As leaders, we carry a heavy responsibility to forge a path in life for ourselves and for those who make the journey with us. And we can lose our bearing if we are not careful. In all our efforts, life can quickly become about getting, about doing, and about achieving.
But the best of us follow a different course. And that is the path I aim to follow. I want these four words to summarize how I live?
Always Growing; Always Giving
Every day, we are consumed with the busyness of life. Tackling our work, our finances, and our fears. Engaging with our families, our friends, and our organizations. Chasing our dreams and ambitions. Dealing with our hurt and with our healing.
We focus on our priorities. I recently wrote about the five priorities?of a successful life: Faith, Family, Health, Joy, and Success. And these are good. Yet an even simpler way to measure?the thrust of our life can be found in these two principles: Always Growing; Always Giving.?If we study?the lives of great leaders like Jesus, Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Mother Theresa, and Mandella, we find that they demonstrated these two guidelines for living.
At church this Sunday, Pastor Jerry Savelle challenged the congregation: ?Aim to go to the another level in your spiritual walk this year.? This requires that we grow.
Days later, I was reminded of a key growth principle, as I met with a colleague and mentor, James Ochuka. He said, ?Spiritual growth has to be very intentional.? He described how fifteen years ago he became intentional about his walk with God. And his life has taken leaps forward ever since.
In every area of importance, we must be intentional to grow. ?Whether it is your parenting, your leadership, your thought-life, your health, finances, or relationships. If you expect growth, you must remain committed to grow. What is your current plan for growth? What have you done in the past to grow? If you don?t really know how to answer these questions, it is likely that you have not been intentional.
Many people don?t really know where to begin to take steps toward personal growth. If you are interested in learning more on where to begin, I invite you to read my free eBook, Challenge to Change, or begin my Five Part Series on creating your own personal growth plan.
Giving should not be an occasional gesture we make. It must be the most important part of our day. ?We can give someone hope, a hug, a smile, a hand, or a push. It takes practice, but when we infuse our daily routines with giving, we make it a lifestyle.?And then we are always giving.
A lifestyle of giving requires pre-determined thinking. It means intentionally looking for opportunities during your daily life to be a blessing to someone else. Giving encouragement is one of the best gifts we can give. Last night after a long day, I sat in a quiet place for thirty minutes and texted six different people on my team how much I appreciate them. I did not have to do that. But I wanted to.
Stopping to give, stopping to encourage, stopping to be a blessing to others… As hard as it is to do sometimes in our busy, pressured lives, we must make it a habit if we desire a life of meaning.
Actionable step: ?Consider making these four words a guidepost in your life. Write them down, and post them somewhere you will see them daily. Internalize them. And become intentional to be always growing; always giving.
About me: I have kissed the Blarney Stone. My step dad, Jack, is of Irish descent. Two years ago, Jack and I and two other family members went to Ireland. Jack said he wanted to kiss the Blarney Stone. So on top of the Blarney Castle, we squeezed our way up the tight round stone staircase. One by one, we laid on our backs, and leaned backwards at the edge of the castle, while an old Irish man held us in place. If you kiss the stone, the legend says you become eloquent. Jack was hoping to be the oldest man to kiss it at the age of 83. Turns out, the oldest person to kiss the stone was 94. So I guess we will have to go back when he is 95.
For Further Reading:
How To Sow Into The Lives Of Others
I Am Learning; But Am I Growing?