“You have made some mistakes, and you may not be where you want to be, but that has nothing to do with your future.” Zig Ziglar
More than a few people struggle with the mistakes of the past. Guilt makes us wish we could return to the past and make corrections. Often times we regret not starting earlier to do what we know should have been done.
The challenge is overcoming the desire to live in the past or allowing the mistakes of the past to dictate our direction.
We cannot go back and live in the past. We cannot change it. We can only learn from it and use it to make decisions that determine a different future.
Nothing from the past or our present circumstances has anything to do with the future. The future is determined by the choices we make now to shape tomorrow.
If we make decisions built on a spiritual foundation, the direction of tomorrow is one that assures an eternal destination prepared for those who make the proper choices in the present.
This timeless piece of advice is familiar to most who find themselves involved in carpentry. If you are like me, this is one of those lessons learned by experience.
We might easily trust the first measurement and memory only to learn after the cut is made that an additional cut is required or another piece completely.
Serious medical diagnoses are generally followed up with a second opinion. When someone’s health is potentially in peril, circumstance demands additional counsel.
The lesson behind this advice extends beyond the field of carpentry and medicine. In fact, the application is fitting for most areas of life, especially leadership.
Leadership credibility increases when decisions are based on additional information gained or counsel received indicating the time taken to measure twice.
How different would the outcome have been if biblical leaders like Saul, David, Peter, and Paul had taking time to investigate further before making a decision compromising their relationship with God and influence of His people?
Measuring twice makes it possible to insure accuracy before making decisions with great consequential impact.
Our relationship with God and leadership rests in the balance of this advice.
One of the most significant components of goal setting and achievement is evaluation. Evaluation is based on time set aside to reflect, assess, or make a judgment about the amount, number or value of something.
Once goals are established for any individual or organization, an effective way to determine progress is through evaluation.
Evaluating progress monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, and yearly provides leaders an opportunity to accomplish the following:
Measuring the amount of progress. Knowing what has been accomplished is foundational for each area of the plan.
Assessing changes that need to be made to reach the goal. This assessment may mean making adjustments by increasing or decreasing the goal.
Implementing phases of the plan. Reaching any goal requires a plan and the contingency of implementing the various phases of that plan at the right time.
Building morale of stakeholders in the process. Everyone who has something invested in this task thrives on the success of progress. An accurate evaluation keeps them informed and on board.
The profit gained by time spent evaluating each essential part of the plan determines its ultimate success.
Indulging in an enjoyable recollection of past events is where reminiscing begins.
The significance of this idea, as it relates to leaders, is to recognize the value of reflecting on the positive events accomplished.
Memory is one of the most powerful functions of the brain as designed by God. The ability to remember affords us the opportunity to consider areas in life where mistakes were made, and by simple reflection it can prevent us from making the same mistakes.
Memory also opens the portholes of our mind to reminisce about the events and decisions of life that provided comfort and success.
Leaders who are able to reminisce about past events that build upon achievement and victories over trials or failures can strengthen the morale that motivates others to dig deeper to find something inside that drives who they are and where they want to go.
The power of reminiscing makes the difference between being consumed with regret over past mistakes and the elation of knowing something better is ahead.
As we discussed, we sing the song but often fail to recognize the implications of the message we sing.
Examining the life of Jesus and the necessity of following His example, how shall we walk in His steps?
Our first consideration is the nature of people with whom Jesus spent His time. Jesus was not one to focus on reaching out to or spending time with the rich, popular, political or religious leaders of the day.
Jesus claimed that He came to “seek and save the lost.” He came for the “sick.” Jesus spent time with the outcast, unwanted, and unlikely to succeed of society.
He did not participate in or condone the activities of sin. He worked to influence and show a better way. He gave people hope.
If we seek to be like Him, we must consider those we are striving to reach. This does not mean we shun or avoid the wealthy. All have sinned.
History and experience clearly indicate, however, the challenges of reaching the affluent. Such a walk will not be comfortable, but who are we really trying to be like?
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer
Who are the fire-lighters in our lives? We all have them and we need those who are able to say or do that one thing that excites the passion within us to act and achieve.
We need to consider another side to this thought; for example, leaders need to be involved in lighting the fires of others.
Whose fire are we lighting by our leadership?
The time given to the words and actions necessary to create that motivation in the lives of others is what changes the world.
Who knows, but in that moment when we stop to extend a helping hand, speak an encouraging word, or share the most valuable gift, that we are making an eternal difference.
We need to pray daily that God will grant us the wisdom to see the opportunity, the wisdom to know what to say, and the courage to speak.
In our culture we too often fail to give thought to the consequences of our actions. Sadly, not only do we fail to think about the immediate results, but also the long-range consequences.
At any specific moment, a word expressed or action taken can change a situation in ways that leave a lasting impression.
People are always watching and listening. They measure the strength of our character by the consistency demonstrated between our words and actions.
Before we choose to speak a word in anger, think about the consequences of those words. Once the words are spoken we cannot take them back. Yes, we may wish we had not spoken rashly and we may apologize, but once spoken the words can become haunting scars with lasting consequences.
Our actions have a similar impact. Interestingly enough, we may participate in an activity that does not characterize who we really are or want to be, yet when others see us, the consequences can become difficult, if not impossible, to correct.
Our influence in the lives of others is too valuable to give little thought to the consequences of our choices.