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After 30 years as an entrepreneur, executive, adviser and coach to business leaders and pastors, I've witnessed an endless amount of work drudgery in both the marketplace and ministry. I am often asked to partner with leadership teams in how to revitalize the culture, the environment and the people.
Frankly, the answer to transforming work drudgery into joy is simple but not painless. The answer forces us to dig deep to uncover the root reasons for the sense of drudgery, and sometimes those answers are not pretty. Therefore, the clear majority of leaders do not care to take this mirror-reflection journey.
Yet for the few who do, the results are truly transformational.
Here are three personal and leadership revelations that help transform drudgery into joy.
Revelation 1: It's the Why Behind the What That Matters
Have you ever been under a leader or in a work environment where you were relentlessly pushed to:
- improve service?
- increase productivity?
- increase sales?
- decrease costs?
- invite more visitors?
- get more people to walk the aisle?
- recruit more volunteers?
- birth more small groups?
None of these "what we do around here" are bad. In fact, they are absolutely necessary to compete in the marketplace or drive church impact. But if these were the only things your team focuses upon, work quickly transforms into drudgery.
The missing ingredient is the why— the compelling reason why you do what you do. I often guide executive teams into discovering and articulating their groups unique why. Whether called a vision, purpose, foundation principle, or mission, the why is the most frequently missing link in both the way the company works and how employees function.
Revelation 2: A Compelling "Why" Transforms Drudgery Into Joy
Why do some companies and ministries continue for years, even decades, growing and serving with excellence? For most, they have taken the time and made the effort to discover their compelling why - reason to exist.
For faith-based based companies, one of the now classic companies frequently mentioned is Chick-fil-A whose purpose statement is:
"To glorify God and be a faithful steward to all that is entrusted to us and have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A."
Their purpose is partially driven through their relentless focus on creating strong, functioning families (closed one day per week to worship, rest and spend time with families) that, in turn, drives phenomenal company success.
Some of their measurable outcomes of living their why include less than 3 percent annual turnover at headquarters and unit operators, less than 10 total divorces company-wide per year and consistently higher profits per store in six days of operation than competitors open seven days a week.
Even if your current company or church does not live a compelling why, you can discover your personal why that transforms potential work drudgery into joy. For example, when we have a chance to ask the following biblical heroes, "Why did you do what you did," their unique answers will likely include:
- Abraham = To father a great nation
- Joseph = To feed God's starving people
- Moses = To lead the slaves into freedom
- Nehemiah = To rebuild Jerusalem
- John the Baptist = To prepare the way
- Jesus = To seek and save the lost
- Paul = To know Christ
In considering their collective sufferings, isolation, abandonment, physical torture, enemy attacks and relentless challenges, each one needed their unique compelling why to victoriously march through their drudgeries.
Revelation 3: Your Unimaginable Blessings Live Inside Your Why
"But as it is written: 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.'" 1 Corinthians 2:9-10
God has prepared unimaginable blessings for those who purposefully pursue their why. Regardless of your environment, God can and will pour out your supernatural blessing as you faithfully pursue your "why."
For example, Joseph and Paul did much of their most amazing work in prison, Moses and John the Baptist in a desert, while heroes like Esther, Daniel and Nehemiah excelled under pagan, dangerous rulers.
If you are not experiencing the blessings you sense God has waiting for you, then I exhort you to dig deep into discovering your why which is found in God's revelation—not in man's wisdom.
The Bridge From Drudgery to Joy
The bridge from workplace drudgery to joy is found through embracing three simple yet profound revelations:
- It's the why behind the what that matters.
- A compelling why transform drudgery into joy.
- Your unimaginable blessings live inside your joy.
Hold fast to these revelations. Dig deep into the Word and ask God to reveal your unique why.
I will soon share more on how to walk in greater revelation.
Dr. Jim Harris is the author of 14 award-winning business books including Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business. Download his FREE tool, 55 Critical Resources for Believers in Business. Connect with Dr. Jim on Facebook LinkedIn, and Twitter.
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