At the end of the road, I will not be asking about outcomes.
I’ll be asking if I was faithful to my gifts, to the needs I saw around me,
to the ways in which my gifts might meet those needs,
to “the truth of the work itself.”
It’s easy for me to focus on results instead of the process of getting to the results. And then I can just as easily become discouraged when the results don’t match my expectations. I always want to help more people, have greater impact, be better…It helps me to step back and remember that I have no control over how my gifts are received in the world. No matter how thoughtful my words or considered my actions, there will be days in which the recipient of my words and actions isn’t ready to hear them, doesn’t see the intention, can’t feel the concern. But that doesn’t mean I should stop trying to be thoughtful and considerate. It doesn’t mean that I should keep my gifts to myself or feel that my gifts are too small or unworthy of notice.
When I start telling myself that my gifts aren’t wanted, I am the one devaluing my gifts and focusing too much on the results. Can I accept that not everyone wants what I have and that’s why we all have different gifts? Instead of closing down, can I be more generous? Can I focus on the journey and giving more of value than on what I’m getting back? Can I be satisfied knowing that I’ve helped some people, and that that help ripples out to others?
The only control I have is over what I put out into the world. I am responsible for using my gifts in the best way I know how. I have no control over which gifts I’ve been given. All I can do is develop them, use them, and offer them over and over, trusting in the positive energy that spreads out from that. It’s not about the numbers or the results. It’s about deciding in each moment what I have to give to the world and then giving it.