I’m slowly making my way through Donald Miller’s Storyline. It’s a book designed to guide you through crafting the stories you want to live. It’s a timely guide for me in this stage of life. As I turned 30 a month ago, I realized my life has become much more focused on a clear direction and set of goals then it was even a year ago. I know more about who I am, what I want, and what I think it takes to get there.
However, even though there is some more mental clarity, I still need to do quite a bit of work in articulating what those stories are and how I want to live them out.
One of the first steps Donald Miller takes readers through is to clearly identify the top 5 (and no more) roles we play in life. Mine are: Spiritual Being, Husband, Father, Leader, and Writer/Speaker.
As I’ve identified these roles, it’s become painfully obvious to me how easily distracted I get as I pursue these life roles and stories. I get distracted with less meaningful things – things like what people think of me, TV shows like Million Dollar Listing: New York, and how I’m feeling at that particular moment.
But these distractions all take away from the most essential ingredients to pursuing these life roles.
I recently had several inspired moments that pointed me towards the essential ingredients:
* In a conversation with my good friend, Dave Holvig, he said: “It’s amazing to me how much work is put in behind the scenes to be great at your craft. What people don’t see is the thousands of hours people pursue their craft when no one is watching to make it look easy.”
* In a blog post written by Joel Houston, the main worship leader for Hillsong United, Joel talked about how in order to become a better guitar player and musician, he listens to ALL kinds of music ALL the time – whether it’s similar to his genre or not. All of it makes him a better guitar player.
* And finally, I read this in the book I’m also currently reading, On Writing. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Stephen King, On Writing.
The essential ingredient? Practice and intentionality. If I want to be a great father, which I do, I need to practice. I need sweat equity. I need to be engaged. I also need to focus on my role, to not let distractions get in the way. And I need to be intentional. What questions am I asking other fathers? What books am I reading? How am I paying attention?
The same is true of being a husband, a Christian, a leader, and a writer/speaker. If I want to truly live out great stories, I need to practice and I need to be intentional about growing in these areas.
I know these essential ingredients aren’t all-encompassing, but they seem to me to be the most important for me in this season of life.
What other ingredients would you add?