We can often find ourselves in place of difficult struggle. What we see and know does not align with what we want. Many people say its part of life. No one is perfect, but yet we shoot for perfection... no one is the best at everything they do, but we always try... no one knows everything, but we act as if we do. Why is it that we press so hard to be so wise and perfect at everything? It is our human nature to be the best we can at all times. Even in crime, the goal is not to get caught. No matter who you are and what you do, your goal is always to be the best at what you are putting effort into. There is no exemption.
In my realization of this, I have come to the conclusion that the opposite is also true. When we do not care, we do not pursue that perfection. It is like that “nine to five job” we hate, or that person that just drives us nuts. We are so selfish in our nature that we do not even realize who we hurt or disappoint. Regardless of what the particular thing is we just can't seem to get it right. Many of us feel the urge to be accepted by everyone. It is how we are created after all. However, we are also created with a heart and a conscience and we can tend to ignore them.
A leader is simply a person followed by others. Though it may seem pointless to define the word leader, I find it crucial for my mission. Leadership is simply the action word of a leader. I have broken down a simple task for each letter. I foresee that it will soon become a difficult challenge to maintain. These tasks will become harder before they become easier. It is true that our habits become our character. I challenge anyone willing to become a true leader and do this "simple" challenge. No matter where the struggle is, this challenge is applicable.
We can so often see love as that thing they describe in the movies. Finding that person that we want. How is it that we compare or contrast something we need to something we want? I know the real life story of a young boy in a third world country who died do to the lack of love. Yes there was some lack of nutrition. However he literally never made it, because by the time someone started to show love it was too late. Love is something we do consciously. Itʼs not that thing that just springs up in us when we “meet the one” and goes away when we get hurt. Never let pride interrupt love. Sometimes we can be in a place that is hurtful and our tendency is to protect ourselves. So we shut down and block all emotion during that time. Being hurt is sometimes part of being loving. Jesus Christ was crucified. That had to hurt, but His actions were the most loving in all of history. While He suffered physically, emotionally and even spiritually He was sacrificing His life for all of us. A true act of love.
You got to try! Sometimes we do not succeed because we simply did not try. We can write lies in my heart about the outcome to rationalize the lack of effort. It may hurt to try at times, but like the popular sports saying, "no pain, no gain." Effort goes a long way. It not only shows love, it also provides some satisfaction. Someone pointed out an oxymoron to me the other day. We say that “quitters never win and winners never quit.” So with the agreement of the validity of that quote, lets evaluate contradicting one. “Quit while youʼre ahead.” In the same way this just opened your eyes to an oxymoron, we often bring our efforts into these categories. Itʼs either all in or all out, or we reach a goal and waste no more efforts in exceeding our own expectations.
It is a human tendency to react. We create actions based on circumstances. The reality is that even if it is our human nature, reactions are not leadership traits. Reacting allows others to control us by their actions rather than us leading through our actions. It is simple to think and meditate on things and ideas that we know can help us to become a better leader. However without acting on those great ideas, they are just ideas. You can't win a game because you have a great play in your mind or even in the playbook. It's once you run the play, that it now has value. In the same way is our leadership role.
Never settle with even a small loss! If things are of small value to me, whether emotional, physical, or even monetary I can tend to just brush it off. Well, I have observed that something that may be small to me might not be of the same value for someone else. The particular item or thing may have no significance to any party, but the exposure of being a quitter goes a long way. Also, that one mistake can cost a lot more in the long run if it's not corrected. It is important to not let even the smallest of things defeat you. Iʼm not saying to start a war or inflate something small. I am simply stating that we cannot allow ourselves to be defeated.
Do it with a smile! This challenge is a lot longer of process than I can even imagine. One thing I know is that I need to do it with a smile. Enjoy every minute of it. Even in the toughest times, I need to see the bigger picture. Besides as leader, I will be followed in every aspect. I want those who I am setting an example for to be just as enthused as I am.
Do not loose it! It is really easy for me to loose my cool react rather than respond to situations and/or outcomes. it is crucial I stay calm at all times. One bad move can create a fear based leader, rather than a loving leader.
Give yourself up! I can find myself sometimes in a very selfish place. No cares about me if I don't care about them. It is also true that by sacrifice, I can show how much I truly value the person over the "thing." Christ sacrificed Himself for us, we in return love Him and want to be like Him.
It's not always black and white! In life things can never be for sure. We know life and death is, but everything in the middle is unknown to us. I know the value in hope. It provide that strength when I feel there isn't any way out. When I feel rock bottom is here, hope gets me out. It provides that extra strength that I need to move passed the pain or defeat.
Lift others up! In our selfish little worlds we can find ourselves being inspired, but never sharing any of it. Inspiration is something that drives people. It picks them up when they are down.
Get directions and take the wheel! This one can be a bit tricky, but let me explain. Just as in a road trip where there is a driver and most times some passengers, in leadership there is a leader and obviously some followers. I know that as a leader it is my responsibility to persuade. If everyone is heading in a different direction, then you have many leaders and no followers. Notice the word used here is persuasion and not command. Sometimes I can tend to command rather than persuade. The difference is that in persuasion there is no resistance. The follower(s) are on board with the decision. Another difference between persuasion and command is that for someone to persuade another, there has to be some acceptance from the follower. In other words, they are not just on board cause I convinced them (that's conning), they are on board because they have seen value and reasoning in my choice and are now willing to move forward. It is really important to see that difference. A decision has to be made and this is an area that can create a lot of conflict.