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Monday, May 06, 2013

Why Productivity isn't Always the Best Goal

My 2012 was wildly unproductive. I want to feel like a failure. I'm trying not to though.

For most of the things I did in the last calendar year I have no measure of success. By any quantitative, objective standard I'm a failure. I made less money. The church I was working with closed down. I didn't publish a book (after publishing 2 in 2011). My writing business ended up writing off more than it made.

All that really makes me want to feel like a failure.

But I'm reminding myself that productivity isn't my goal. I don't want to be a productive writer, teacher, minister, or husband. I want to be better.

Instead of looking at 2012 through the lens of productivity, I'm trying to look at it through the lens of improvement. Am I better?

In 2012 I started developing my craft as a fiction writer. I joined a critique group and a connection group for writers. I've been able to give and receive feedback on writing that is thoughtful, helpful, and not personal.

I started teaching in 2012 and I've been working to develop my skills to communicate ideas over the long-term and to translate my thoughts into concepts that can be understood by all the different types of thinkers.

I helped a church see what true ministry looks like, how difficult it is to be a disciple-making-disciple, and to come to the realization that they no longer had the energy to do what they were called to do. Even though the church closed, the members left with a better understanding of God's calling for their lives.

My wife and I have kept working to improve our marriage. We revisited our marriage mission and vision in order to make it more closely align with who we are and what we're doing. We experimented with new ways to express love to each other, kept having conversations about how we can improve and have just worked hard to be great at marriage.

If I evaluate 2012 based on the standard of productivity, I failed. But in 2013 I'm a better writer, teacher, minister and husband than I was in 2011. So I'm doing my best to not feel like a failure.