our limitations, embrace them, and to choose our actions.

Pride will tempt us to do more than we are able. It will cause us to overestimate our ability or importance. We won’t be able to do what we do because we will be trying to do everything.

Conversely, guilt can hinder us. We can assume our limitations and weaknesses are unique to us. We often underestimate the faults of our heroes. Whether they be a celebrity we don’t know or a friend we deeply respect, we think their lives are more well put together than they actually are. We see their strengths, but fail to see their faults. Guilt tells us we should be better, do better, and accomplish more than what is humanly possible.

The most important step in doing what you do, is allowing yourself to appreciate who you are and embrace what it is that you do.

The second threat which may prevent you from doing what you do is others. Doing what you do takes courage because you will have to be able to endure criticism from others. Some are well-intended. Some are unaware that their criticism is damaging. Many are stifling the work of others in order to justify their own failures. (See: Do You Know What You Should’ve Done)

As a leader, I regularly have people telling me what I should be doing. Most of the time, what they are suggesting is a wonderful idea; it just doesn’t fit who I am. On other occasions people assume you can add one thing to your schedule or change some part of your personality without having any negative consequences. They fail to understand that every pro has its con. They are unaware that a leader must make strategic decisions which will eliminate the possibility of experiencing some good outcomes. (See: Every Pro Has Its Con)

Even on this website, people often comment that I should do something more or cover some topics I have not covered. While many times their suggestions are good, in some instances they are asking me to do something I have strategically chosen not to do. While it would be fine for me to promote a political party or add Biblical verses to every post, it’s not what I want to do on this platform. To do so would be a change of strategy. It’s not wrong for others to do those things. That is what they do, but it’s not what I do. I need to do what I do.

And so do you.

At work. You have skills and abilities. You can’t do everything, but you can do some things very well. Figure out how you best operate, find a job that best fits who you are, and do your very best. Don’t regret that you aren’t someone else. Don’t be envious of others who have other skills. Do what you do.

In marriage. Great marriages come in many different ways. While healthy marriages may have common qualities, they have many different expressions. Work on your weaknesses, but don’t be defined by them. If both partners are happy, the marriage is healthy, and you are headed in a good direction, accept that as a couple there are some things you don’t do well and move on.

In parenting. Not every parent is the same. Don’t feel pressure to have every strength of every good parent you know. There are some things which my kids will not get from me. I wish it was different, but it’s not. However, there are many good things they will get from me. As a parent, I need to do what I do to the best of my ability.

It sounds simple, but one of the most difficult aspects of life is deciding what you want to do and then actually doing it. To do so, not only will you have to do the work to figure out who you are, but you will also have to have the humility to accept your limitations and the courage to ignore other people when they attempt to take you off course.

2 Responses to Do What You Do

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