Categories
Weekly Blog

Your Work Does Not Prove Your Worth

Daily I receive an inspirational/educational email from Reverend Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church in Southern California; also author of Purpose Driven Life and Purpose Driven Church…two great reads. One of the things I love about Rev. Rick’s emails is that they are ALL related to real life issues, things we face every day. Related, I believe that we as Catholics can learn much from our non-Catholic Christian Brothers and Sisters while maintaining our Catholic orthodoxy. Rev. Rick is a good example of that. You can get information at https://pastorrick.com


His January 16th email was titled, Your Work Does Not Prove Your Worth. It’s repeated below in its entirety…because it’s that good. And very consistent with my message. You can also find it here.


Photo by Vlada Karpovich

When you find yourself stuck in a cycle of overworking, you need to remember your value to God.

This is the exact opposite of basing your worth on your work, your career, or your full-time role. It is countercultural and may require a major change in your thinking, especially if a little voice in your head keeps saying, “You’ve got to prove you matter.”

One of the reasons people can’t relax is that they confuse their work and their worth. They confuse their net worth with their self-worth. They think, “If I work really hard and succeed at work, then I am valuable. If I’m not productive, then I’m not valuable.” That’s a lie! But in Western culture, our identity often revolves around our work, so we overwork in an attempt to prove ourselves. We believe that if we achieve a lot, then we must be worth a lot.

But your significance has nothing to do with your job, your career, or your achievements.

You don’t have to prove your worth. God says that you are already extremely valuable. You’ll never be more valuable to God than you are right now; you’ll never be less valuable to God than you are right now.

How valuable are you? Your heavenly Father created you; Jesus died for you. And if you are a follower of Christ, the Holy Spirit lives in you.

God doesn’t create anything without purpose or intention. The fact that you’re alive means God loves you and wants you alive. You’re priceless. You’re a masterpiece.

It’s not what you do that gives you worth but who you belong to.

Did you know that God has a tattoo of you? Isaiah 49:15-16 says, “Can a mother forget her little child and not have love for her own son? Yet even if that should be, I will not forget you. See, I have tattooed your name upon my palm”. 

Are you perfect? Absolutely not. Are you broken? Yes. Are you a sinner? Yes. But are you of infinite value? Yes! And you are deeply loved by God.

He already proved your worth on the cross.


Loved the above from Rev. Rick, which is why I’m posting it…very succinct. We all need to remind ourselves of these things. Hope this helped. 

As always, please email me at [email protected] with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests. 

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

Mark Joseph

Categories
Weekly Blog

When Life Gets Tough

My wife, kids, and grandkids are all healthy. So is my mother and mother-in-law, my brothers, and their families. We just celebrated Thanksgiving, all of us together, and it was a great blessing.  So what I’m talking about here has nothing to do with anyone being sick or dying. No relationship issues or financial crises. And while our country is “going to hell in a handbasket”, that’s not what the title of this blog is referring to either. 

I’m in a rut. Things are not fun at work. It’s nobody’s fault, but instead the realities of a post-COVID world, especially when you’re in the events business…which is the case for our conference ministry. And additional challenges compound things. I love where I work and its mission. I love my department and all its outstanding people. But currently it’s a grind. Add to that the discernment I’m going through related to my personal ministry, as noted a couple weeks ago.

Photo by Brett Jordan

I’m reminded that this too will pass. One of my teammates just stated that “it’s a season”. Among the dozens of quotes I remember from my Dad, one of my favorites is, “nothing is ever as good as it seems and nothing is ever as bad as it seems”. All of these resonate with me. So does the stuff I’m constantly preaching, although not always easy to apply (or see) when you’re in the middle of the storm. 

A friend asked me what I think the Lord is trying to show me (teach me) in the moment? He suggested that I take it to prayer. Ha!!…go figure. You’ve seen me write about the “attitude of gratitude”, indicating that everything happens for a reason:

  • For a greater good
  • For the opportunity to glorify God
  • To help us be our best

Not always easy to appreciate in the moment, I believe it to be absolutely true. As such, I need to ask what God is trying to show me? How is this experience going to help me in the long run? What skills is He wanting me to develop? What is the greater good? How will He be glorified through this experience?

I also talk about humility, understanding that it’s not us, but God working through us. There’s an old saying that is attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola, “pray as if everything depends on God, and work as if everything depends on you.” Many think the phrase captures the Ignatian spirit: turning it all over to God in prayer and then working tirelessly and urgently to do God’s work.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Both of the above (gratitude and humility) relate to surrender…giving it all over to God and following His will for your life. As noted in previous blogs, my experience is that our willingness to surrender is dependent on trust…trusting our Lord, trusting is His absolute and unconditional love for us, knowing and internalizing that He put us on this earth for a specific purpose, with special and unique talents. Trusting that He wants the absolute best for us and knows (more than we know) what will make us happy. 

I refer to all of this as the Path to Peace…Surrender, Gratitude, Humility, and Love. Although I wrote a book and talk about it often, I still need reminded. Not new concepts, the best ways are prayer, the Sacraments, particularly the Eucharist in the Mass and Confession, and fellowship. I need to double down on all three…which I’m doing. 

I don’t do this often, but please pray for me and my teammates during this time, as we try to rebuild our conference ministry. If you feel so called, please come and/or bring your kids. Steubenville Conferences are absolutely life changing and I’m not overstating that. 

I’ll pray for you during this Advent season. As we prepare for Baby Jesus, our Lord and Savior, let us recall our faith, in good times and bad, knowing how much God loves us…and always remembering what great things God wants for each and every one of us. 

As always, please email me at [email protected] with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests. 

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

Mark Joseph

Categories
Weekly Blog

Three Signs of a Great Leader

Leadership, leadership, leadership…it’s all about leadership. It doesn’t matter the organization, whether it’s a company, Parish, family, university, a not for profit, a sports team at any level, or the government. To understand the success or failure of any organization, look to the leader.

I’ve had the privilege and responsibility of leading organizations for the last 30 years of my life (including my family). Although there are characteristics of behavior that we’re born with that lend themselves to leadership, I don’t believe in the concept of a “born leader”. Being a great leader takes study, experience, and maturity. A simple internet search will provide you with the characteristics of a good leader, a sampling of which follows:

  • You genuinely care about others’ success
  • You’re a good communicator
  • You know how to inspire
  • You have a clear leadership philosophy
  • You lead by example
  • You invest in people
  • You have a talent for spotting talent
  • You empower
  • You know how to give feedback that makes a difference
  • You take risks
  • You take accountability
  • You’re a strategic thinker
  • You’re good at conflict resolution
  • You can handle the big disasters
  • You create calm amid chaos
  • You inspire loyalty
  • You’re authentic
  • You celebrate wins
  • You remove barriers
  • You’re self-aware
  • I would agree that these 20 are all characteristics of a good leader, but I would suggest adding the following 3 for a leader to go from good to great:

    1. You love your teammates (different from #1 above)
    2. You are a champion of collaboration
    3. You view trust as critical

    Let’s look at each individually.

    Love Your Teammates

    It’s one thing to care for others’ success and another to be invested in those you work with professionally and personally. A favorite saying of mine is that “nobody cares what you know unless they know how much you care”. And caring for others isn’t just a matter of helping them be productive between the hours of 8AM and 5PM. Instead, the great leader invests in the whole person, helping him or her be the absolute best versions of themselves, regardless of whether they stay indefinitely or are likely to leave within months. It’s a love that’s irrespective of their role or tenure. It’s a love that’s expressed with action and verbalized.

    Champion of Collaboration

    Another favorite expression of mine is that “people don’t have to be agreed with, but they do need to be heard”. It’s true of all of us. Without contributing, without being heard, there’s no buy-in, no ownership of a new initiative.

    As a leader, I don’t view my responsibility as coming up with all the answers. In fact, I pride myself in rarely coming up with any of the answers, instead helping others develop the answers for themselves and their organizations. This approach corresponds to “loving your teammates”, from above, in that it’s the only way people are truly going to learn.

    Trust is Critical

    Trust is built on transparency and vulnerability, both of which needing to be exemplified by the leader. For an organization to thrive, it is imperative. Without it, there is dysfunction and disloyalty.

    If you’ve ever worked for an organization where there’s distrust, you know the negative impact it can have. In fact, it’s amazing, as I’ve experienced on more than one occasion, how the changing out of just one person, regardless of the level, can dramatically impact “trust” and therefore the performance and morale of the entire organization. Trust is critical and the leader sets the tone.

    Without question, the list of 20 from above is valid, but the good leader will become great only with a focus on love, collaboration, and trust. The fruit born out of these three characteristics will not only be a high performing team, but individuals who are fulfilled in their work and committed to their organization and its mission.

    As always, feel free to get back to me with questions, comments, or challenges at [email protected].

    God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

    Mark Joseph

    Categories
    Weekly Blog

    We’re All Overwhelmed

    Can you identify with the hamster on the wheel in the glass cage, watching the world go by around you? Take me for example…for the longest time, I was trying to make that wheel go faster and faster. I couldn’t catch my breath. I couldn’t find a way to jump off the wheel. Didn’t know if anyone saw me on the wheel. If anyone else was on the wheel with me. If anyone would catch me if I fell off the wheel. I couldn’t keep up; I was massively stressed, exhausted, frustrated, and deflated. I was overwhelmed. 

    We’re all overwhelmed. Here’s what I also figured out…I was just as overwhelmed when things seemed to be going well as when things turned bad.

    An example of the good times – for over 10 years, I worked every Sunday, 7AM-Noon, meeting my family for 12:30 Mass, believing I wasn’t missing any family time. I was crazy. I used to travel 2-3 days per week. When in town, I’d work from 6-8AM at my desk at the house, then taking the kids to school. I would race to the office for a frenetic pace of meetings and phone calls, working through lunch, going home late afternoon/early evening. 

    I would eat dinner on the run, running the kids to their practices and events. I coached many of their sports, so I’d often be on the field with them. I’ve always been an exercise enthusiast, so I always got in my exercise, typically late at night (lots of sleep deprivation). I had business meetings some nights, other meetings other nights; we had a social life. There was always too much to do and not enough time to do it. I was overwhelmed, but because I thought I was in control I didn’t notice. In fact, I was energized by it…I was important because I was busy (so I thought). 

    Then there are the bad times, where we have relationship issues, challenges (i.e., COVID), and experience the busyness of everyday life. We’re stressed, frustrated, deflated, exhausted, and very aware that we’re overwhelmed. 

    We have the Internet, wifi, social media, smart devices – not only do things move much faster, but there is no way to disconnect; we have no downtime. In the background we’re concerned about our careers, our compensation, needs of our families, college, retirement, paying for houses, cars, vacations, etc., whatever allows us to keep up or get ahead. 

    I’d suggest that it afflicts everyone…whether you’re in high school or college, newly graduated, just starting out, advanced in your career or retired; single, married, empty nester or house full of kids, young, old, wildly successful or not. And most believe that once they reach that pinnacle of success, what society says will make them happy, that everything will be good. Believe it or not, just the opposite is true; it often intensifies. 

    Does at least some of the above apply to you? You aren’t alone. Join me next week, when we begin to unpack why we’re overwhelmed. Be assured…there’s an answer to this dilemma, how we live lives of peace, joy, and fulfillment. 

    As always, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

    God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

    God made you for GREATNESS!!!

    Mark Joseph