Today I had the pleasure of speaking on the Power of Creating a Mastermind Group at the Chick-fil-A Leadercast simulcast in Franklin, TN. I was surrounded by many great leaders and executives at this event and energized by all the speakers who presented.
Andy Stanley told us “every decision we make becomes part of our life story – choose carefully”. Leadership oftentimes involves tough decisions. In my own business, one of the key characteristics of finding work I love is aligning it with my values. Live a life of integrity so you are proud of the story you tell, with no need to hide certain chapters.
Tim Tebow said one of the principles that influenced him was to avoid focusing on the things we can’t control. The more in the limelight you are, the more critics you will have. Stay true to what your purpose and intent are, and focus on what you have the power to control. If I waste time on the opinions of others I risk it tearing me down and losing my authenticity.
John Maxwell shared that one of his leadership principles is “I have to know me to grow me.” When I was thirteen years old, I listened to a little RP record of Earl Nightingale’s “The Strangest Secret.” The focus of my mentor’s famous speech was “you become what you think about.” The more I take responsibility for who I am and what I learn, the more powerful my impact is on the world. I took that to heart at thirteen years old and have shaped my life in constant pursuit of personal development.
After hearing each speaker, I asked myself, What if you are not a CEO, department head or business owner – and may not have the desire to be one?
Is leadership still an option for you? I certainly hope so. Like many of you, I am not a CEO, nor will I be the next Steve Jobs or Sam Walton. I have no employees and will never be the pastor of a large church. And yet I have discovered that leading can be done in many ways. We all have the opportunity for leadership in our lives, and the speakers today hit home on our own personal responsibility to lead our lives with deliberate focus.
The principles shared today apply to employees, independent contractors, and stay-at-home moms. The concept of leadership is appealing to all.
I have been privileged to embrace what I know about myself – and yet become a leader in my community. In August of 2000, I started an electronic newsletter with 67 names. I wanted to share the life lessons I’ve experienced in the process of overcoming being almost $500,000 in debt in a business that wasn’t a good fit for me to teaching others how to pursue business differently. Today, over 130,000 have signed up for that newsletter. Through friends of friends, my story spread because it was authentic– something people could relate to.
Now, over ten years later, I’m coaching listeners on issues of discovering ones’ calling, building positive relationships, and finding or creating meaningful work in my weekly 48 Days Online Radio show. I developed the 48Days.net online community (now over 11,000 members) so that others could share their stories of passion and leadership. It’s not that I sought leadership; I chose to take my story, with all it’s twists and turns, and tap into my innate gifts to motivate others. I believe in the power of having mentors, peers, and people I mentor. Truth, integrity, and passion are attractive. When you speak on topics you are passionate about, with a genuine desire to share it with others, people tend to listen, and oftentimes a leader arises.
So, what story do you want your life to tell? What is your unique edge or area of competence? Marcus said “every leader is different.” What will make you stand out as a leader? Will the decisions you made today tell the story of the life you want to be remembered for? I know I took many notes today – the speakers have hit home with me. This is one day of growth for me, but these speakers today have impacted my thoughts from today on – remember that every day you have the opportunity to learn and grow. And this, I believe, is a key element in a great leader.