Today, during a few BTL team practices and a few one on one practices, I asked a very simple question. I asked people to fill in the blank with one word that describes what leadership is. Leadership is hard, powerful, positional, difficult, trust, lonely, and many other attributes, I heard. It seemed there are many words to describe what leadership is. There really aren’t.
Leadership is – in a word – influence.
Leadership is influence. And, the greatest leadership challenge is the challenge of influencing yourself. Most of us give away this power, today, to the media. Most humans are most influenced by whatever media they give their mind to. As I reminded one of my strong and getting stronger clients, he is growing harder to influence and I like it. Slow down and let this in, friends.
If you are going to become elite, you’ve got to become the greatest influence in your life. Crazy hard and true.
Leadership is influence. Throughout the history of time we have seen this demonstrated by the lives of game changers who came out of nowhere and changed the world. Jesus Christ came from a manger in Nazareth, never had positional power, never wrote a book, never had a lot of money, and we’re still talking about Him. Ghandi came from nothing, never held a government position, and still somehow changed India and the world. MLK jr was a young pastor in a tiny community and somehow influenced JFK and then LBJ to authorize civil rights legislation! Study history, you’ll see – leadership is influence.
So, friend, invest a few more hours on your toughest leadership challenge, the challenge of leading yourself. You’ll see that when you start on the most difficult subject, leading you, it makes all the other ones just a little bit easier. Leadership is influence. Fact. Are you increasing your influence on you? Are you building strength within? Are you beginning to build a strong BTL core? Remember the words of C.S. Lewis, friend. “Put first things first and second things are thrown in. Put second things first and you lose both first and second things.” Never stop the work within. Never. Remember, you and I cannot take others further than we’ve gone ourselves. Slow down and sit with this for awhile, friend. Slow down.
God, help me remember that following you is my first step. God, help me…