First who…


“If I were a young coach today, I would be extremely careful in selecting assistants.”

John Wooden

The people that you serve with are a direct reflection, and an extension of, your choices about who you are, your character, and who you want to be in your leadership of self and others. Picking the right ones is critical for both short-term and long-term success.

My first, and probably most influential, leadership mentor was a retired full bird U.S. Army Colonel. When I was leaving that company for another role he shared with me some of the best leadership advice I have ever received. Specifically it was on the topic of hiring and selecting talent: “Dusty, no matter what, if I could pass along one bit of advice it would be this. Never, ever, delegate completely the hiring of key talent and leaders. Always be involved in the process and ensure that you get to talk with them, even if they won’t be working for you directly. It will make a huge difference over the long haul. You have to be responsible for the quality of the leaders in your organization since you will be accountable for their performance.”

I haven’t always done this perfectly but it has been a guiding principle for me almost my entire career. The quality of the work produced by the team is dependent on the quality of the leaders that are guiding them. Never ever shortchange the leadership selection process.

The most important variables…

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

John Wooden

This is probably one of my favorite quotes. It states so clearly the danger of this world if you remove just two key variables. Humility and Gratitude. Without either you are going to go astray.

Why do you have your God given gifts and talents? Is it to serve others or serve yourself? If you have fame then how are you using that fame to serve others or impact the world? I would argue that if you aren’t using your gifts to serve then you are treading dangerously close to the definition of conceit.

The minute you believe you are better than someone else, that your life has more value or meaning than another person you have lost your way. My Dad used to tell me that “everyone puts their britches on the same way in the morning. No person is more important or deserves better treatment because of their role or wealth.”

How do you guard against conceit and selfishness?

Do you exist or persist?

“Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.”

Roy L. Smith

There is nothing worse than seeing someone with incredible talent choose to let that potential be wasted because they don’t have the discipline or drive to maximize their God given gifts.  It is a human choice when people put forth less effort than they are capable of doing and then achieve less that they were created to become.  Why does this happen?

We, as humans, are inherently lazy.  It isn’t fun to wake up at 4:00 AM and go train your body in order to achieve your goals.  It isn’t exciting to do the same task over and over again as you develop your body or your mind to become sharper and more focused.  It is far easier to sleep in, to make excuses, to settle for less than you are capable because that is the path of least resistance.  It is far easier to simply exist than it is to persist.  

The people who impress me the most are the ones that demonstrate the discipline and relentless will to pound right through their own mental walls and barriers.  These are the people who are forging their future on a daily basis with the decisions they make and the actions they take.  They never allow themselves to sit back and feel sorry for themselves when things don’t go their way.  They adapt, overcome, and set new goals and objectives.  This person knows that with relentless discipline and execution of the small things on a daily basis they can achieve greater results and realize their potential. 

God didn’t create us to have an easy life.  The challenges we face are there to help us grow our talents and maximize our potential to impact the lives of others.  To do this we have to be like the servant in the ‘Parable of the Talents’ and take the gifts  we are given and find a way to grow them into something much more valuable…

 

 

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