Interview: Sheeba Philip

[caption id="attachment_708" align="alignleft" width="193" caption="Three 4word women! From left to right: Shaunti Feldhahn, Sheeba Philip and Diane Paddison"][/caption]

Good morning, everyone. Today, we’re introducing you to Sheeba Philip, who is the Director of the Global Oreo Business for Kraft Foods. In her current position, she is responsible for accelerating growth and building brand equity for the 2 billion dollar brand in more than 100 countries. That entails a good deal of travel. In fact, we had to conduct Sheeba’s interview over email, because she’s been in Europe for the past couple of weeks!

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4word: You mentioned that one thing you are struggling with right now is how to balance your job and the rest of your life (time with God, friends, family, etc.) Is there something in particular that makes this a struggle for you?

Sheeba: Lately, I’ve been contemplating the differences between an eternal and an earthly perspective and what it would mean if I truly lived with an eternal perspective in mind. Am I spending time and effort on the things that have a lasting value and build God’s kingdom here on earth?

I think the root of my struggles with work/life balance is the fact that I am often operating from a short term, earthly perspective. When I operate that way, I tend to prioritize things that often don’t line up with my core values and don’t carry the same weight that they would if I looked at them through the eyes of God’s kingdom.

4word: What is one of the most difficult things about learning to prioritize and deciding how to order your priorities?

Sheeba: Being okay with not pleasing everyone! As you make the tough choices to prioritize those things that matter the most to you and the Lord, inevitably, someone might feel you are not meeting her expectations.

For me, the thing I am trying to deprioritize more and more is putting work first. If I choose to spend quality time with a close friend vs. meet the ever present demands of my job, I have to be ok with not living up to my own expectations or even my team/manager’s expectations when it comes to my performance at work. I have to remember that I serve an audience of ONE – Christ. If He is pleased, then that is all that should matter.

4word: So it sounds like God is teaching you to let go of perfection. Has that been difficult to do? Why is it so important?

Sheeba: The driving force behind many accomplished women is a spirit and pursuit of excellence. This spirit is what helps us achieve great things, but it can also be our biggest spiritual challenge! The need to do everything well, be at the top of our game in all things and have everyone admire us and think we are the best of the best is what has gotten us to our positions of influence, prestige, etc. However, it is not sustainable.

Our need to be perfect in all that we do can also be the thing that creates self-condemnation, a spirit of striving, not resting, and a lack of the joy and peace that we are called to in Christ. The reality is that our identify cannot be in the things we achieve – it must be in Christ.

It’s hard to let go of the world’s evaluation of who we are and fully embrace the peace, joy and affirmation that come simply from being a daughter of Christ – nothing more, nothing less. Christ doesn’t love me any more or less if I get straight As or excel at work every minute of every day. How much freedom could we experience if we actually loved ourselves that same way?

4word: As you've begun letting go of your need to be perfect, has that helped you maintain a better work-life balance? If so, how?

Sheeba: Yes! When I live with an eternal perspective and let go of the need to be perfect, I have the freedom to make choices that honor Christ instead of the world and can start to be okay with not giving it “my all” for everything, just what God tells me is most important.

I begin to find deep contentment in my relationship with Christ, so work becomes about glorifying God, not affirming myself. As a result, I’ve found I can start to make choices to prioritize other things like time with God, friendship/family and ministry with a spirit of joy and peace!