I wrote this post for the blog I manage over at FullFill. It’s a blog for women that focuses on using our influence, but I think it broadly applies. If you want to click through to finish reading it, well, please do (while I resist the urge to make a few small edits. . . ). And thanks, once again, to my friend Adele for writing a bookI can forever quote.
I don’t need to know you to feel comfortable making this wager: you’ve said these words, probably more than once—and you’ve hated yourself for doing so. Most likely sitting at your kitchen table exasperated, staring at the seventy-fifth email you had to send for the committee you begrudgingly agreed to lead (because no one else would), depleted of sleep and energy and time and relaxation.
And you wonder for the millionth time, “Why on earth did I ever say yes to this?”
A few weeks ago, I spent a weekend with a group of women talking about invitations. We were led by author and spiritual director Adele Calhoun. In her book Invitations from God, Adele makes this bold statement: “Invitations shape who we know, where we go, what we do and who we become. Invitations can challenge and remake us. They can erode and devastate. And they can also heal and restore us.”
If you’re like me, your heart lurches at the profound truth lodged in those sentences. Flashes of triumph and pangs of failure crash your mind at once. Failure: the time you said yes to leading the team you had no business leading, the relationship you endured that became a damaging mark on your soul, the opportunity you were afraid to risk that won’t quit nagging at the corners of your heart. Triumph: the job you took that helped you rediscover who you are, the adoption papers you signed that gave hope to new life, the pressure you had the guts to resist and thanked your good senses a million times over.
As influencers, we have a responsibility to be wise about which invitations we accept and which we decline. Our influence has reach. Our decisions affect the health of our families, our friendships, our teammates, our coworkers and most importantly our own souls. But we often fall prey to the cultural lie that the more invitations we accept, the more valuable we are.