When I was in my 20’s, I had the tendency to focus on my performance at work. Not having the privilege to have a college education has driven me to perform twice as hard as my peers. I needed to prove my worth in the companies I worked for back here in the Philippines. I derived satisfaction from the job titles I was able to earn. I felt love and accepted by my family for every promotion I got.
However, the time came that I felt the pressure and stress of trying to maintain such a high level of performance excellence. I was afraid that I would lose both my identity, value, love and acceptance if I slowed down. I felt trapped between the stress I created for myself and the performance I needed to maintain in order to keep my position. This was all before I turned to God.
Turning to God made me realise that I was already loved and accepted. Turning to God made me realise that my identity is defined through my relationship with God our father. Being at peace with this, I was able to perform at my best without the fear I used to carry in my mind.
Our current education system is designed to have our children focus on performance. Performing academically and/or in sports have been centre to our educational system. Our children’s identity are somewhat defined by their performance in academe or in sports. They feel the love and acceptance of their family, classmates, teachers and friends when they excel.
We carry this trait as we grow older into adulthood. We bring this behaviour in the workplace. It becomes very important for us and our future that we perform well at work. The job titles we earn becomes a ‘badge’ of honour. We link our identity to the role we play in the workplace. Our identity is linked to our being a doctor, lawyer, senior manager, Vice President, CFO, CEO, HR Head and so on. The love and acceptance of the people around us is linked to our identity. It’s very similar to when we were in school.
If left unchecked, this can cause us problems in the long run. What if, for whatever reason, we are no longer able to perform at our peak? What if we move out of our prestigious role in the company for a job with a lesser title but more meaningful work? What if we retire from our VP role?
In essence, this is our performance flow:
Performance -> Identity -> Love and Acceptance
At a recent Authentic Business workshop I attended, I realised that the flow is completely opposite of what it should be. The true flow must start from Love and Acceptance. We first have be centered in love and acceptance. We are loved and accepted by our maker. Finding peace in the love and acceptance of our father above is a truly refreshing feeling.
Once we are centered in God’s love and acceptance, our identity is also clearer. Our identity is defined by our relationship with our father above. Our identity is defined by the purpose that God gives us.
Rooted in God’s love and acceptance defines our identity. Our identity now fuels our performance. We perform at our best because we are loved and accepted. We perform at our best because our identity is not rooted in the world around us. We perform at our best because our identity is rooted in God’s love and acceptance.
God’s love and acceptance -> Identity -> Performance
Let us all perform at our best to honour the provider of our talents and opportunities. Let us all perform at our best because our identity is rooted in God’s unwavering Love and Acceptance.