Today I have this thing. There will be lots of people there, and I will have to talk and answer questions, and the outcome matters, and there will be an audience.
I want to do well.
I'd like approval and accolades and applause and is it too much to ask for a standing ovation?
The reality is that I'm not even sure what the questions will be or what the audience will want to hear from me and there's no real way to prepare and I certainly don't know what the outcome will be.
So yes, I want to do well, but with all the unknowns and impossibles I have no guarantee that I will.
For sure I don't know if there will approval or disapproval, accolades or criticism, applause or boos, a standing ovation or just the rustle of people in a hurry to leave.
This is for real, people.
Am I chasing standing ovations? Or am I calmly moving forward with integrity and letting the outcome rest where it will?
Yes and Yes.
I know, they contradict. Sometimes I feel like my whole life swirls around these two questions, and as much as I wish I could tell you that I live in the calm, resting integrity place, the reality is that I find myself again and again returning to that place of wanting applause instead of being satisfied with integrity.
But here's the thing. When I'm looking for approval, it becomes measured by applause. That I can hear. From other people. And I am anxious while anticipating it, and discouraged (sometimes even devastated) when instead I could hear a pin drop.
And I compare myself to others, and want to exceed expectations (mine and yours), and yes, sometimes (gasp!) I am even jealous of your accomplishments.
If, on the other hand, I move calmly and with integrity, I find sure footing and I don't have anxiety about the outcome, and there is no measuring stick to be found. I am happy for you when you succeed, whether I do or not. And if the outcome is not what I had hoped for, I am still disappointed but I am not devastated.
Because I have not put my self-worth on the line.
That's the crux of it right there. If I am placing my value on what I do and how well I do it, I'm headed for a train wreck at the intersection of me, myself and mine.
But when I know - really really know - that my worth has already been determined, the measuring stick evaporates and in its place is the approval I've already been given - GIVEN! - by the God who created me.
Of course the reality is that I DO still have an audience. It might be big or small, but what I know is that just one person in it matters.
Only One. I have an Audience of One, today and every day.
And I don't have to perform perfectly or get it all right or even just a little right to get a standing ovation, because he was there before the curtain went up, already clapping and cheering and up out of His seat.
I guess I wrote this post for me. So that I can remember that measuring sticks are (wo)man made and comparison is deadly and accolades are fleeting.
So that I can go into the thing calmly and with integrity, knowing that the only One in the audience who matters is already on his feet.