In today’s episode, I’m talking with Senior Engineering Advisor at SNG Consulting, Rick Steiner. Rick has both a heart-breaking and hope-filled story of breakthrough. But the most powerful piece was in how his vulnerability and imperfection provided connection in his relationships with both his dad and his own sons.
Listen as he reflects on a season of achieving many impressive career goals followed by a very dark season of unfulfilled expectations at many turns – and how God is restoring him day by day.
My discussion with Rick was full of insight you might not have considered before. Here is a summary of some of the most impactful ideas from this episode.
1 – It’s Possible to Be Connected But Not Convicted
Early on in his career, Rick experienced a lot of success. He enjoyed the challenge, but at the same time the demands were never-ending and he was always on the edge of burnout. When he was home, he was not actually present. His wife was the one to point out to him that even though he was successful, he wasn’t fulfilled and his own children were beginning to sense this too.
Even in this season, Rick would consider himself a believer. But looking back, Rick noted a real lack of connection and desire to be in tune with God’s plans for his future instead of his own. Had he slowed down to listen more, he may have been able to see some of the other ways God was ready to provide for him.
2 – It’s Courageous to Leave a Legacy of Imperfection
A significant moment in Rick’s story was when his wife asked him what his boys would think of him when they were older. What would they learn from a father who chose to stay in a job where he was so miserable? Rick reflected he thought that running this rat race was just what men were supposed to do. They find a way to provide and they stay loyal, regardless of the personal cost.
When I asked Rick what his boys see of him now after so many job losses, he said he hoped that they would see an imperfect man who tried to make the best choices along the way. More than that- that he tried to make the best choices with his family in mind. It is powerful when we can inspire our children to take risks and accomplish great things. But if we never teach them how to handle failure and wrestle with their imperfections, we are doing them a huge disservice.
3 – Transformation Happens One Choice at a Time
Through listening to the episode, you can easily pick up on how raw the pain still is for Rick when it comes to struggling with anxiety and depression. Rick made a very brave choice to step off of that ledge and accept the way God wanted to provide for him.
The relief Rick started to experience didn’t come all at once. One day he just started to realize he was doing better. The day after that he felt a little better than the day before. The old life was passing and the new had come.
Our days are made up of a million little choices that might not seem to matter, but the truth is they really do. For Rick, that involved taking more time to examine his heart and find ways to become more and more of a living sacrifice.
Rick and his two siblings were raised in El Centro California to Swiss immigrant dairy farmers. Though raised Catholic and educated in parochial school, religion always seemed more about ceremony and appearance than an actual connection to a living God. Rick made his way to the University of Arizona where he earned his undergraduate degree in civil engineering and became the first of his family to go to college. It was at U of A that he met his girlfriend, Anne, and now wife of 29 years. They moved to New Jersey after graduation where her early career opportunity took them.
Rick began graduate study at night while working at a young and prestigious civil engineering firm in New Jersey. He finished a master’s degree in civil engineering and earned a partner-level stake in the company. The formula of hard work and success seemed to work well until it did not. The demands of work relentlessly began to consume more of his life. In 2013 he resigned after a twenty-year run.
God often reveals Himself in the life circumstances He engineers. What followed during the next seven years was unplanned: he lost five jobs and his dad ended his life. Those dark and uncertain times forced a re-evaluation of what is truly important in life and an awareness that “the old life is gone; a new life has begun”. 2 Corinthians 5:17