Faith-journey stories shared with 1,000 people at a Silicon Valley breakfast reveal a common thread, in fact, 4 Steps to a Spiritual Epiphany. Compare this to your own journey. ◊
I heard two very unique but similar Christian testimonial stories today. Two very different people, business author Patrick Lencioni (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team), and high-tech business woman Sue Warnke (Salesforce), each shared their own personal spiritual journey to an audience of about 1,000 people at the annual Connect Silicon Valley prayer breakfast event held at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
But while different in origins and path, their end results were profoundly similar – a real and vitalized faith poised for uniquely guided new trajectories.
And their stories aren’t new. They have been repeated over and over again throughout Christian history, and are reflected in our own personal testimonials and faith walks.
Indeed, every true follower of Christ must go through what I’ll call the 4 Steps to a Spiritual Epiphany.
Strategies for Faith Growth (Not Product Success)
In a popular Silicon Valley dotcom era book by Steve Blank, The Four Steps to the Epiphany1, the blueprint for a successful customer development model is laid out to support a startup’s ongoing product development activities. The goal is a successful product and business launch.
What I’m presenting here has nothing to do with product or business success. Rather it is the spiritual development blueprint as indirectly laid out today by speakers Lencioni and Warnke. It’s about a personal epiphany yielding life and spiritual success, namely in a personal connection with Jesus, the Lord God of all creation.
Success in this spiritual realm changes everything and redirects even highly successful, accomplished, and productive people in the marketplace to new heights and yes, blessings.
The Four Steps to a Spiritual Epiphany
In tracking their personal stories, here are the Four Steps to a Spiritual Epiphany:
- The Personal Walk – Sue Warnke grew up with no religious upbringing. She took pride in being a religious outcast and assertive agnostic. Her faith was in achievement and worldly success in which she performed quite well. Patrick Lencioni, on the other hand, was raised as a deeply abiding Catholic. He too was motivated by success and accomplishments in school and career. All of us, whether raised in or out of any religion, live a personal faith walk of varying degrees that directs or informs, to whatever effect, our life and worldview perspective.
- The Personal Crescendo – Like many, even with all the trappings of the good life (family, job, success), Warnke was reaching a point of dissatisfaction in her search for fulfillment. She even changed jobs in a futile pursuit for a more meaningful life. Lencioni was succeeding at even higher levels with business success, book sales, public acclaim, and shared podiums with other world-class speakers and business leaders. But he was burning himself out. Likewise for all of us, it is very common to tirelessly climb the success ladder to the top rungs in search of validation, financial reward, and personal satisfaction. The climb though often leaves us wanting.
- The Personal Breaking – Sue Warnke reached her breaking point alone in a hotel room far from home and mired in job failure. She shared that her desperate vocal cry to no one but herself, certainly not to God, was simply “I give up.” Pat Lencioni shared that he reached his breaking point at the height of achievement after feeling completely empty upon delivering a high-end speech in NY. Afterwards he walked straight off the stage in a catatonic state, down the street and directly into a cathedral whereupon he dropped down on his knees in outright brokenness. We too can recall a breaking point which drives us to our knees, in some cases for the first time, with a personal cry along the lines of “I can’t do it anymore.”
- The Personal Restoration – Warnke spoke of a new peace that has flooded her soul and stayed with her as she transitioned into a redirected life at work, at home, and at Church. Her career has been restored, her gifts are being discovered and used, and her newfound relationship with Jesus is thriving and stretching her to new levels of challenge and fulfillment. Lencioni spoke of a new bold alignment with Jesus, his business consulting and his book writing. He is experiencing a God-led redirection of his writings, ministry work, and daily Catholic faith. All of us can experience a re-calibrated and directed life fully utilizing our gifts and realizing blessings untold.
The Epiphany is for All of Us
Sue Warnke is a married mother of 3 teenage children. She experienced her spiritual epiphany just 2 years ago. Patrick Lencioni is a married father of 4 college/teenage boys. He experienced his spiritual epiphany 8 years ago.
God is infinitely gracious, loving, and amazingly patient with us all. I know. As a married father of 3 grown children and 10 grandchildren, I experienced my spiritual epiphany only 10 years ago.
How about you?
Where are you in the 4 Steps to a Spiritual Epiphany?
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21
1 The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products to Win, by Steven Gary Blank, Cafepress, 2006..