For much of my life, I didn’t care what people thought of me. At least that’s what I told myself. I hid behind the “I don’t care what people think” mantra. One day I woke up and realized that I did in fact care. I looked around me and saw people my age who had started businesses, started not-for-profits, and were pastoring churches. It felt like I was way behind. All that time of pretending and trying not to care had lead to inaction and wasted time.
My view of life began to change from where can I get pleasure to how can I become successful not realizing that success is just as much of a trap. After all, what is success? If left undefined success is just as much of a trap as pretending not to care can be. If only I had realized that success is really just doing your best where you are. Dollars shouldn’t define success, nor should titles or the car you drive.
I worked in a job I thought was beneath me for three and a half years, embarrassed when people would ask what I did for a job. It took time to start to redefine what success was to me. I had to decide to work above my pay grade, to always be adding more value that was asked of me. I started listening to podcasts for people trying to develop themselves and trying to get out of my comfort zones.
Through some injected enthusiasm from my soon to be boss and support from my wife, I ended up quitting that job. I jumped into a new position with a missions organization where I get to mix business and missions. My first development is a window washing company. I wouldn’t have always been able to say it, but I can today. I am proud to be a window cleaner. I’m proud because with some help I got to create a business that one day will employ people. I’m proud because it’s a way to meet people outside of the church. I’m proud because it’s a building block for whatever is coming next. It’s not a job that’s beneath me it’s a job that can be as big as I want it to be.
At some point, you have to decide that you aren’t afraid to be compared to the person next to you because we are all on different journeys. That doesn’t mean we don’t look to others for inspiration and motivation. It just means that you keep getting up and doing your best where you are and take a risk every now and then.
Brian and his wife Anna serve in the metro Atlanta area, home to people from more than 761 different people groups. They work with refugees and urban poor with Envision Atlanta. Brian has helped Envision Atlanta start two businesses, a window cleaning company, and a mobile thrift store. One of the goals of each business is to provide job training and livable wages to its workers. Brian and Anna are required to raise their own support to pay their salary. You can give here. Search for Brian and Anna Baldwin where it says, “type name of worker or project”. Envision is part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance and your gifts are all tax deductible. Every gift is valuable for advancing the work being done. You can also sign up for Brian and Anna’s newsletter here (outside link FYI).