part three: six non-negotiables you need to survive in today’s economy

There are six non-negotiables you need to survive in today’s economy.

Let’s remind ourselves of the first four:

1.  You need a SAVIOR
2.  You need a NAME
3.  You need a PASSION
4.  You need a COACH

And now for non-negotiables # 5 & 6:

5.  You need a DIVERSION

I learned about diversions when I invested three of my years of ministry studying a business model called TQM – total quality management.  Yes, pastors must know a few things about business practices in order to lead a church.

The distinctive qualities of TQM are:

1. Synergistic relationships
2. A commitment to excellence
3. Continuous improvement
4. Become a lifelong learner

Developing synergistic relationships, committing to excellence, continuously improving, and being a lifelong learner are extreme demands.  To pursue those realities I needed diversions to clear my mind, distractions that enabled me to rethink my situation.

Most of us will admit the daily grind wears us down.  Most of us will acknowledge the routine of a job does not give you much room for improvement or growth.  It is what you do outside of that environment that fosters growth and personal discipline.

My diversions are quite simple: I like to run, I like to read, and I like to play golf.

I like to run, especially long distances, to clear my mind.  I am able to solve problems, understand situations, and preach sermons when I run.

I like to read, because it is in reading l learn.  It is in reading I grow.  If I can give someone $15 or $20 for them to learn from their expertise and research, then I think that is a great investment.

I like to play golf because it is something I can always improve.  Plus it helps me manage my temperament.

6.  You need a SIGNATURE

I have a friend of mine who has the most beautiful signature you have ever seen.  It is very large.  He writes with a flowing script.  It is most distinct.  He says he practiced signing his name because he knew in his career he would be signing many of documents, so he wanted a distinctive signature.

My 19 year-old-son, on the other hand, has an illegible signature.  When we were applying for passports a few years ago I made him write a more readable signature because I did not want some foreign police arresting him because of his terrible handwriting.  And the funny thing is: he thinks his signature is cool.  Go figure.

That is not the kind of signature I am describing, however. I am not talking about the way you sign your name.  Instead, I am talking about the way you do your job.

I imagine the climate in which you work is highly competitive.  I am sure the profit margin is slim, and there is probably not much difference between your product and the product of your competitor.  So, how do you make the sale?  It is you.

You are the difference.

In the competitive market in which you work, how are you different, what makes you distinct, what makes you unique?  That is your signature.

Laurie Beth Jones, in her book Jesus: CEO writes about when she spoke for a small grocery story.  During the talk she encouraged every employee to find a way to leave their mark, to put their signature on their job.

A few weeks later, the manager of the grocery store called to tell her about how one employee, a young man with Downs-Syndrome had developed his signature.  He placed Bible verses and other motivational statements written slips of paper in each bag of groceries he bagged.  As people checked out, he would place the encouraging note in their grocery bag.

His signature was such a success, that people would stand only in his life.  Many people did this even though other lines were open, just to receive one of his notes.

What is your signature?  What separates you from the others sales people in this room?  What makes you memorable or distinct to your customers?

There are six non-negotiables you need to survive in today’s economy:

1. You need a Savior
2. You need a name
3. You need a passion
4. You need a coach
5. You need a diversion
6. You need a signature


8 Responses to “part three: six non-negotiables you need to survive in today’s economy”

  1. February 21, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    Great stuff, Ryan. I linked it to my Twitter crowd. Very practical, practical and biblical. Ray

  2. February 21, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    I meant, very positive, practical and biblical. ray

  3. 3 Searching
    February 23, 2009 at 7:11 am


    I would have to say that those are very sound non-negotiable attributes in any economy or at any time in life. One has to know who they are to have any chance of knowing where they are going, or to be able to form any kind of life plan. And to find any measure of success one absolutely has to know “whose” they are. Any motivation one can find to establish some identity will only help one clarify one’s direction in life. That last one is significant, perhaps more significant than many people seem to realize. I was delighted to find you including it. These are the attributes we are most known by in life here. And it seems that one’s signature wraps it all up together.

    Thanks again Brother Ryan!

    Soli Deo Gloria!!

  4. February 23, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    One of the things I have the hardest times with is diversion. I work hard, work quite a bit – it is my pleasure and honor to be able to support my family and ensure that Amy can stay at home and raise our children. It is a sacrifice, but it’s worth making. Therefore, there is little to no “me time.” I feel guilty whenever I want to go do things I enjoy doing (to the extent that I had to convince myself that going to the men’s weekend retreat was a good idea).
    Thanks for sharing these with us. I may need to do some thinking.


  5. February 23, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Ray, great to hear from you. Thanks for the pub.

    Searching, I agree. #6 is what most us distinct in the market place.

    Emmanuel, you better find a diversion before you burn out! Make it fun. When my kids were younger, I included them in my diversions. We called them daddy days. I would spend the day with my kids to give mom a break. We’d fly kites, swing in the swings at the park, go fishing, you name it. They loved it and it gave me a break from the grind.

  6. February 24, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Pastor Ryan,

    I think I should have been a bit more specific. 🙂 I do have daddy days – I try to make each one of the boys and our little girl feel special. I do things with them individually. I do things with them without Amy being involved. I guess, though, that during this period of time, while the kiddos are still young, my “me” time will need to be “us” time. That’s where my guilt comes in: when I try to take some time for just myself.

  7. February 24, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Emmanuel, this is just my opinion, but the time you have with your little ones is so priceless and such a small amount of time, spend your down time with them. In just a few years you will have plenty of time to catch up what you want to do. I do not regret a single outing, a single moment of daddy time I spent with my children. Now that they are almost grown, I want more time with them. Perhaps that is why grandparents spoil their grandchildren.

    Keep the faith.

  8. February 24, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Ok, that’s exactly what I’m doing. Seems I’m on the right track. 🙂

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