For me growing up, results were all that mattered. Maybe it was the culture that I grew up in. But maybe it was also partly due to laziness. Being born in Singapore, we prided ourselves at being a "meritocratic" nation, and the government did do many things to show that. We were given awards (often money) for achieving good grades. Students were streamed into different classes also according to grades. You got into the school of your choice because you achieve the right... you guessed it, grade!
Now, I'm a book smart kinda fella. I have a very, very good memory for details which served me well in a math and science heavy environment. I also found out that I could rely on my natural abilities and I wasn't always putting in 100% effort (or as a Singaporean, 110% effort). I mostly got through alright. And then we moved to Australia that had a very different education system. In many areas Singapore was a couple of years ahead and I coasted through high school whilst getting the right grades. Results proved that I was doing great!
Moving into the world of being a church planter was the pin that burst that bubble. I am greatly passionate about the church and I actually do put a lot of effort into it. I thought that my increase in effort meant that I would have better results. Better than my academic grades anyway, which were high. I had those kinds of expectations about life. And I think lots of other people are the same. The amount of effort you put in equates directly to your results, which ultimately gives you your sense of identity.
In the real world though, people do not act like integers in an equation. You can't stick them in a formula to get the results you want. People aren't your pawns. Strangely for a pastor, I knew that but I didn't really know it. Our church steadily grew, but it didn't grow according to the way I wanted it to. What did that say about my success?
What did that say about me? Who I am? Whether I am effective or not? Am I really called by God? Am I really significant?
What does your version of success say about you? I found out that a lot of what our culture says about our success is based on smoke and mirrors; they don't really say much at all about our reality. I also learnt that if I don't know what my target is, my definition of success, I don't really know how to work towards it.
I have radically rethought success over the last 18 months, and I can't wait to share with you what true success looks like!