In today’s global economy, society often uses career success to define an individual. Think about how many times you have been asked, “So, what do you do?” Unfortunately, many people use this question as a way of sizing others up. This creates an array of emotional responses too.
You might dread answering such a question, thinking your career is just not where you want it to be. Others may excitedly divulge every detail of their career, believing they are truly successful. Career success has sadly become a foundational measuring stick for self-perception in the global marketplace.
Christian professionals are not immune. Career success for us has also become a part of our self-perception. Since we strive for something beyond the fiscal world, holiness, we as Christians can sometimes feel career success and holiness are therefore in conflict.
Indeed, holiness might seem counter intuitive to achieving career success. How could a person, striving for holiness, succeed in profit-driven corporate America? Is it even possible? Careers indeed come with scenarios that challenge the Christian striving for holiness.
Roger D. Andersen captures this sentiment in his book The Executive Calling: “For some, the price of success is a loss of one’s moral compass. As Christian leaders, you may be surrounded by people who are victims of this. They may be your peers or your boss. They may draw you into their fraternity.”
This calls us therefore to a new question: Does the price of career success demand we forfeit holiness?
The answer partly depends on how we define success as Christians. Jon Gordon, author of The Energy Bus, looks at success in one’s legacy. He writes, “The best legacy you could leave is not some building that is named after you or a piece of jewelry, but rather a world that has been impacted and touched by your presence, your joy, and your positive actions.” When success is defined in this light, holiness won’t be sacrificed after all.
So, how do you measure success?
Jesus teaches us that where our treasure is, our hearts will be also. Our definition of success will be measured therefore, by our focus. So, is it possible to be focused on corporate success and holiness together? Are they mutually exclusive? Can a person be holy and still achieve financial success for the company and business?
The answer is a resounding yes! There are many Christians who live for Christ and continue to succeed in their corporate life. Follow this blog for future insights into how these men and women honor Christ and achieve real career success.
Shawn Sommerkamp is a motivational speaker and Executive Coach with 20+ years of Fortune 100 leadership experience. He founded Motivationeer™ to coach Christian professionals how to bring the power of Christ’s word, as the foundation of career success, into corporate and small business America.