Tuesday, August 30, 2005

DISCOVERING THE HEDGEHOG WITHIN

I think all of us struggle with change. I used to think I liked change ... that change could do nothing but make things better ... but I changed my tune when the changes started coming too hot and heavy for me to be able to process them adequately.

I'm now involved in a career where change is such an integral part of the landscape that sometimes I think I've been running for 8 years trying to keep up with it, and just keep slipping further behind! Do you ever feel that way? Like you are out of breath but there is no place to stop and catch your breath for the next big hill?

So naturally, in the midst of this, I have another big change coming up. But I decided that this one would be strategic -- not a change that is happening to me but a change I am initiating in order to be more effective.

Here is a link to a cool article by Dr. Daniel R. Lockwood, president of Multnomah Bible College and Biblical Seminary, on "Jesus and the Hedgehog." (WARNING: Large PDF!) The article highlights what is called "The Hedgehog Principle," named in honor of an ancient fable about a cunning fox who tries every day new and different ways to outfox (pun intended) and eat a hedgehog. The hedgehog is not nearly as smart as the fox, but has a winning strategy that works every time: Each time it is threatened by the fox it curls up in a tight ball with spines pointed outward. No matter how hard the fox adapts, the hedgehog uses this same defense. The hedgehog is expert at one thing, being a prickly ball, and he uses this defense every time. He survives and thrives as a result.

Each of us, says Lockwood, needs to "discover our hedgehog." How do you do that? You ask three questions of yourself: 1) What is my passion? 2) What can I be the best at? and 3) What drives my engine (what is my greatest source of resources)? Draw these three circles like this:


List in each circle: your passions, things you are best at, and resources that drive your engine. Then isolate the things in each list which intersect within the three circles. It may just be one thing. That is your hedgehog!

I went through this process recently and it helped me tweak the nature of my job responsibility with World Vision. For several years I have been directing web operations, which is essentially managing the internet production process. I have enjoyed this a great deal but had the nagging feeling that it wasn't what I had originally trained to do nor was it my area of greatest passion. I trained as a writer and editor, it's what I'm best at. I'm passionate about that. I am passionate about the web and using it to help vulnerable people, in particular children, and I am equipped in terms of internet knowledge and skills. And finally, I feel called by God to use my unique skills and gifting on the web. There are spiritual resources which I believe drive my engine in this regard.

All this pointed to the web editor position, a position which has been vacant here for more than a year. In terms of status it is a small "step down" from my current director position, but I realized this cannot be my primary concern. I have to focus on what God is calling me and has equipped me to do, what I am passionate about.

So you can pray for me and for my division in the midst of this challenging transition ... it has been a few months in the making and we are on it in just a few short weeks, with September 13 being the actual transition date.

Thanks for your support. And I would appreciate hearing how you are applying "The Hedgehog Principle" to your own life and your life's work.

1 comment:

ali anani said...

This is a revealing article and ties up different disciplines very constructively and emotionally. It is a must read, I read it three times and each time a new window of thought opened up.

Again, this article is a must read