I am one of those daydreamers.
As a daydreamer I can see the potential of things but it maybe 20, 30 or more years before it could come into reality. As a daydreamer one of the challenges for me is the tension between what can be and what is in the realm of real time.The vision that begins to form in the dreaming, can seem so real and so present...like I can reach out and touch it. Then as my focus comes back into this realm where time exists, I am confronted with the distance between the dream and the details to make this dream a reality. For many years I have struggled with this part of me. I like the comfort of being a realist...operating in what I can see and understand...yet I can see things that others don't. I can see the potential; I can see the possibilities; I can see the options. Some people call this "the eye of faith". And this causes a hunger in me to move beyond the barriers and reach for these things that I can see.
After some experiences of sharing my daydreaming thoughts and having them shot down, I began to starve this side of myself. I would not indulge my dreaming as often. It seemed to bring disappointment and misunderstanding. It seemed to just be "pipe dreams" that had no true substance. But in time I began to see some of my earlier dreams begin to take shape. I began to recognize doors opening, and I started making steps that ushered in the reality of these earlier dreams. It was like a seed had been planted in those times of dreaming. Then it had laid dormant until the right season came for the seed to turn into the plant and produce its fruit. With this new understanding, I began to engage in the daydreaming again but with some better understanding this time. My desire is to share some nuggets to help encourage the daydreamers out there and to bring more understanding to those called alongside the daydreamers (friends, spouses, business partners, etc.). (click on READ MORE)
How many of you would identify this picture as a picture of leadership?
In this blog I want to talk about how this picture identifies the very heart of leadership. An integral part of leadership...Serving Others.
Many times we imagine a leader as one who stands out front giving direction and orders to others. Well, that is a level of leadership or a function of leadership, and at the same time, that can not be all there is to leadership. Leadership must embody so much more to be effective and successful!
Here are some quotes from John Maxwell's book, Developing the Leader In You 2.0:
Quote #1: “When you decide to serve others as a leader, the team’s success becomes your success.”
Quote #2: “The heart of leadership is based on serving others, not ourselves.”
Quote #3: “True leaders are motivated by loving concern rather than personal glory…”
As you chew on these quotes, what message is coming across to you??
Here are some thoughts:
Thought #1: Leadership is about how to serve/help/empower the people connected to your leadership.
Thought #2: Leadership is not about how people can make YOU look good but about how YOU can develop people.
Thought #3: Leadership cultivates a team concept vs a boss concept.
Thought #4: Leadership opens the door for communication, creativity, and reaching out beyond the box.
So, does every person or every organization cultivate this side of leadership? No.
And at the same time, you can cultivate this type of leadership within yourself. Remember, leadership is first influence. What kind of influence are you cultivating in the lives of others?
Here are some steps to consider if you dare to venture into these waters of "Serving Others".
Step #1: Begin to see people as valuable. Not an asset to be used but a treasure to be valued.
Step #2: Move from selfishness to selflessness. Put others' well being before your own agenda.
Step #3: Ask yourself: "What do I have to give to others to help them?" (gifts, knowledge, skills, time, etc)
Step #4: Ask yourself: "What positive thing can I say or do to encourage someone?"
Step #5: Start taking time and making effort to get to know the people around you (work, neighborhood, etc.).
So, the next time you slow down long enough to hold the door open for someone vs rushing to get your errand done, remember, you are taking a positive step towards developing the leader in you!
I use to love to hear my father in law talk about the building of their family home. It was a beautiful multi-level home built on the side of a tall hill in NW Arkansas. It was part of a new development in the mid to late 1960's. He talked about how he made sure the workers took the extra step to have extra steel rods placed in the foundation to support the house for the long haul. He knew the land in NWA and how foundations would crack and shift over time because of the terrain. He would check in on the progress regularly to make sure his instructions were being carried out. It took extra money and extra time, but he wanted the house to stand the tests of time. He didn't want the house to come tumbling down that tall hillside. And it has stood the tests of time! It remains a securely anchored home to this day...some 50 plus years later!
When we think about our leadership, we can think about it being like a home we are building in the lives of people or organizations. And as we build this structure of leadership, the foundation counts! We want our leadership to be stable. We want our leadership to last through tough times. We want our leadership to leave a legacy that others can be inspired by and empowered by. How do we build such a leadership? Well...foundation counts! What is our leadership securely founded on?
John Maxwell has some interesting points to share about this topic in his book, Developing the Leader Within You 2.0. He says that CHARACTER is the foundation of leadership. So, our good character is what provides a stable foundation to our leadership.
That's a big word to reflect on...Character. It involves an inner development vs an outward image. It involves such things as honesty, being teachable, genuineness, and grit. Wow! Not skills like: planning, time management, casting vision, gaining buy in, setting and accomplishing goals or production. These are the outward parts of leadership. Character is about building the inner man. It's just like building a house. We can put some beautiful craftsmanship in the structure of the house such as: crown molding, quartz countertops, solid oak cabinets and bookshelves, and so forth. These outward features can create a home with a magnificent image. But if we build this magnificent house on sand versus a foundation of rock, all of it's beauty will come crashing and tumbling down in the storms we encounter in leadership and life.
Developing the leader within you involves developing character within you. John Maxwell says, "The core of character boils down to three main things: embracing good values, practicing self-leadership (doing the right thing even when you don't want to), and valuing people." Start off identifying your values. Make a list. Then ask yourself what will I not negotiate on? Then take another step of showing value to other people. Do this by looking for ways to show others that you value them (acts of kindness).
Dig down deep to the rock and take the time to lay extra steel enforcement. Make the foundation immovable and solid. Your leadership is important. Your influence counts big! Make the foundation solid so your influence will last through the tests of time and remain strong for the next generations.
Adapted from: Developing the Leader Within You 2.0 John Maxwell
Cindy writes about her adventures, observations, and other nuggets from living in another nation. She and John live in SE Asia. She will also share nuggets from her 58 plus years of life.