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Overheard: “I’ve never felt more effective.”

with 2 comments

Every Day We Create Conditions Around Us

My friend had finished his Ed. D but had no luck finding a teaching position. We blamed it on the glut of Ph.Ds and the poor economy and higher education cost-cutting and whatever. And yet as we talked he said this memorable phrase which I’ve rarely heard anyone voice: “I’ve never felt more effective.” In fact, my friend had continued with the same work he had been doing for the past two decades, but something was different. Yes he had expanded responsibilities and slightly-widened authority—but it still was not the final vocational resting place. Or was it?

Walk with me.

NorthernSparkGraffitiConditions-06102013There’s an old, old story about a warrior-king who wanted to build a house for God. But God said, “No—there’s too much blood on your hands.” So the warrior-king laid up stocks of all sorts of precious materials so his son could build this house.

Warrior-king died.

Poet-philosopher-son king took his place and commenced building the house for God. But the Poet-philosopher-king understood no building could house God. The best he could do was to make a place where people could come and seek God. The Poet-philosopher-king understood that despite his power and wealth and position, there was much of life still outside the control of even the most powerful person around.

Back to my newly doctorated friend: though he had not found the permanent faculty position of authority or leadership he wanted (yet), his old work yielded a fresh effectiveness. Why is that and how?

Feeling that you are in a place of effectiveness is a rare and memorable event—at least from my perspective. Much of life is spent wondering if what we do impacts anyone at all, let alone feeling effective at it. Sometimes we see results from our work, but not nearly as often as we might like.

I wonder if the best any of us can do is to work at creating conditions around us that help others walk as they are meant to walk. The Poet-philosopher king created a space where people could cry out to God with their needs. My newly doctorate friend bundled his expanded learning/vision into his old work found new ways to help the students he spent time among.

Maybe seeking out some fabled position of effectiveness is less the answer than finding ourselves effective where we live right now today this moment.


Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

June 10, 2013 at 9:51 am

2 Responses

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  1. Very well written, thank you! I speak as someone who has a PhD, has been through a lot of what you are describing and had a permanent position as a Senior Lecturer which I voluntarily gave up for more engaging things and I just want to say that your last two paragraphs are very true. You may find this relevant but congratulations on your post regardless!

    • Thanks for the comment and thank you for reading. Your “Making It” post is very good and I like the three phases–something I have also experienced.


      June 10, 2013 at 11:54 am

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