What’s Holding You Back?

David was an unlikely king. He was from a small town and the youngest brother of eight. He was a mere shepherd with no leadership experience. And he had a bad complexion to boot.

If he had been searching for a job, executive search firms would have passed him by. If he wanted to be a celebrity, the judges on American Idol would have sent him packing. If he were a wannabe author, publishers (like me) would have sent him a rejection letter.

Yet God sent the Prophet Samuel to anoint David as the King of Israel. Before the two of them met for the first time, God had to remind Samuel,

Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him [referring to Saul]. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Despite having such a thin resume, David went on to become the most famous king of all time. It is a sobering reminder of the possibility of impossible things. This is often the way God works.

Even St. Paul reminds us,

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:27–29

This was all made new to me this week when Lindsey Nobles, my corporate communications director, sent me a link to the performance of Susan Boyle on “Britains Got Talent.” I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch it. (If you are viewing this via email or RSS, you may have to go to my blog to view the clip.)

Never heard of her? Neither had I. But I’ll bet you won’t soon forget her. I know I won’t.

She is not someone you would ever choose based on her outward appearance and circumstances. Middle-aged, shy, and frumpy, she looks like someone cast as a librarian in a forgettable movie. She is from a small town in Scotland, never been married, the youngest of nine, and cared for her widowed mother until she died two years ago—not exactly someone you would pick out of the crowd to be the next singing sensation.

It just proves once again that it is not about your background, your lack of experience, your age, your platform, or any of a hundred other stories you may have told yourself. The real question is whether or not you believe you have a contribution to make and the courage to confront the cynics.

Question: What about you? What can you learn from Susan’s performance? What’s holding you back?
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