Growing up my mom always had a wooden yardstick tucked away behind the refrigerator, ready to be pulled out at a moment’s notice. Often it was when somebody in the family thought one of us kids had “grown some more”. We would stand up next to the wall and mom would carefully measure our height and be sure to make a big deal if we had scored another inch taller.
Those were the days when little things mattered. An inch was worth celebrating. Now that I am older it seems like everyone wants to talk about the finish line, what we adults call success. There are books on success by self-proclaimed success gurus. For me, I prefer hearing about an entrepreneur’s struggles and little victories–how they started with nothing and worked and fought and overcame and finally achieved their dream.
Your story is uniquely your own. Your focus should be regularly measuring yourself against how you were doing last month or last year. Celebrate those small achievements along the way just like when your mom made a big deal about you growing an inch taller. And can someone please tell me what “success” is anyway? How do you measure it? Success is like a yardstick with no numbers, only you can really define what it is, and if you don’t do that it can be vague and fleeting.
Progress, on the other hand, is something more tangible. Imagine your trusty yardstick. How does your business stack up compared to last month? Are you sharing, connecting, praising, calling, driving to and meeting people. Are sales up, about the same, or down? Is your calendar more or less booked? Have you reached out to more people about the new promotions and catalogs? If so treat yourself to something nice, share about it to a trusted friend, and pat yourself on the back.
The Apostle Paul preached about the Good News everywhere he went, even though he knew people weren’t always going to be receptive. Worse, he knew his work might even land himself in prison. And it did. It was there, sitting in a cell, that he worked diligently and wrote one of his greatest letters (what later became known as the book of Ephesians).
The latter half of Ephesians makes clear that growth occurs primarily in community with others, iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17). Your Christian “walk” (in other words, your daily life) is to be characterized by unity, holiness, love, wisdom, and perseverance. Does that describe your personal and professional life recently? What have been the results? You need to pause, take stock, and change things up where necessary. Being mindful of your progress in your business and in your spiritual walk is something you can measure and it’s the wise thing to do.
Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people) Ephesians 5:15-16  –Jim

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