5/18/08

Standing Tall...


One of the most famous portrait paintings in the White House is that of former president John F. Kennedy Jr. As you can see, it captures him not only standing tall, but with his head downcast. In thinking about some of my past leadership experiences I reflected on the obscurity of the leadership principle of standing tall.

There were numerous times that I never wanted to lead…I wanted to hide away in some cave and pull-back from those that I led as hard as I could. It’s hard to lead in tough times, and I’ve had my fair share, of which I don’t need to take the time to elaborate on. However the following markers helped me through those situations.

Purpose. So many times, when I understand my purpose to a cause, I understand that I am needed. Without purpose, we can easily checkout or think that our role as a leader is un-appreciated or not needed. Thus purpose should be the driving force for any leader in any given situation.

Faith. While we need purpose to drive us, we need something to believe in. Purpose only gets us so far, and if purpose is the right hand…faith is the left hand. Without a purpose or a cause to believe in, we can find ourselves disillusioned. The two literally go hand in hand as we have to believe in what we are doing.

Perseverance. Every great leader has usually had to overcome something in their life that could have inhibited them from ever leading. They persevered, no matter the physical, mental, or spiritual disabler, they persevered through adversity. While we can have a purpose and faith…we ultimately have to make the choice to lead.

As leaders, it’s important sometimes to ask ourselves, where we are in each of these three areas. Ask yourself…do you have purpose? Do you have faith? Can I persevere? We have to lead sometimes even when we don’t feel like it…that is what being a leader means.

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