“The most important decision about your goals is not what you're willing to do to achieve them, but what you're willing to give up.” — Dave Ramsey
It took less than 10 seconds for Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt to cover the 100-meter distance on the Olympic track and win the gold medal in London. Those few seconds cemented his status as the “fastest man alive” and placed him on the winner’s podium once again.
But the race wasn’t won in those seconds — it was won by hours and hours of practice, workouts, weightlifting, special diet, and coaching. The race was not won in the performance but in the preparation. It is our desire for something greater that causes us to sacrifice some things, even some good things, for the sake of things that are better.
Many who have achieved great successes in their respective fields — be it as a musician, artist, doctor, nurse, writer, etc. — have done so not as “overnight sensations,” but as those with their nose to the grind. We see the byproduct of that hard work and discipline — the fame, notoriety, etc. — we don’t see the blood, sweat, and tears that were shed for years to get to that point.
The same holds true for you as a leader. Your capacity as a leader is something that is developed over years, not days. This happens in part because there are just things about leadership that you can’t learn in a book. It’s real-world experiences that makes the difference.
On your leadership journey, there are sacrifices to be made, trade-offs if you will, that will make your future as a leader bright. What do those sacrifices look like? Here are a few to consider.
The sacrifice of your ego for authenticity
If your desire is to become a leader worthy of following, you are going to have to sacrifice your ego for authenticity. People can care less about your ego or how great you think you are. People do care about authenticity — being real. So long as you think the world revolves around you, then your capacity for leadership is limited to how far your over-inflated ego can take you.
Leadership Tip: Drop the ego and pretense. The sooner you learn it’s not about you, the better off you’ll be.
The sacrifice ofyour pride for humility
The vernacular of a prideful leader is saturated with a lot of “I” and “me” talk. It’s quite telling. If you have a genuine desire to be a leader, you must sacrifice your pride for humility. You need to learn the vocabulary of “we,” “let us,” and “how can I help you?” Until you learn that the secret to being a good leader is found in the role of servant leadership you’ll go only as far as your pride will take you.
Leadership Tip: Expressions of servant leadership are found when you concede being in the spotlight by putting others in it.
The sacrifice of your rights for your responsibilities
We live in a day and time characterized by people demanding their rights. After all, you don’t see people marching and demanding their responsibilities. For you to grow and develop into the leader you’d like to one day become then you must set aside your rights and take up your responsibilities. Until you understand this, you’ll only go as far as your power grabs will take you. As the saying goes, to whom much is given, much is required.
Leadership Tip: Be willing to embrace your responsibilities as a leader. When you do, you will genuinely be a leader worth following.
All of us owe a debt of gratitude and thanks to all who have made and continue to make sacrifices on the front lines of the coronavirus front. Our first responders, nurses, and doctors are doing God’s work, no doubt. Just know that your sacrifices are noted and genuinely appreciated!
©2020 Doug Dickerson