What Productivity Isn’t


I’ve come to this realization, yet again, that I am getting it all wrong. And by “it” I obviously mean life.

I had the privilege of going to Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. Hosted every year in Chicago by Bill Hybles, influential leaders from all over the world, both in the church and in Corporate America, are invited to come and share their insights on effective leadership.

Speakers included Jim Collins, author of the critically acclaimed “From Good to Great”, Tony Dungy, Andy Stanley, Jack Welch, Blake Mycoskie, founder and chief-shoe-giver of TOM’s shoes, and many others.

I was truly inspired by each speaker; challenged to be more proactive, challenged to face personal and professional obstacles with a little more excitement and gumption, and challenged to be great. According to Jim Collins, “greatness is not a matter of circumstance, rather it is a conscious decision to be disciplined”

One question that Mr. Collins posed was this– “Do you spend more time trying to be interesting, or do you spend more time being interested?”   

And this was the first of many times throughout the conference that I thought to myself, “Crap. He saw me.” 

Because I do. I do spend more time trying to be interesting.  How? I stay fantastically busy.

I keep myself busy doing… stuff.  Little of it is ever really important or productive.  I have always associated being productive with staying busy, doing things, accomplishing tasks, etc. For me, those tasks have been completely self-serving and of absolutely no eternal significance. Staying busy has been, for so long, a way for me to feel valuable and important.  Because if I am doing things, going places, and seeing people, then surely it is because I am needed or wanted.

Negatory. On all accounts.

Productivity has nothing to do with doing– it has everything to do with being.  Productivity has nothing to do with what I accomplish; instead productivity has everything to do with what is accomplished in me.

Productivity isn’t about what I produce, it is about what is developed in me.

I am most productive when I am most quiet and still.  Productivity comes from undeterred concentration and undistracted contentment in God alone.  Productivity comes from being in His presence. Because to be in His presence promises that I will be changed– I will not be left the same when I see Him clearly, hear Him speak candidly, or feel Him move closer; I can not remain as I once was.

Productivity is in essence, total surrender.

Consume all of me
And leave nothing untouched
Go on and take everything
Cover me with the blood of your love
Cause all of me is all for you
Do with me whatever you want to

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