“The place where God calls you is the place where the world’s great need meets your deep gladness.” -Frederich Buechner
1) The Parts, defined:
ABILITY: An ability is a repeatable action which you enjoy because you do it well.
Abilities include what you do well naturally, a skill you learn, or an emerging talent you discover along the way.
DRIVE: A drive is something within you that motivates action. Drives are like internal fuel moving you to make some kind of a difference in the world.
Discover your drives by reflecting upon present or childhood dreams, fears, and even frustrations. Any people, events or circumstances that bring joy, anger, anxiety, or excitement are linked to the things that move us.
NEED: A need is any issue in want of a solution or response.
Not every need can be solved, but we can respond in ways which add value, even when no remedy to the problem can be found.
2) How do my “parts” work together?
Each of these three pieces takes some thought. Discerning how they may overlap can be downright confusing. The following series of questions can help: “What in the world would I like to be a part of even if I did not get paid for it?” Is there some effort or organization where I would be honored just to hold the door? And, once involved, what skill do I have which might advance the cause? Can I put into words why it matters to me? What flashes into my mind as I picture myself making a contribution?
3) Vision: What can you picture as the preferred outcome of your involvement?
An ancient king once said, “Without vision, people cast off restraint” (Proverbs 29:18). Think of vision as a kind of course marker: it is the tree on a hill where you aim your compass as you trek across a vast open land. Vision sets the direction, very specifically. It says in effect, “There are 360 directions we could go, but this is the one path we are will take.” Vision helps us decide where we are going in a way that lets us see the clear, next step.
If your picture is centered upon you alone, then even if your world grows, you may shrink. Take care that you are being driven towards some some greater goal rather than driven away from some personal hang up. Doing good things for the wrong reasons can poison the very cause you hope to advance.
Influence or Concern?
Remember, once you have personalized this diagram, an important distinction must be made. People often lunge at concerns without considering where their real influence lies. For example, helping your teenager take more ownership of his grades may be in your circle of concern, but reaching that goal may not need your direct influence. It may need something entirely different, like using less influence. In our daily roles like the examples on the diagram, we must consider the limits of influence within the greater cause of our concerns.