In every area of life, people are looking for a system to make their lives easier, simpler, or more efficient.
That’s why we click on the article that gives us the five steps to becoming a better public speaker, the fool-proof process to leading an effective meeting, the formula for engaging our team members, the guide to creating the best company culture, the program to grow our church more quickly, or the method for making our children obey. We want the systematic solution to simplify our messy lives, and it’s for a good reason.
Systems are helpful. We learn from them. They give us a methodology to think through and are often a great place to start. But here’s my concern—sometimes systems suppress our natural style. When I say style, I’m not talking about our outward appearances, but our natural giftings—the way God has wired us.
To put it bluntly, I am tired of meeting pastors that try to preach exactly like Andy Stanley. They study every tactic he uses, mimic his style, and sometimes, steal his sermon content. It’s not to say we can’t learn from Andy, but many pastors have traded in their personal gift of teaching to rip-off a less impactful version of someone else. Andy is great, but we already have an Andy—try being you.
Business leaders do this too. There are executives trying to emulate every practice of Steve Jobs or Jack Welch, and when something doesn’t work for them, they fall back on the excuse that it’s “what Steve Jobs always did.”
Instead of creating a culture that fits their individual organization, some companies actually copy and paste their corporate handbooks directly from Google or Zappos. Are you kidding me?
The world needs you to be you.
If someone else’s system can make you better, then, by all means, learn from it. But if you’re trying so hard to mimic someone else that you become a cheapened version of them, don’t waste your time. That person, or organization, already exists, and we don’t need another one. Instead, we desperately need you to be you.
In this new year, study systems, implement processes, and learn from others, but don’t lose yourself in the process. @KevinPaulScott
In this new year, study systems, implement processes, and learn from others, but don’t lose yourself in the process. The best version of you is better that a B-rated version of someone else.