“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” Harriet Beecher Stowe
Why is it that so many give up when the adversity of challenge and controversy stares us in the face? The answer to this question will vary with each person, but the sad reality is the fact that many give up.
The possibility exists that the answer lies in the inability to see the turning tide, or a lack of experience in witnessing the turn.
Regardless of the answer we come up with, today’s thought expresses two important ideas: 1) perseverance is a vital component to our leadership character if we are to experience the success of a turning tide, and 2) the elation of a tidal reward has a greater sweetness when we endure the challenges and hang on during the adversity of life.
The commonality for both is the need to hang on a minute longer and keep hanging on.
We have all experienced those times in life where everything and everyone seemed to be against us. Our thoughts raced with anticipated conversations. We can only think of the worst possible scenario and in those moments we spell out our own demise. When this happens, the choices seem limited and we tend to make decisions that are life altering.
Perhaps we have also observed the benefit of a friend who took a moment to call, send a note, or write an e-mail to encourage us in those dark times.
Take a moment to think about those to whom we are closest and consider how a kind word might make the difference in a life-altering decision.
When the way seems dark and the answers are not easy to find, we appreciate the value of someone who understands and cares enough to speak a kind word.
Our leadership influence flourishes when we provide the same kindness to others we know who experience the same.
Life expands before all of us as we seek opportunity to build up a friend in need.
This idea relates to an old carpenter’s practice of “measure twice, cut once.” This advice was helpful on more than one occasion.
Considering the application of thinking before speaking is a powerful component to leading in any situation. Thinking twice before speaking not only applies to the verbal, but written words also. Here are a couple of thoughts related to thinking twice before speaking.
1) Before deciding to speak, consider how the words we are about to say will influence the one(s) who hear them. Will our words build them up or tear them down? Will our words heal or hurt? Taking a moment to consider how the outcome of what we say can make all the difference in our relationships.
2) Thinking twice before we speak allows us to develop a concise clarity to what we want to say. We often lose the attention of others when we are unprepared and ramble our way through something we attempt to say. Concise clarity makes listening a much easier task.
When we take the time to think twice before speaking, we enhance the quality of our leadership communication.
To accompany something without being a major part of it is how incidental is defined. The word, however, is also linked to a liability that happens as the consequence of an activity. Incidental is further identified as occurring by chance in connection with something else.
What does all this mean for leadership? How does this word play a part in leading others? Here are a few ideas to study.
Incidentals are never planned when leading others. At times, the unexpected happens. We cannot always explain why it happens, but we experience consequences as a result of our involvement in a number of activities related to our development in leadership, thus incidentals.
We find the need for incidentals in various areas of our leadership. By way of example, plans, and people are directly connected to the major goals of any organization. These are not major components, but incidentals assist our moving along more smoothly.
Incidentals may not always occur when we want, nor the way we want, but they can provide a wealth of benefit in leadership when understood and used correctly.
Scripture speaks to the idea of measuring devices and the need for measuring. We also find references to the consequences of measuring ourselves by others.
As much as we may fight doing so, we are drawn to the competitive mindset of wondering or considering how well we do / did with the performance of someone else.
Students compare grades, employees compare paychecks, managers compare productivity, and the list goes on.
Leadership should never be about measuring our grade, paycheck, productivity, or anything else with others who are leading.
Instead, we need to find the right standard by which we measure ourselves, along with our goals, plans, and results. The standard referred to here is the example of Jesus and the word provided through the divinely guided work of the Holy Spirit.
When we evaluate who we are and what we do and measure it by the right standard, we find areas where constant improvement is needed.
These areas make up our attitude, character development, words, and actions. Aligning with the right standard increases the level of influence our leadership has in the lives of everyone around us.
“Some people come into your life as blessings, others come into your life as lessons.” Mother Teresa
This post is not to condone or support any one person or thing, but the thought expressed here is true. This thought is also expressed in a number of ways, one of which goes something like this: “Everyone brings happiness, some when they come and some when they leave. Therefore, live your life in such a way that people are happy to see you come.”
How is our leadership characterized? Are we a blessing or a lesson?
The answer may be a matter of perspective, but the question is relevant. As we influence those we meet, and those who watch from a distance, we should consider how our words and actions make a difference.
Our words should always be with grace, seasoned as with salt, so that we know how to respond to every person (Col. 4:6).
We need to provide an example in life of such a nature that others glorify God when they see it (Mt. 5:16).
Following this advice will make us a blessing and a lesson.
A large insurance company launched an advertising campaign built on this statement. The idea presented the need for everyone to have coverage for the “if” in life.
This phrase is a powerful play on the word – life. Life is filled with many “if’s.” Answering the “what if” questions in our day-to-day activities is where we struggle.
What if we lose our job?
What if we suffer a terminal illness or some other tragedy?
What if we miss an opportunity?
What if we fail?
What if we forget an important date or task?
What if we have not done enough?
The difficulty in answering “what if” is that we often turn to a works oriented, Pharisaical relationship with God and His people.
We lose sight of God’s grace and the joy of His salvation.
Leadership does not mean we escape the “if’s” of life. Rather, leadership means we know where to point others for the right coverage provided by God for every “if” in life.
Here is where the answers outline and identify our hope for a life to come, where “if” does not exist.