What does it mean to color outside the lines?
When I reference lines and colors, I’m talking about the defaults and templates that exist in our business and ministry worlds. There are certain procedures and patterns for how things are done. The catch is that, sometimes, these patterns actually hold us back from innovating.
When I was younger, I believed I was called by God into the ministry. I also believed, based on the ministry templates I’d been surrounded with my entire life, that this limited me to three branches of employment: a pastor, a missionary, or an itinerant speaker. Today, I believe that God is more creative than that! When we go beyond our self-imposed limits, we’ll find that there’s so much more in store for us than the templates we’ve created for ourselves.
You have a unique gift— a unique color. Nobody else in all of history will possess the exact calling and color that you possess. Therefore, your color automatically falls outside of the lines anybody else can create for you. There is only one you.
What does this mean? It means you’re free to defy the expectations and limitations that culture or business models try to place on you. This isn’t an anti-authority message—it’s an anti-conformity message. So often, our greatest potential lies dormant because we subscribe to the notion that we need to mold ourselves into what’s expected of us.
Coloring outside the lines means that we embrace this truth: no one structure can facilitate a world where every individual finds and maximizes his or her unique purpose. Instead of an environment where we’re all competing to be the best in a single category, we find ourselves in a world filled with infinite categories. If you’re not the best in any particular category, you have the freedom to create another!
For instance, if you’re a business consultant—that’s a wide field—you don’t have to necessarily be the best business consultant. That’s a crowded field. Instead, you can be the best business consultant for women business owners. If that spot is also already taken, you can be the best business consultant for women business owners of retail companies. Do you see where I’m going with this? Each of us is meant to bring a unique color to the table—a color unlike any other!
Remember in Isaiah 43:19, when God tells the Israelites, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” We tend to make that phrase, “a new thing,” much more mysterious than it actually is. If you are created unique—if you carry a color inside of you that only you possess—then, by definition, you are “something new!”
All you have to do now is color outside the lines.
Martijn van Tilborgh is the co-founder of Kidmin Nation, owner of Four Rivers Media and Kudu Publishing, and is a renowned author, speaker, and leader in the marketing and communications space. books as handbooks worldwide in leadership development.
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