This or that?
“It is those who concentrate on but one thing at a time who advance in this world. The great man or woman is the one who never steps outside his or her specialty or foolishly dissipates his or her individuality.” ― Og Mandino, author
For the first few years their stage name was The Four Aims. That changed in 1956 when they became The Four Tops, a dancing group that sang. Over those beginning years, they waffled from singing to dancing but, even then, were leaning toward dance. They focused on choreographing their rhythm and swag stage presence and were very proud of it. In 1959, while performing as the warm-up act for a big headliner in a famous night club, they were still dancing and singing. This night club audience responded with loud applause at the close of each song and wanted more. The owner of the club was pleased. But when he met with them after the show he said, “You guys are good, but the only way you’re going to be great in this world of entertainment is to decide if you’re going to be either dancers or singers.” They decided to sing.
After over three decades with singing as their one thing, The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the group #79 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
It’s easy to move away from your one thing. Years ago, when I joined a national consulting firm, I spent my first years working with individuals and teams around clarity and planning. I loved my work. I was soon promoted, however, and paid quite a bit more money, to become a major client’s main contact while managing a group of consultants who were working with individuals and teams around clarity and planning.
I didn’t love my work anymore. I was told I was good at managing and marketing, but the work wasn’t in my area of giftedness. I had stepped outside my specialty for ego’s sake. Fortunately, I had a coach at that time. He noticed I had lost my zeal and asked me this question: “What makes you feel most alive? Consulting or managing? This or that?”
I walked away from the security of a big organization back to my work of guiding teams and individuals in creating inspiring strategies for their leadership in life. I love my work again.
Journal Entry: We have all known: a confident employee who took a promotion way outside their area of competence; a business team that chased after a new profit center in a market they had no business being in; a husband and wife who bowed to the popular notion that a busy family is a happy family; or a financially successful person who believes that more leisure will bring purpose and fulfillment in life without considering that there might be loving God who put a life-giving purpose inside of each of us. This or That? We will all be faced with make a choice at some point in time. Do you have a person who will pose the “this or that” question to you in your leadership and life?
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
The Bible in the book of Mark 8:36
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