I was recently asked to participate in a focus group at church; selected to provide input on a potential new ministry. Due to my background, my experience, education, and contributions to date; my involvement was seen as valuable. Yesterday, I entered a room and, with a handful of other men, gave my opinion on a variety of topics. For about an hour, we engaged in conversation about what this endeavor might look like. We shared dreams, fears, and asked questions of our own.
At the end of the conversation, the leader of the group asked one final question: “Are you in, or out?”
Have you ever thought about the number of decisions you make every single day? Most of them are fairly easy and have minimal impact. What we eat for breakfast, what we wear to work, what route we travel, or which radio station we listen to on the way – all of these decisions get made, typically without much thought. And there’s little danger in choosing one option over another.
But there’s another decision you have to make every day, and I hope you are much more intentional about it. Are you in, or are you out?
You see, most people get up every day and go to work. It’s once they get there that the decision has to be made. Those who decide they are “in” approach their work intentionally. They seek to their best, regardless of the circumstances and view their occupation as something important. They engage in work that matters – to their customers, their coworkers, and their teams.
Other people show up for work and engage in work that leaves them unfulfilled. They grumble about the new policy that’s been introduced, or the lack of good products, or the goals that are set too high. Even though they show up every day, their mission isn’t to make things better, it’s to make others just as miserable as they are. These people say they’re “in,” but their actions tell you they are decidedly “out.”
There’s a third group that seem to be on the fence. They need a paycheck, or they need insurance, and so they accept the best offer presented to them in the moment. They go through the motions day to day, but don’t really feel any attachment to the work they do. Their performance bounces up and down because they produce good work when they feel like it (or when they’re actually held accountable), and coast when they don’t. These people may not feel like they’ve made a choice, but they have. They are “out.” They just haven’t said it out load.
December is always a month of reflection for me. It’s the threshold of a new year, and my birthday occurs on the 22nd. I always wind up thinking about where I’ve been, where I am currently, and where I want to be. And I make decisions, decisions that communicate how I will spend my precious time and energy going forward.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve decided to opt-out of some optional aspects of my life. I’ve pulled away from commitments that I can’t get passionate about in order to devote myself fully to those that excite me. I’m also looking at the various aspects of my job and identifying those where I need to do a better job of being “in.”
I don’t want just a job. I don’t to just go through the motions. I want to be inspired, involved in control innovative, integral, and incredible at what I do. It all starts with deciding that I’m in!
Are you in or out?