SSA: Sacrificial Service & Authority

Personal Development

You can find it difficult saying no and maintaining boundaries.

This could stem from an SSAs reputation for never turning down a request, or worse, from people have learned to make you feel guilty so you say yes all the time. For the SSA, there is nothing more important than setting healthy personal and professional boundaries. You also risk burning out and becoming bitter after always being taken advantage of. To know what to say yes to, you must also be clear on when to say no. People may not be happy at first, but ultimately you will be much more effective when you do say yes.

You can be tempted to make excuses for underperformance of others.

This can happen at work and in the family. SSAs can find it hard to give honest feedback, for example during reviews, especially when it is negative and underperformance is an issue. SSA parents can also avoid accepting negative issues in their children. Remember that building a platform of success under others also requires constructive criticism. Do not make excuses for others. Honesty and reality are the best policies.

If not careful, you can be exploited and become an enabler.

The result of the above disengaged behaviors is exploitation and enabling. You do not have to be in slavery or bondage to be exploited. It may be as simple as co-workers thinking they can always borrow something off your desk and never return it. Or you are always being assigned the last-minute shift because you never say no. And in the classic sense, the term “enabler” is often linked to situations involving addictions. Anytime you reinforce an individual’s pattern of negative behavior because you are unwilling to confront them with responsibility, it makes you an enabler.

You avoid positions of authority.

How can you be a servant leader if you are not willing to lead? Sometimes accepting authority is necessary for the synchronization of the entire organization or family.

Therefore, you can question your personal value and contribution in teams.

This is natural because of your innate desire to make others successful, even before yourself. But to begin questioning your worth will drastically undermine your gift to those around you. Do not. You may not be in the spotlight, but your value speaks for itself and others will often recognize and validate it before you do.

Extremes Scale

This scale was created to rapidly and clearly illustrate the spectrum of extremes of an individual’s intrinsic motivations as a SSA. This scale can then be used for coaching or consulting.

+ 5 Community Synergy:

Personal leadership, influence and authority transcend professional performance into greater social value across every social circle.

+4 Organizational Transformation:

Although professional challenges may paralyze co-workers, the SSA person still maintains the ability to be a catalyst for change, working with the hard cases.

+3 Acting as Change Agent:

Being a leader that empowers other leaders.

+2 Being a Culture Champion:

Being a servant leader to others and helping them invest in positive organizational culture.

+1 Growing in Personal Leadership:

Personally secure in professional potential. Willing to exercise influence and authority on behalf of self and others.

0 Setting Healthy Boundaries:

No longer taken advantage of yet not proactive about leadership.

-1 Lacking Personal Leadership:

Relies solely on others with institutional authority to provide backing and support without exercising personal influence.

-2 Stuck in Professional Quicksand:

Professionalism and performance are not in question, but there are areas that continue to be increasingly counterproductive. Although recognizing the issues, lacking the ability to change.

-3 Normalizing Issues:

Being constantly taken advantage but accepting it because it could be worse.

-4 Paralysis:

Although change is possible, lacking the understanding or motivation to start positive momentum.

-5 Victimization:

The target of overt harassment and other forms of professional and personal abuse; most likely completely oblivious to personal rights.

Legitimacy Gap

The following statement is the thought pattern that forms the Legitimacy Gap in an SSA. Believing this thought and acting on it leads to shortchanging the purpose, passions and potential of your MDNA.

‘‘I only have value and worth when I help others achieve their success first.’’

It is as important for someone with this MDNA to receive empowerment from others as it is to give it. In a truly engaged organization or group such as a family, everybody should be attempting to make everybody else great. Think of it like a great marriage. If each spouse goes above and beyond to meet the needs of the other before his or her own, then both are fulfilled and the relationship secure. An SSA will always have others that want to return the favor, each helping the other reach success.  As you serve, however, you must allow others to serve you. This could be as basic as allowing someone to lend a hand or taking time off when someone wants to bestow it for a job well done. Do not be bashful and self-deprecating. Learn to accept these honors and you will overcome the Legitimacy Gap.

Personal Development Plan

The simplest and most highly recommended method to develop your gift is to find legitimacy, your personal sense of self-worth, outside of your professional status and performance. In other words, to stop being motivated by the thought pattern that is at the core of the Legitimacy Gap. Remember, you are a human being and not a human doing.

Ask yourself this question: “If my professional status and ability to perform were abruptly stripped from me, how would I account for my self-worth?”

Most will be able to reference family or personal endeavors as the reason for feelings of self-worth. (If you did not have a solid answer to the question, you may need to make a serious investment of time to figure it out.)

Next, you need to evaluate your priorities.

Ask yourself this: “Outside of my professional status and performance, is my personal character truly reflective of where I know it should be?”

And this is where we must ultimately arrive before true development can begin. We must become honest about our character outside of work. Are you the same person regardless of the social circle you find yourself in? If your professional accolades did not count, would the people around you still celebrate your character?

It may sound counterintuitive to approach this as a professional by starting with Life outside of work, but again, this is the launch point to get where we all desire to be. Here is a very simple four-step process for re- synchronization from the Legitimacy Gap for the SSA.

1. Recognize:

Become aware of where you are feeling insecure professionally. What are your fears? Where is the anxiety? Write down whatever comes to mind. Do not judge what you write. Simply explore what may be there.

Do you find yourself constantly questioning your self-worth and ability to contribute? Does this compel you to shrink into the background even when you are called into positions of leadership?

Do you have difficulty receiving help? Especially in the areas of personal development where another leader seeks to help you?

Do you have such a hard time saying no that you feel your professional and personal boundaries are constantly being infringed upon? For example, people feel like they can borrow anything off your desk without permission; you are confronted with irrelevant personal issues; colleagues expect you to be available to answer emails 24/7; people tend to gossip about you more than they do about others?

Do you take a ‘‘peace-at-all-costs’’ approach to conflict? Do you have a difficult time accepting the liabilities of your team and those you support? This can also happen in family dynamics in which your spouse and children habitually disrespect you, and you have a hard time accepting it as wrong and recognizing the character issues are your family’s not yours.

2. Reframe:

When you experience professional conflict or setbacks, stop asking the question, ‘‘Why me?’’ Stop focusing on the transgression and start focusing on the opportunities to learn and to grow in character. Do not fall into the trap of bitterness.

Think about the areas in which you can adopt a positive outlook despite disappointments. Always look at the bigger picture and look for the developmental opportunities within.

Believe that in the context of servant leadership, how you support your leaders is how others will naturally desire to support you. Therefore, you will be trusted with leadership so that you may be an example and meet the tangible needs of the group. Start receiving the equipping to become the leader you were designed to be.

3. Respond:

Reject the concept of ‘just getting by.’ Then believe that you have a right to enjoy a network of resources and relationships placed around you for your success.

Seek the very resources and relationships you need to move forward. You’ll be surprised what you find!

Set healthy boundaries. Before you know what to say yes to, you must first master the ability to say no. Write down the different areas that you need to set boundaries for. Have somebody who wants to see you succeed help you.

Find an individual, preferably a mentor, or a group, to stay accountable to during the process of re- synchronization. Ask yourself three questions and share your plans:

  • What should I START doing?
  • What should I STOP doing?
  • What should I CONTINUE doing?

4. Reflect:

Spend some regular time every week considering the following about being a SSA.

Again—at the risk of sounding like a broken record—the very fact that you seek to be anonymous and avoid the spotlight is precisely why you have the character and gifting to wield Life-based authority. The principle here is that the way you serve is the way others will serve you and ultimately trust you with leadership.

Your gift is one of humility and sacrifice, not one of desire for power. This produces the authority to demonstrate compassion in a proactive manner. Through this, you pave the path for others to be redeemed and experience dignity, even at the highest echelons of institutional authority. This leads to a multiplication effect on people and infrastructure for overall growth and abundance.

Be careful. The opposite to the gift of authority is the victim mentality. If you embrace a peace-at-any-cost approach, you will invite others to constantly violate your boundaries. This may seem counterintuitive to how you are wired but you must understand your boundaries.

Those that operate from a victim mentality may define boundaries but then sit completely outside of them and simply watch as other infringe on those boundaries. A victim mentality can involve the violation of sexuality, personal space, respect of one’s time, reputation, and other aspects of interpersonal dynamics. Do not let your motivation to serve be exploited beyond your physical, emotional and spiritual boundaries.

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