Leadership is influence. Everything rises and falls on leadership, everything.
Set your values and pre-decide.
If you don’t know your values as a leader, it’s like running a race without knowing the course. If you literally don’t know where to run, you can’t possibly win.
We often talk about the importance of destination, but how you take the journey can not only alter how you experience the destination but even if you get there or not.
If among your (short) list of values are generosity, personal health, and honesty, you can immediately see how that would shape how you lead.
If you don’t know your values, you can’t make good decisions.
When you possess the conviction of your values, and that takes time, you can then begin to pre-decide what you will and won’t do so you are not tempted by pressure or emotion to make an unwise decision.
Leaders who are not guided by values at a convictional level are nearly guaranteed to derail over time.
Understand the art of making good and wise trades.
A major contributor of a meaningful life and successful leadership is the art of making good and wise trades.
For example, you make trades everyday about where you place your energy, hours, and resources. They either focus at home or work, and both are required.
Very few leaders can stay home all the time, and we know it’s not healthy to work all the time. You are trading asks, pressures, desires, and outcomes every day. You need to get really good at it.
Essentially you are trading time and resources back and forth, attempting to achieve your dreams according to the guidelines of your values.
Making trades is a never-ending and imperfect art, but some leaders get really good at it while others struggle all their lives.
The starting point is knowing your desired destination and the values that will guide your path.
Don’t allow yourself to get too shaken when you make a mistake, and you experience a setback. Make better trades tomorrow.
Practice learning how to calm your soul.
Leadership can be difficult under normal circumstances, and when you add any of several current cultural tensions and top it all off with COVID, leadership can become overwhelming.
Leaders who stay the course for all that God has in mind have learned how to calm their souls and experience joy even under setbacks, curveballs, and great pressure.
3 things that help leaders:
- Slow down. (Psalm 46:10-11, CEV)
- When you’re running at a good pace for a long period of time, your heart is not at rest. It’s the same with your spiritual soul. Far too many leaders live with low-grade anxiety nearly all the time.
- Take daily and weekly time to slow down. Be still and quiet. Breath deep – clear your mind. Reflect on the great blessings of your life.
- Invest in deep relationships.
- We are created for relationships, not isolation. We are designed for interdependence, not independence. Beautiful and deep relationships are at the core of a meaningful life.
- Battle fear and worry. (1 Peter 5:7, NKJV; Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV)
- Fear is a useful and God-given emotion, but when it takes over, you are robbed of God’s peace. The best antidote to fear is action.
- Worry is a complete waste of time; focus on what you can do, what you can influence, and leave the rest to God.
- The end result is greater joy.
Do the work.
You will not achieve anything of meaning or value without significant effort over a very long time.
At some point, endurance involves work, lots of hard work. There is no escape, but when you are pursuing a dream, guided by your values and experiencing joy, you can go the distance.
You might not land the full fruition of your dreams, but your life will still be well lived with great meaning.
Everyone defines working hard differently; that is perhaps part of the “making trades”.
Hard work will stretch you, drain you, make you think, and at times will push your limits.
Leadership is hard work; if you signed up for anything less, you are in the wrong seat. When you wrestle that truth down, you are positioned for greater results and greater joy.