Everything seems to be labeled, categorized, tagged, itemized, grouped, classified.
I can’t go too far into Google without Ads appearing everywhere–seemingly “made for me”.
Categories in themselves are not bad or good. They just are.
Our culture is really good at categories. Sometimes they help. Like when I’m looking for a specific style of running shoe, or a particular brand of shampoo.
But when it comes to people. It’s unhelpful–even harmful.
For example, if I know that Joe is a superb graphic designer, I’ll meet with him to talk about the graphics for our upcoming Marketing campaign.
But if Joe never gets invited to the overall visioning & strategy meeting? Will his graphics be helpful? And how will Joe feel about his graphics?
Joe’s graphics may not capture the heart of the marketing campaign. The campaign loses, but more importantly, so does Joe. Joe may feel like he didn’t have “what it takes” to make the campaign shine.
We categorize people according to their “talents” or “giftings”. Assuming if they do their part well, the whole will come together. This is a lie.
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Let’s say that Phone Company Z is categorized as a “landline” (requiring an actual wire to work) phone company?
How would Company Z do in 2017? My teenager has no idea what a pay phone is. And how many of us have “landline” at home? (Not counting your grandmother.)
In 1990 (27 years ago), Company Z had it good, market was happy, employees content, happy board, and shareholders, why would they change anything?
Everything is fine, right? Except all their monetary “eggs” are in a “basket” that would soon become obsolete.
Does Company Z see their problem?
The Problem: Re-invented
In 2016, if everyone in my life, my husband and kids, boss, friends, seemed happy (enough), why change anything?
Everything is fine, right?
So, my success in 2016 would be based on the results of certain categories: wife, mom, employee, friend, mentor, etc. But are those categories my identity?
Some of you might think “yes, that’s who I am.” But what happens when one those “categories” becomes “obsolete” (Like Company Z)?
Death of a loved one
Moving away from community you love
Losing a beloved friendship
Teenage Son drops out of school
What then? This is when our GPS goes nuts, endlessly repeating “Re-calculating”.
What often happens is “who we are” gets lost in all the roles we fill. But those roles are not who we are. Those are simply a category we fill. Our identity is much more.
But if who I am is NOT mom, dad, engineer, writer, pastor, entrepreneur, businessman, CEO, President, then who am I?
And how do we go about finding ourselves again? What if we don’t know how?