Who Contributes to My Success? by Beth Crosby
Part of the Success Series, a series of Question/Answer pieces centred on John Maxwell’s The Value of Asking Questions
What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
Beth: I am not perfect. I will never be perfect. But perfection is less important than authenticity.
Judging myself against perfection is a path to certain delusion and failure. Perfection is elusive, lovely, finite and impossible. Gauging myself against my authentic self, by facing painful realities, causes me to be a better version of myself.
Reflecting on my life and choices while reflecting on what I am actually capable of doing is painful. Bridging the gap squeezes out my ego and delusion of grandeur.
Comparing “could’ve” and “should’ve” with “did” carves a deep sense of failure into my sensitive self-identity. But the salve of possibility helps me create the person I was designed to be before I was conceived. The goal, then, requires that I become an authentic person who actualises past, present and future. The perfect future is a cliff face that ends short while I’m chasing perfection.
An authentic person realises valleys are tough but they offer an opportunity to learn and grow. The perfect now is to walk with purpose toward the cliff’s edge while gathering the rope necessary to rappel to a realistic future that I will determine with experience and new information. The future will never match the picture of perfection I envision now. But my goal is to take the path ordained by the Lord before I was knit together in my mother’s womb.
What are you learning now?
Beth: People relate to others’ imperfections. Humility, like patience, is not something one learns without trials. Nor is letting go of judgments.
This season of my life is nothing like the one I envisioned for myself. The successful, well-educated, well-spoken professional living well from her hard-earned career has not come to fruition.
Instead, I am working in a job substantially below my abilities and pay grade. Part of the reason is choices I made. Another part is self-doubt coupled with low confidence. (If this isn’t being gut-wrenchingly honest, I don’t know what is). Choosing poor mates has resulted in sub-par success. My biggest reason for stunted success, as I define it, is that my health has failed twice since I was 30. So my successful kidney transplant a year ago is a HUGE success that was never on my goal list! God knew the experiences of my journey and He always meets me in my need with opportunity to learn.
While judging others by their livelihood, clothes, cars or even kids is easy when we’re fresh out of college and full of answers, reality strikes a blow that can sucker-punch the strongest of us.
I believe that this season the lesson on my path is to learn to be humble, more compassionate and understanding. If I have to learn patience before I can die, I will likely be immortal!
How has failure shaped you?
Beth: Failure has defined me.
Although I earned good grades and have worked hard in every job, I accept that my life has been more of a series of failures than successes. We, as humans, find counting our failures and mistakes much easier than calculating successes. We choose to dwell on failed careers, missed promotions, joblessness, lost relationships and fewer or inferior material goods than those we measure ourselves against.
Listing our successes seems difficult sometimes. But while responding to an imagined, “So you think you are better than I am?!”, I was able to recognise some of my successes.
- I’ve lived on my own and always relied on God for His provision;
- I try to enrich others’ lives;
- I have been through dialysis and the health challenges of kidney failure – twice;
- I successfully negotiated the purchase price while buying my most recent car;
- I’ve walked away from unhealthy relationships and enjoyed the freedom I earned.
Failure makes me stronger and my perception of failure changes from a total loss to an opportunity to make better decisions when I choose to view my life through the lens of following God’s path for my life instead of my own.
Whom do you know whom I should meet?
Beth: Without my faith in God, I never would have survived the past five years. Within a three-month span, I left my husband after years of considering separation, I was forced to close a business that I loved to find a job with better pay and benefits and I was diagnosed with kidney failure and unable to work. Many times, I wished I were dead. I considered dying at my own hand. I dabbled in unhealthy relationships.
But God always welcomed me home and encouraged me to follow Him and His plans. He has a purpose for all of these challenges. I brought some on myself but not all. Still, He answered my repentant call.
Father God always answered my prayers. He provided friends, family and occasional part-time jobs for income above disability. After three years, He provided a kidney so I could get back to a more normal and productive life. The job I have is neither what I want, nor what I am capable of accomplishing, but it lightens the financial burden and teaches me some difficult interpersonal skills. (e.g., People lie and have mal-intent, but God never does).
I hope you know God and his son Jesus. God loved us enough to create each of us individually. He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross for our transgressions. He offers an opportunity to exchange our sins for mercy and grace and gives us the Holy Spirit to walk with us on this earth. On those most difficult days, God gave me strength, love and hope. He will do the same for you, if you ask and believe!
What have you read that I should read?
Beth: The Servant.
Every good leader is first a servant who understands the needs of the company and employees. “The Servant” is an allegorical account of several participants in a retreat at a monastery to become better leaders. Their experiences teach each person how to become an effective servant leader who earns respect.
What have you done that I should do?
Beth: Leave unhealthy relationships, lock the door and never look back.
How can others add value to you?
Beth: Others can add value to me by letting me learn from their experience and advice. Mentors, co-workers and friends all add value with the time we spend together and through sharing stories, lessons and challenges. Hiring me also adds both intellectual and financial value!
How can I add value to you? A friend recently describes me as perspicacious, that is, possessing keen mental perception, understanding quickly, discerning, making accurate judgments or shrewd. My candour, coupled with sensitivity and an alternate cause and effect, provide understanding you might not have considered before.
Beth Crosby is professional freelance copy editor with experience in both fiction and non-fiction writing, pet sitting and kidney disease. She applies her plethora of trivial knowledge to improve others’ writing through copy editing.
This is one contribution, of many, to the Success Series, a series of Question/Answer pieces centred on John Maxwell’s The Value of Asking Questions. To read other contributions in this Series, please go to the original introduction of the piece, Who Contributes to Your Success
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