Making History.

Catalyst Dallas 2013

Last week, I shared a post of my thoughts from Catalyst Dallas. In particular, I highlighted a session by Brenee Brown – a researcher and TED alumni with over 9 million views of her presentation.

Today, I want to share another presentation at Catalyst. Craig Groschele is the pastor of Life Church in Oklahoma City. Craig himself (from a remote distance) is an interesting guy – kind of the hard-nosed coach character from a 1980’s made for TV after school special. That said, he’s a great speaker on leadership.

He now has a book available called Altar Ego. You can also find a podcast on the subject at YouTube.

At Catalyst, Groschele focused on 4 phases we go through as leaders, but finished with what may be the most powerful concept of the conference.

Why do I exist?

Making History on the Photo-collective

Photo Credit: Dunechaser via Compfight cc

He started the last 1/3 of his presentation by asking this question,

My life means nothing to me if only…

It’s the purpose question everyone asks at some point in their life. Groschele continued to share 3 levels we go through in answering that question.

1. Make a name.

Most people start here, and some (sadly) stay here. The person at this place says –

I’m good…anyone in my way is bad.

It’s the pre-2000’s business model. I will destroy anyone and everyone in my way. It’s all about making a name, dominating market share, putting our competition (and their friends) out of business.

I’m a proud supporter of the current “You are the brand” trend. Here’s the danger though – I can believe the lie that it truly is ALL about ME. There’s more, which leads to level 2…

2. Make a difference.

As some point (hopefully), I see that building me (whether me is a person or a business) bigger and bigger isn’t enough. I need to make a difference in the world around me. The person or business at this level says –

We’re good. Everyone in my field is bad.

At this stage you see businesses making subtle or straight-forward shots at their competition. In the photography realm, I see photographers (sometimes out of true concern for their clients) take shots at competition who they feel lacks artistic integrity.

Here’s the problem – it’s a no win situation. The organization is not good enough to make a lasting difference. Most of us become stuck here. We are constantly striving to become better to make a bigger difference, but there is more than just making a short-term (past this generation) difference.

3. Make history.

This is it. What can I be a part of that will more than make a name for myself or make a difference for a while, but it will truly change the world for generations to come. Moving to this level means we say –

Only one is good. Only one is an enemy.

Groschele, coming from a Christian perspective, says only God is good and only Satan is truly an enemy. If you come from a different background, you might label these differently, but the concept is the same. We’re not fighting for me or my organization, and we’re not fighting against a human foe. We’re fighting for true good, and we’re fighting against true evil.

Bill Gates initially set out to make a name for himself, but quickly began to make a difference through his business Microsoft. Gates truly has made a difference in our world by building better computer software, but chances are this difference won’t last much past the generation we are living in. My grandchildren won’t be interested much in Microsoft (my children may not).

However, through The Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation, he is making history. He’s creating something that has the potential to change not just this generation, but generations to come.

Where are you?

Looking over the past couple of years, I see myself desiring to move from stage 2 to stage 3. I clearly remember sitting by the public pool last summer, watching my kids, thinking, “There is something more for me.” Though I’ve been actively working to make a difference in people’s lives for a large part of my life, I know I am made for something more.

You are too. Are you ready to move to the next level?

I don’t know exactly how to get there, but I know it starts by being intentional. It starts by consciously noting there is something more…and I want it.

Why do you exist?

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