2 12 2009

One of the great works of art is on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. The piece is typically referred to as “The Creation of Adam.” In his book, God is Closer Than You Think, author John Ortberg sets the scene brilliantly:

“Before Michelangelo, art scholars say, that standard paintings of creation showed God standing on the ground, in effect helping Adam to his feet. Not here. This God is rushing towards Adam on a cloud, one of the “chariots of heaven,” propelled by angels…It is as if even in the midst of the splendor of all creation, God’s entire being is wrapped up in his impatient desire to close the gap between himself and this man. He can’t wait. His hand comes within a hairbreadth of the man’s hand.”

…God is as close as he can be. But having come that close, he allows just a little space, so that Adam can choose. He waits for Adam to make his move.

Adam is more difficult to interpret. His arm is partially extended toward God, but his body reclines in a lazy pose, leaning backward as if he has no interest at all in making a connection. Maybe he assumes that God, having come this far, will close the gap. Maybe he is indifferent to the possibility of touching his creator. Maybe he lacks the strength. All he would have to do is lift a finger.

Ortberg goes on to make the point that “All it takes is the barest effort, the lift of a finger.”

The lift of a finger.

All at once the concept strikes me as absurd and yet painstaking close to home.

The Anaheim International is two days away. I feel like I have let not only the last 80 days slip thru my fingers, I have let the last 120 expire without doing what is necessary to redeem them.

I have spoken to dozens of people in the last 80 days. I have done one-on-ones, two-on-ones, PBRs and Saturday Trainings. I have double digits of people coming to the International, but they are all in two legs. I have a third leg that is completely non-productive. I won’t promote to Team Coordinator until that leg gets to 200 customer points.

I am a man of faith.

I am also a man who has lost his way on more than one occasion.

When things are going well, I work hard to have daily “quiet times” with God. I may sit down and read a little scripture and reflect on that in a journal. Other times, I’ll read a book on faith and journal about that reading. I did that for the first time in two months yesterday (and again this morning). When I looked at my journal, I realized that when I journaled in September? It was only one day that month. It was only two days in August. Before that? I sat down for my quiet time TWENTY-ONE times in July.

Wanna guess when I had my greatest momentum in ACN ? For those of you who guessed, July, give yourself a hand.

I often am shy about talking about my faith. Partly because I fear turning people away who might otherwise be uncomfortable with the subject. Partly because it’s just easier to live my life in my own selfish and undisciplined ways if people don’t think to hold me accountable for my own values.

But there is no escaping the subject of “faith” if you are in ACN. There is a large worship service on Sunday morning at 7 a.m. at every International Training. And it seems that every single Four-Star RVP and SVP who gets promoted, attributes their success to their faith (except those who are French Canadien LOL for REAL have you noticed? Or is it just me?).

One of the most uplifting and inspiring SVP promotion speeches I have ever heard was delivered by Jennifer Dowd. She makes a few poignant references to being like Noah and needing to build your own ark. She points out that Noah was an amateur and had no idea what he was doing. She then contrasts that with the building of the Titanic, which was built by professionals (and we all know how THAT turned out)! Jennifer then points out that the difference is that God was in the equation with Noah and the ark. Noah built the ark for God’s purpose.

Which brings me to the last 120 days. I’ve been going about things all wrong. I’ve been building things for MY purpose. My paychecks have suffered for it, and those of my downline have as well.

I can be an incredibly selfish, self-serving man at times. It is hard for me to admit that. In fact, I do so right now with great shame and embarrassment. Coincidentally, this morning Tiger Woods issued a statement essentially admitting to some shameful and embarrassing behavior himself. Maybe it was seeing Tiger “man up” that has prompted me to sober up and get my head back on straight. Maybe it’s the fact that Christmas is three weeks away and we won’t be able to celebrate it with presents the way that I had hoped. Maybe it’s a concession that doing things “my way” has not helped me get any closer to establishing that third leg that I need to get to Team Coordinator.

But I’m taking a stand. I am committing my work here in ACN to God’s purpose. It really doesn’t make any sense to me to do it just for “myself.”  That’s not the way I’m wired. That’s not the way God made me. I know that God can and will turn things around for our business. All I have to do is “lift a finger.”

Two days until Anaheim.