Not so long ago, I was invited to attend an Executive Personal Brand workshop, designed to help leaders distinguish themselves. Always disdainful of corporate events (because of their tendency to crush individuality and cultivate conformity), I only went along because it was a day out of the office. Predictably, we began with infantile mirroring behaviour exercises and I instantly switched off, preferring the hypnotic charms of the riverside view. However, my interest was piqued when we returned from lunch to find the conference table strewn with a range of photographs. The facilitator instructed us to select three images that represented our personal brand and make a short presentation to the group.
I studied the photographs carefully, before selecting images that depicted me as a leader with the ability to unlock potential in others and who regularly reminded people that life was meant to be fun. I was so sure of my choices that I volunteered to be the first in the group to make a presentation. All went well and I returned to my seat with the group’s applause ringing in my ears. However, just before I sat down, I heard an inner voice clearly say, “You’re not doing any of those things in your current role”. The message stopped me in my tracks. It was certainly true. Although I was in a leadership position, it didn’t accommodate any expression of my true self. Feeling deeply unsettled, I spent the rest of the afternoon reflecting on the implications of this epiphany.
Knowing God as I did, I suspected change was imminent, so I asked Him for guidance. He counselled me to prepare for departure, but advised against finding a new position. Naturally, I assumed this meant He was sending me an unsolicited opportunity, so I did nothing. Four months later, I was made redundant. It’s fair to say that this unexpected calamity precipitated the nadir of my existence. I had never known despair like it. I tumbled from the mountaintop and headed straight into the abyss. But even as I trembled with rage (at God) and fear (at my prospects), I knew this was not a chance event. It had been orchestrated by a God who was determined I fulfil my true potential. He forced me to the negotiating table and I eventually acquiesced to His plan, even when I didn’t understand it.
The fact is that most of us remain in unsatisfactory roles, rather than risk dismantling the status quo. We’re conditioned to live in fear and subconsciously encourage others to do the same. We make excuses about better the devil you know and use the failures of others to explain our inertia. God understands this. That’s why He regularly disrupts our lives with unwelcome developments. I’ve often read that when people share their dreams with God, His only complaint is that they ask for so little. Is it any surprise that He resorts to extreme measures to wake us up?
I’d love to finish by telling you that I’m now fulfilling my true potential, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. However, a time will come when I’ll marvel at the turn of events and thank God for his intervention. Until then, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I’m on my way.