Tackling 1 of the 4 F’s: Faith

In my series on powerful personal actions, I’m continuing to delve into “the 4 F’s: Faith, Family, Fitness, and Fun”. Whether “faith” means a personal relationship with Jesus or something different, routine efforts to connect with a higher purpose can help you perform at a higher level. Here is how.

While faith can be a touchy subject in our modern, politically-correct, largely secular workplace, the fact remains that most people believe in God. Further to this point, psychologists consider faith or “spirituality” one of the core facets of a full and balanced life.

In his book on developing and sustaining peak performance called Stress for Success Dr. Jim Loehr shares that faith (spirituality, purpose…) is one of the top 5 areas of personal mastery requisite to effectively handling stress. (The other four are sleep, exercise, nutrition, and family.) And, processing stress productively is critical for performance.

Anecdotally, we have seen the same thing. Since we began working with corporate clients almost two years ago, we have found “faith actions” among the most common actions of leaders. Perhaps it is because we live in such a noisy world. There is so much busyness in our lives. People simply need some quality solitude.

Personally, I have used two “faith actions” over the last year that are delivering great results. One is reading the Bible every day. Our founder Mark gave me a daily chronological Bible a year ago. It is broken into daily sections, and little by little I have read through over 1100 pages in the last year. Not only has God’s word come to life for me, but I feel like I am finally in the loop on so many of life’s lessons.

The second faith action has been practicing solitude. I have experimented with 10 minutes and 20 minutes, and I have found it to be a very powerful practice. I don’t think there is strict rule on how you practice quiet time, so I made up my own approach. I just know that it works best if I start my day this way.

If there is any background noise or music, I put in earplugs. I cover my eyes, and I pray for several minutes. I’ll usually start with the same prayer, thanking God for the many people and blessings in my life, asking for forgiveness for my sins, and then asking for guidance and courage to make the most of my day. I may pray for the meetings on my calendar that day or I will pray for the prayers on my iprayupray stream, but all in…this is just five minutes or so. The balance of the time is for quiet. No words, no plans, no turmoil. I just try to shut down.

Usually in less than a minute or two…it happens. A fresh idea. The name of someone I meant to call, but forgot. A title for an article I should write. Even the name of someone who I haven’t thought about in months or years who ends up calling me that same day. If you haven’t heard God’s whispers in a while, try getting back in touch.

These are by no means the best or only ways to invest in your faith. You may find it much more rewarding to attend a small group, call a friend, serve the poor, study, or use your gifts. Whatever helps you connect with a purpose larger than yourself will also likely recharge your soul. Make this one of your key life habits and you will find yourself powering through challenges that put others in a tailspin.

What are you doing to get purpose-driven?