On April 25, 2014 I spoke at Oral Roberts University by Skype in Don Eland's very last class as a professor. What an honor to be with him and his students! Amazing questions! ("What is your greatest regret? How do you know if you called to start your own ministry? When is it best to stay on someone else's bus?"). Below are the main thoughts I shared (here are my actual presentation notes).
1. Know the Script.
Everyone lives out of one or more narratives. The problem with many people is they live out of false stories or stories too small. Live out of the Big Story found uniquely in God’s Word. Be in the Script every day.
2. Know Your Calling.
Who is God calling you to be? Starting points...
What do you enjoy most?
When do you feel most alive?
What have others affirmed in you?
How are you most able to help others?
3. Do it Long. Decades Long.
Once you figured out your calling, you have to do it long. Decades long.
I love the book by Eugene Peterson, "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction" (actually, I've never read it, but I think I get the idea).
I’ve seen some extraordinary 5-10 year runs, but those who have the biggest impact, don't flame out or cash out quickly.
Do something for 30 years. Or 50. That is how you change the world.
4. Excel At Your Craft.
There is no substitute for excellence.
There are no shortcuts to excellence.
Learn from others.
Make your biggest mistakes early.
Hone your craft. Hone your craft. Hone your craft.
Get your 10,000 hours quickly.
5. Become a story practitioner.
Story is the essence of life. The world is desperate for those who can capture their imagination. Story is visual whether it is on a screen, surface, or in the mind’s eye (oral).
6. Be the Person Others Want to Work With.
Your reputation is one of the most precious things you possess. It is built slowly, but tarnished quickly. I’m not just talking about major moral issues. I’m talking about small things that offer clues about the deeper nature of your character.
Do you show up on time? Or better still, a few minutes early.
Do you deliver on what you say you will do?
Do you honor those who reach out to you by responding to them?
7. Think Global.
You can impact the world. Maybe you'll make that $500m feature that circles the globe that everyone is talking about. But probably not. You can create content that might reach a few thousand people, but they might be someplace you never expected (the beauty of our Internet age). You could create a film for a least-reached people group. You might work for a group that isn't exactly focused on Hollywood. Opportunities abound.