The last few weeks have been a challenge for me since I only have a short amount of time left at my current workplace. It has been a challenge setting up my team to be in a position where they will be successful, but even more challenging has been the times of saying good bye to those people that I have worked with for six and half years. While it has been a challenge, it has also been a blessing. It has been amazing how many people have communicated to me how I have influenced them in their leadership. I hope that I don't come across as egotistical, because I am not trying to, but I want to share with you my intrinsic joy that I have felt as dear friends and co-leaders have thanked me for inspiring them. This has allowed them to lead their people in new ways, and then (this is the awesome part) seeing their people lead the same way.
Last night, my mother-in-law talked with me about the loss of her husband and about all the "stuff" that he accumulated like tools, notes from his Bible studies, knick-knacks and other things—they really don't matter now. When we go through his stuff, we throw most of it out. It was a numbing thought, but then we talked about what did matter. There were a few physical items that mattered only because they help us remember my father-in-law when he was here with us, but as we discussed what really mattered, it was obvious that it was the relationship that we had with him. The memories of him, of his face at certain moments, in times of pain and in times of immense joy. The times in the truck with him when he would let me drive. The times when I would do something well and he would pat me on the back and give me a word of encouragement.
I was reflecting the other day on where leadership happens. Where does inspiration take place? Where is the example seen? Where does the coaching with a pat on the back transpire? Have you ever thought about that before? Where has your true leading or influencing happened with those people at work, those in your home or those you just come into contact with? Hadrian, the 14th emperor of Rome, was known as the third of five emperors who ruled justly. From 117 -138 A.D., he was determined to consolidate the borders of the Roman Empire. In 122A.D., Hadrian began building a wall around his empire.
Last week I talked about embracing challenge and using the past experiences of overcoming challenges to inspire you to action. This week I want to talk about that a bit deeper. Why did I jump off that tree branch? For the reward? Yes, after I did it the first time, but before that I didn't know what the reward was., but my brother did. He inspired me to action because he made me BELIEVE. Wow, that is a powerful word. Believe.
I recently watched Fury, a movie about a WWII tank crew that stuck together as they laid down their lives for one another. It reminded me of my time in the Marine Corps where I was inducted into a band of brothers who all believed in one thing: that we could do anything if we looked out for each other. This didn’t happen overnight; it happened through many challenges that were not fun at the time, but when we were done, we had accomplished the task at hand and we did it together.
Last Fall, my son and I went to Joshua Tree National Park. We were so motivated and driven to reach the top of this rock formation. We had tried one way up and had to decide to stop after making it two-thirds of the way up because the we decided together that the risk was too great. We found a new way up, but had one 5 foot jump up to an uneven area of rock above us and over a 50 foot ravine.
Intent or motive is a huge part of trust. The motive that inspires the greatest trust is genuine love. If you truly love someone, you will sacrifice whatever it takes to help make them to be successful. A leader that takes time to help their people succeed is a real loving leader. A sign of a true leader is when a leader could have been doing something to further their success and instead spent the time and energy to help make you successful.