Tyler is a husband, father, and technology professional. He called me as he sometimes does. He was upset, maybe even miserable. He described his situation. He has a boss who might qualify as one of the world’s worst. Among other things, he demeans his employees in public. Though Tyler works for a cutting-edge company with over 1000 employees, his pay is 30-40% below market. Tyler has always been known as a hard-working achiever. So he asked me what he should do. Here’s what I said:
Step One: Step back and seek counsel. James, Jesus’ brother, wrote: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him (1:5, ESV).”
Where does this spiritual conversation happen? In your soul. Your soul is the seat of your emotions, intellect, and will. Your emotions set off alarms. Your intellect identifies the reasons and creates a plan of attack. Your will acts upon it.
Step Two: Stare it down. With God’s help, the elements of your soul have the ability to process information and manufacture brilliance. Start by staring down your situation. Look right into the eyes of your situation. Simply remind yourself that you are in a difficult season. Embrace this fact and stare it in the face. No need to run. Stand. This is not negative talk, it is power talk. When you do this, you shrink the situation down to size, its real size, not its imagined size. In order to capture your attention, your emotions tend to project the situation bigger than it is. If you stand, stare it down, and call it like it is, your soul elements working together will tear down the giant piece by piece.
Step Three: Step back in. Now you’re ready to step right back into the fire. God wants to develop something in you. He wants to prepare you for greater things. Today’s giant will look like a push-over a few years from now if you pass this test (season). To be better, you have to be able to navigate jerks in your path as well as injustices. This season is a graduate-level class. Embrace it.
Step Four: See ahead. Don’t become a victim. Now you must demonstrate uncommon discipline and maturity. On one hand, perform even better than you have in the past while on the other hand, lift your head up and see what opportunities might be opening up for you. When crap is happening, opportunities abound!
Like soccer players and basketball players dribble the ball with their head up in order to see the field or the court, so do professionals of any context. Learn your craft, rise above the obstacles, and see how the game opens up for you.
If the culture in your context is healthy, the jerk will be removed. If that doesn’t happen, another door will open and you will be ready for it. I’m proud of you Tyler for reaching out. Seeking counsel will take you far.
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Proverbs 13:20, ESV