Becoming a Unicorn in Lent
Michael Thomson, CVV 17
Change. A word that we throw around a lot. To make or become different. An act or process through which something becomes different. In the startup tech space that I work in now, change is often viewed as something highly desired. In fact, everyone is looking for that “unicorn” that doesn’t just change things, but will totally disrupt an industry.
The thing about change is that it’s sort of “sexy”. In business, startups are “sexy” because they hold a potential to change the world. Startups receive high valuation because they use a technology in a different way and change the way we address different problems.
Change is something that we strive for in our personal lives as well. If I look at where I was two and half years I go, I observe a very different life. Then single, now married to a beautiful strong, independent woman (also a CVV alumna); then a social worker, now in business at a tech startup; then living in Denver, now living in Paris, France. These changes came relatively quickly. I mean, how does this not sound “sexy”.
But are these life changes equivalent to a “unicorn” startup? Or maybe this is all a bust? As I think about what makes an Uber, an Airbnb or similar company successful, I observe two key things.
- They pursue growth, understanding that they need to adapt and develop over time.
- At their core is a well-built business model and technology and they work to maintain this and not lose sight of this.
Many companies put themselves at risk by not identifying their core values and assets, being highly opportunistic towards growth saying yes to everything and then cloud their business over time that they lose who they are. But what does this have to do with me and what does this have to do with Lent?
Leaving CVV several years ago, I felt comfortable with my self-understanding because my relationship with God was intentional and nurtured. I remained in Denver, tied to the same routines and the same community. The past two and a half years, so many changes came into my life all at once, that I lost my routines and my communities. In the change, I forgot my relationship with God, and over time lost myself. I chose to pursue growth and change for all the right reasons, but in the process lost sight of my core self.
For me, this Lenten season is about rediscovering all of this. The simplicity of Lent is found in eliminating the clutter in our life so that we can find our centers again and utilize our energy in areas that are meaningful. It allows us to remind ourselves that Jesus has made the ultimate sacrifice for us because he believes we are all “unicorns”.
I find it easy to understand that God sacrifices his son for our salvation because as someone who is married, it is easy to imagine ourselves as the “lover”. What has been increasingly difficult is to understand why us? Why me? Taking the understanding from the perspective of the “loved” is a challenge. Perhaps it is because I have spent two years measuring myself with the metrics of business and the job market, when I should be measuring myself with the metric of God’s love. An unconditional love that is all-encompassing and can envelop every aspect of our life if we recognize it and allow it. Although it is an unwavering love that is always present, it has been something that I have not intentionally sought out in the years full of change. It is that love that allows us to understand our core selves as children of God. It is that very love that inspired me to create changes in my life, but I got so caught up in the changes that I lost sight of why those changes were meaningful in the first place.
Different times in my life, have reflected different relationships with myself and with God. The one clear thing is that the times when I was intentional and actively reflecting, that “unicorn” status was not far from reach. This relationship ebbs and flows with the changes in life, but as with all relationships we must be intentional in nurturing it even when everything around us starts to look different. We all have the potential to be the “unicorns” of this world because:
- We grow overtime; adapting and learning while impacting more and more people with our lives.
- Through R&D, prayer and simplicity we can do amazing things because we understand that we are children of God who are deeply loved.