About my writing: My passion is to develop leaders who have eternity in mind with Jesus as their guide. To that end, I write about two topics. The first is leadership and character development. The second is Biblical principles through the lens of a leader.
To win in leadership, the weapon to hold onto is you alone—reflecting and planning how to win your own internal battles on a consistent basis.
It is so hard to slow down. Please consider though, can you block one hour to do nothing but think? I am challenging you today to look at your calendar and block one or several one-hour sessions in the coming week to think. Spend this time in part or whole reflecting on key battles you must win, areas in which you can improve.
Plato refers to internal victories saying, “The first and best victory is to conquer self.” If you have ever tried to wake up daily at 5AM to exercise and have devotional time you know what I am talking about. In these and other areas, there is an intense battle, akin to a duel between two men in the 18th century. One side will win. The other must die.
Let us conquer the following.
- Battle to control our emotions and thoughts.
Last year a person in Fort Worth, where I live with my family, got angry in traffic and stepped out of his car with a gun. Someone had cut him off. He walked toward the other vehicle and when the other driver saw him coming, he grabbed his own gun and shot the first driver dead. Terrible tragedy.
We may read this and think we would never do something like that. But we do. All the time. We may not shoot someone in anger. We may not even get angry. But we all have emotions we wrestle with, which if we remain unaware of, lead to thoughts that are neither healthy nor sane. In those moments, we, too are subject to become injurious to ourselves and others. What are your emotions? Are you insecure? Do you feel inadequate, defeated, or sad? Do you become easily anxious, overwhelmed, or frustrated?
Great leaders control their emotions and the thoughts that enter their minds. We recognize them and swoosh them away like we would an unwanted insect.
- Battle to control our daily schedule and priorities.
I recently read about a highly successful leader of an international company. He had two qualities I loved. First, his family time was sacred—a product of planning your calendar and respecting your priorities. Second, he planned his work day to within five-minute increments.
Peter Drucker said, “Nothing else, perhaps, distinguishes effective executives as much as their tender loving care of time.”
If your calendar is empty in big or small chunks, it will get filled by emergencies and whomever and whatever screams the loudest. Great leaders define their priorities, defend their time, and guard their calendar.
- Battle to only work in our uniqueness.
For many years, I wanted to know and live in my strengths. I still do, but now I want to take it to another level. I want to live in my uniqueness. I would not only like to do what I am good at, but also what no one around me can do as good as I can. If people around me can do what I can do to a level of even 70-80%, I let them do it. I want to do the things that others may not be able to do, the things in which I can bring world-class results. This looks different among each team I am a part of.
What is your unique contribution to your family, team, or organization?
- Battle to control our attitude toward people.
The best of us love deeply. We endeavor to love people consistently, genuinely, and wholeheartedly. I want to follow a leader who loves me and cares for me.
Walking in love is hard to do when we are tired, emotional, or focused on our own pain. It is hard even when we feel good. It is easy to love our families, but it takes tremendous character to love everyone who touches our path.
- Battle to keep our dream alive.
What is a beautiful dream you once had? What is the dream that attracted to you to the organization you are a part of? For the sake of your calling and your people, battle daily to keep your dream vibrant and alive.
It’s a great battle I have often failed. But any time I let faith take over and allow myself to dream, good things seem to happen, whether immediately or eventually.
What makes you weep? What makes you pound the table in indignation? What is worth sacrificing dearly for? In answering these questions you may find your current dream.