A few years ago when I first began writing in my blog, I decided to share my work with my professional network on LinkedIn. At that time I had already established a bit of a following on Facebook with over 2,000 Likes on the website dedicated page that I had established to house my writing and offer quotes and items to inspire and motivate others. Initially I was a little bit hesitant to offer my personal life story up to my colleagues and industry connections and friends. But I truly believed that God was calling me to share with anyone who might have an interest in listening. I believed wholeheartedly that if my story could help just one person through a difficult time in their life, then it would all be worth it.
So each time that I contributed to my blog, I began copying the links to my posts in the news feed on LinkedIn. I also established a link to my website (www.setback2comeback.com) in my profile for anyone in my network who wanted access to it. A few weeks into things, I received a call from the HR manager handling my employment at that time. Though hesitant with her approach, she instructed me that it was in my boss’s interest that I remove my blog from my LinkedIn page and refrain from any further submissions. The news stung. I called my manager directly to discuss the issue with him, and he insisted that business and personal were intended to remain separate and that there was no room for negotiation. He grew very aggressive with me about the situation and turned into someone that quite honestly I had trouble recognizing. Forced to comply with his demands, I felt completely alienated by my company.
I asked myself repeatedly, how could this be enforceable in the first place? My employer didn’t have any ownership stake in my LinkedIn profile. The company wasn’t paying for any type of premium service for me to utilize for business. And my profile had existed long before I even began working for them. Why was it their business to get involved in my writing? And why did they feel threatened by it? After all, what I was sharing was meant to be inspirational, faith based, and motivating. Why would anyone be ashamed of that? I certainly was not ashamed. I was proud of my story and the unique perspective that I had to offer others.
In the time that has passed since that incident, I’ve learned a lot about how people tend to react to others in a professional setting. Most seem to feel very intimidated by a completely honest approach towards life. Perhaps it makes them feel less secure in their own skin? Regardless of the reason, it’s really sad that employees feel the pressure to hide who they are in their personal lives behind the suit that they wear in their professional careers. None of us were born without flaws. Our imperfections are often the things that make us most unique. God does not make mistakes. We were all created with a distinct purpose in mind. And if we aren’t able to utilize our whole being in our working lives, then I think we perhaps need to question what (and who) exactly it is that we are working for anyway. If it’s just about a paycheck, it shouldn’t be. Life is meant to carry far more meaning than that.
We spend over 30% of our working lives week in and week out heading to the careers of our choosing. That figure is of course based upon a 40 hour, full-time work week. So that leaves less than 70% of our days available for the development and advancement of our personal lives (keep in mind that we spend 30% of that sleeping!). The point that I’m trying to make is that if you’re compromising who you are for your career, you’re only functioning effectively in the skin that you were given on a part-time basis. And if you’re neglecting the skills and talents that make you, YOU at work, then there is a strong likelihood that you’ve grown comfortable in doing it at home, too. And that’s a shame, because God has a plan for all that He’s instilled in you. But you can’t mine diamonds part-time; it’s a full-time commitment.
I want to challenge you today to give 100% of YOU to that 30% of your life that might have been neglected up until now. Your career is meant to do more than serve to pay the bills. You’ll be amazed by all of the wonderful people that you’ll attract to your life when you’re living free full-time. I promise you, your success will not be hindered. People will admire your approach and your honest living will inspire others to break free of the chains that bind them….and there is no greater work than that!
May God Bless!