Integration. It’s a big buzzword for business, and it looks great on paper. But what does it mean for a young Catholic professional, working in the middle of the (often secular) world? Letting our Faith integrate within every facet of our lives is a challenge that we all face.
In the words of Executive Speaker Jeff Schiefelbein, “I’m not just ‘work’ Jeff from 9 to 5, then ‘family’ Jeff when I get home, then ‘church’ Jeff on Sundays. If you really want to Work in Witness for Christ, you need to live it, all the time.” How so? Jeff shared some practical ways to integrate our Faith in our everyday lives:
1. Vocation – We all should be striving for professional excellence, no matter what field we are in, but that doesn’t define who you are. “My real job is first and foremost being a husband and a father to my two little girls. I need to help create a path for all of them to get get to Heaven, and to strive for sainthood each and everyday.”
Jeff says that only because he and his wife are both all in 100%, not just 50/50, they are able to dedicate themselves completely to their vocation. No matter what God is calling us to do at this time in our life – single or married, working or in school – we need to dedicate ourselves 100% in order to live our vocations to the fullest and strive for our own sanctity, in every environment.
2. Prayer and Perspective…Especially in Tough Conversations – Have you ever had to have a difficult conversation with someone? Whether you’ve had to fire an employee or relate some bad news, it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself and make the situation about you – how you feel, how the other person will think about you – instead of the person that is on the receiving end. Jeff said that he made this mistake early in his career, but he has found that the real secret to tough conversations is Prayer and Perspective.
“You need to pray before, during and after that conversation. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, and ask ‘what does this person need to hear in order to help them move forward?'”
3. Be Bold and Stand Up for Your Faith – Unless you live in a giant bubble, you have probably encountered some type of anti-Catholic sentiment in the workplace or among peers. Jeff encourages us to be bold about our faith instead of falling for fleeting human respect.
“A lot of times, people say ill-humored things because they don’t really understand…If someone wants to give you a bad time about your Faith, that’s a gift!” Look at moments of persecution as opportunities to share and educate others instead of shying away from them.
4. The Power of Words – Words have the power to build people up or tear them down. We’ve all been on both the giving and receiving end of gossip, and little do we reflect on how our words affect others. Instead of participating, walk away the next time a destructive conversation starts. Jeff even suggests, “you can say, ‘I don’t want to be a part of this conversation,’ and change the subject.”
5. Commitment – “The irony about commitment is that it’s so liberating. It frees you from pretending to have rational hesitation and allows you to fearlessly dedicate yourself to the things that matter.” We ultimately suffer when we do things half-heartedly. When we’re not giving 100% to our job, our work performance suffers and we can fall into a negative slippery slope of “blaming the system” and feeling sorry for ourselves. When we’re committed to the work we are doing, we will work more productively and see better results.
“It’s the same with Love – it is the most liberating moment when we decide to fully commit ourselves,” Jeff reflects when talking about both his wife, Amanda, and his Faith. Referencing Matthew Kelley, Jeff notes that regarding commitment, “our life changes when our habits change.” What is holding you back from commitment today? How would your life change if you truly committed?
By beginning to practice these 5 things in our lives, we can truly begin to integrate our Fatih in our everyday lives as young Catholic professionals. By doing these things, we will not only begin to change ourselves, but it may also begin to change those we interact with on a daily basis.
“The #1 way to start living in Witness for Christ is to give 100% to the person you are talking to. People are attracted to that level of authenticity and respect in every moment, and you will begin building relationships with those around you. Young Catholic Professionals is helping people like you and me not to be complacent where we are, to always continue to ask ourselves ‘how can I be doing something better, how can I strive for my best in order to Live and Work in Witness for Christ?”
On April 14th, YCP Austin welcomed Jeff Schiefelbein for our Executive Speaker Series. Jeff is a YCP National Board Member and Chief Culture Officer at 5, an energy advisory and services firm. In his presentation, he shared practical tips to incorporate in order to live (and work) in witness for Christ.