My values for work and my work ethic have been influenced by many,
some through direct experience and demonstration by great and horrible bosses, and others through minds in books: Ernest Hemingway on the attractiveness and persuasiveness of brevity; Ray Dalio on embracing the natural bents, strengths, and weaknesses of others, Shane Parrish on the many mental models I could employ to make smarter decisions, and Marcus Aurelius’ father on how to treat your co-workers, to name a few.
I give credit to the Bible for most of the underlying values in work I’ve cultivated in my professional life; They are things I strive to abide by and commit to at the age of 28.
Here are some lessons I learned from the Bible on how to live as a Christian in work:
Rest and relaxation must become a familiar presence in your life.
Having work physically, emotionally and mentally consume one’s life and identity is against the character of a Christian life.
As a Christian, participating in the Sabbath is an act of obedience, a reminder for me that I am not a slave beholden to my work (“How much more valuable is a person than a sheep!” (Matthew 12:12)), and a demonstration that I’m putting my money where my mouth is when I say I believe God is sovereign, at the center of my life and my purpose for being.
It’s also an healthy act of rest: to rejuvenate, restore, and re-center myself in the things that matter most to me in life.
So, we keep the Sabbath. (Deuteronomy 5:12-14):
Listen and actively seek and embrace guidance and counsel from others.
Be humble and open minded in the counsel and feedback of others.
Proverbs 15:22: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
Proverbs 11:14: “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.”
Proverbs 24:6 on being a wise and successful king: “Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers”.
What these verses do not imply is to accept the guidance of anyone, or to always embrace the guidance of close counsel. They simply state the value of taking into deep consideration the counsel of one’s advisors. Who do you see as an advisor in your life? Hopefully someone close, who reflects principles and values you respect, and someone you trust and respect.
Despite demonstrated differences in values, principles, and/or opinion, have respect for and be respectful of placed authority.
It is important to show a level of respect to those placed in specific positions as they have been “elected” and placed there by people, whether it be by the board of your company, or by your nation’s people. (Romans 13)
While I struggle with showing deep admiration for someone when his/her principles are at odds with mine, regardless of position, I learned that is different from being able to show thoughtfulness and respect for the dignity and position of another.
Shane Parrish, founder of Farnam Street, has also savvily quipped once: “you can disagree without saying anything.”
Engage in and pursue work that has purpose and meaning.
Being involved in work that is “beneficial,” “constructive,” or benefiting the “good of others” is in close character with Jesus Christ.
Celebrate and compliment your colleagues’ strengths and accomplishments. Mentor your juniors; actively give credit to them.
Lift up your peers [hype them] when there is any true opportunity to do so. BUT avoid flattery.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
“For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” (Romans 16:18)
“For there is no truth in their mouth…. their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.” ( Psalm 5:9)
Experiences of 2018
2. made life long and diverse friendships from my time in California in the summer
3. tested myself as the CEO of my own company– and dealt with and am continuing to deal with the everyday prospect of rejection and personal rejection and observing myself responding to and living these moments, well, or not so well.
4. saw the fruit of my strong relationships with the women in my life
5. revealed a personal long term trauma of mine from childhood to a room of 60+ colleagues and strangers > which unintentionally sparked a wonderful and effective road to recovery, healing, closure, and peace in my life. It was a mixture of owning the experience and being of the age and emotional maturity to really own it. I’ve talked about this trauma to other people before and when I was younger, but I was never “there” emotionally and mentally to free myself from the burden of my experience. This time, it seems I was.
6. actively sought to support, pray for, and aid the people in my life and colleagues I met once or more than a couple times through my work.
7. experienced very little depressive thinking and anxiety
8. had the opportunity to travel and experience the most wonderful new things nearly every month
9. lots of family loss and pain because of health problems + dealing with the painful history my immediate family shares.
10. learned to love my body and myself even more. Not over exceedingly. Just accurately.
11. practiced killing my pride and the areas of my close-mindedness
12. Experienced both the bliss and fortitude of not comparing myself to anyone and the pain of putting myself down or making myself insecure by comparing myself to others throughout intermittent months
Goals of 2019
1. Be a better listener. More actionably, stop interrupting and learn to put pen to paper if my thoughts keep overruling my desire to listen to the other and overwhelming my head and tempt me to interrupt conversation.
Enforce the mindset that a conversation with ANYONE = a precious time to show my appreciation for and understanding of them through LISTENING – action.
2. Stop my pattern of mumbling.
3. Last year to become fluent in French
Take it as a black or white scenario. Winner takes all.
(This kind of harsh mentality might not work for everyone, but I’ve found that for me, when I deal with mental absolutes when setting expectations for myself, I end with half or half + the expectations I set myself. )
4. Be increasingly there for my family members, H, W, J, and J while keeping boundaries for the life and identity that I am uniquely constructing for myself on my own terms.
5. Learn how to say NO – two reasons – 1. protect my wellbeing, and my limited energy (if I keep saying yes, I’ll run myself to the ground) and 2. check bullshit from others as the first sentence is uttered or written. Find a way to stay kind and respond or ignore messages without feeling guilty and without bile to people who seek to take or have an agenda that is not wise or in service to you or others?, or… I feel like there is a wiser way of going about this. But I haven’t come to the answer yet.
6. Have ATEM succeed
7. Work better to protect the marginalized and misunderstood, particularly those with issues I am personally passionate about:
- sexual harassment
- check people, even if they are people who are more powerful than me or men I have a personal attachment to.
- gender discrimination
- grow as a woman who denies expectations prescribed to her present and future (be independent! Be a wife! Don’t be a wife! Don’t quit your job! Quit your job! Be more dependent! Be less dependent!). Grow as a woman who determines what it is to be herself on her own terms. Grow and inspire by example. Currently, it means being secure and proud of the fact that I want to 2. continue doing fulfilling and meaningful work, and 1. [In the future] devote all of my resources to be the best family woman there ever was. I want to have a wonderful husband and I want to have children. I want to devote myself 100% to my partner and am okay with throwing myself 100% to support my partner’s career aspirations (if and when a family exists), so long as when the time comes that I am asked to make a sacrifice, the changes are decided on “together” with the mutual understanding that it was needed not because I am a woman and it’s the responsibility of the woman to fulfill the family rearing needs, but because it was my choice, my honor, and my joy to take that choice for the family; I am 100% supportive of any partner making career changes or stepping back from something for the family as a whole. That is my definition of being a woman and a person on my own terms.
- racial discrimination
- be more vocal in the public sphere and during my day to day commute when I see this happening for example on NY subway platforms.
- domestic violence
- explore and identify projects I might want to get involved in either with my resources with time or finances
- think proactively about the future: while there are not many in my personal network that are married, the numbers will rise with time, and it is important to be diligent and create a strong foundation for my female (not excluding males too) relationships now of openness, compassion, and willingness to listen, so that if the time ever comes these people (or even me) have someone to fall back on and trust or send an SOS too.
- lack of access due to socio-economics – financial/human capital
- immediately actionable: use the professional and personal network I have to nurture and help individuals in the ways I can.
8. Visit my mom in Korea
9. Go back to France. 🙂
10. Find a new system to reincorporate an optimal rate of reading and doing/seeing art (things I love) as I continue to build ATEM – system I continued into 2018 with and worked with throughout the year doesn’t work anymore due to the immense time suck I’ve had with my personal time due to work demands and stress (stress, because when super drained, it is hard to read, even if you do have that hour).