This has been a very peculiar season of ‘leadership-life’ for me. I have come to the realization that I am a “good” leader. Also, that Jim Collins was correct when he said, “Good is the enemy of great.” In many ways as I have started to reflect on my current status as a leader, I have found that this has been a pattern my whole life. I realize that I have settled for good and spent the rest of my time complaining about not being great. Instead of making appropriate changes, I have increased my reach and only enhanced my “goodness” but did nothing to help move organizations I served past good towards great.
In high school, I remember cleaning up after football practice and talking to one of my coaches. He said something that, at the time, I did not understand. He said that, as a football player, I had become a “jack” of all trades but an “ACE” at none. It drove me crazy worrying about it. What I heard was ‘your average’, to be honest, it annoyed me.
Since then I carried around a fear about being average. I gave those words a prophetic place in my heart. Little did I realize that almost 30 years later God would bring the subject up again. I have found myself becoming very busy leading my family, leading at work, and leading in the community. This has left me with no room for “great” in any one of these key leadership areas. I want to thrive in life, but in order to do that I had to figure out a lot about time, God, leading, and love.
That is when I realized that time is one of my most valuable assets. I learned firsthand that there is a need for necessary endings in a leader’s life. It made me think hard about moving past good and forward towards the place in life where I can thrive. If any of this strikes a chord in your leadership life, then keep reading. My offering today is the questions I have been asking myself and the trail of self-reflection that I am confident will carry me forward to the future.
1. Are the seasonal rhythms of life normal? I am learning that I must be able to land things in order to soar to new heights. What seasonal rhythms have I been ignoring and why?
2. Can I really become everything to everybody? I needed to learn to incorporate my faith into my leadership and narrow my focus to the things I feel completely called to do.
3. What does Jesus value? Jesus tithed his ministry life. He lived 30 years as a member of a family. He spent about three years working at his public ministry.
4. What is the difference between good and great in my life? This is a heart question not a question of wealth, fame or glory. However, if greatness is an option am I prepared to respond?
5. What steps could I take to thrive in life? There is certainly a difference between surviving until the next day and really thriving. What can I do today that will move me forward in that?
6. How do I really feel about ending something? (Many times my feelings give me and indication of my emotional health.)
7. What has God called me to do? Become an entrepreneur, a Pastor, or a Doctor? Maybe I should go with that and serve God and others – just as I am.
8. How well am I managing my free-time? For me, I had to see this from the perspective of my loving wife. It really helped to get honest feedback.
9. How many hours of the week do I spend restructuring my schedule? The trick here was to stop saying yes before asking God about it.
I am learning that my personal leadership bucket may have a few holes in it. In order for me to excel past good leadership towards great leadership, I must learn to lead in the things that God values most for me. Being an “all-in-for-God,” kind of leader means living a life filled with purposeful actions yet contains the freedom to change when a new day dawns or a new season of life begins.