In the world of architecture, there is a rule: form follows function. The idea is that if a structure is not safe or sound, there’s no point in making it pretty. A pretty building that can’t stand up is useless.
In the world of vocation (call, purpose), the opposite is true: function follows form.
Let me explain.
As a California transplant to the Pacific Northwest, I thought it was pretty great when we moved next to a family of bald eagles. My neighbors didn’t admire the eagles the same way I did because they had grown up around them. Also, I’m way more enlightened and deep.
When you look at a bald eagle, you notice a few things. It has long, sharp talons. It has a razor-like beak. It has massive wings for soaring and powerful eyes that can see deep into murky water.
The point is, you don’t look at a bald eagle and think, “That would make a great pet for Aunt Tilly.” Instead you think, “That sucker could eat Aunt Tilly’s Chihuahua, no problem. And that would be pretty cool.”
Function follows form. It’s true for bald eagles. It’s true for you and me.
Contrary to popular belief we can’t be whatever we want when we grow up. And we shouldn’t try. We should be true to our form instead.
You’ve got a particular set of gifts, talents, experiences, relationships, and opportunities. Your combination of these things is completely unique. They represent your unique design.
When you make life choices based on your unique design, it’s good for you and good for others. When you make choices based on forms you feel you should be, you lose and we lose.
That’s why we need you to better understand what makes you, you.
And why we need you to function out of that form. It’s good for you and, ultimately, good for the world.
I used to want to be a bald eagle, but I’ve decided to own my crow-like nature. Crows have their place, too. Once – and I’m not making this up – I saw a couple of crows chase one of the bald eagles back to its tree. That made my inner crow smile.