Look in the mirror…

“We cannot lead anyone farther than we have been ourselves.”

John C. Maxwell

The essence of leadership is influence. The ability to influence the lives of others and create a commonality of vision and purpose. The results of effective leadership are alignment, engagement, commitment, execution, etc.

What does this have to do with today’s quote? Good question. To create influence, which enables the ability to create the desired results, one must show an ability to demonstrate self-leadership and self-influence. All the vision casting and talk about the future is worthless if you can’t demonstrate through your actions and behaviors a commitment to hold yourself to a higher standard.

crowd reflection color toy
Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

I love how the picture above illustrates the importance of self-reflection as a leader. If you want to have influence you must be willing to look in the mirror and see and understand your own opportunities for growth. If you want to influence others, you have to prove that you can lead yourself first. You can’t lead anyone if you don’t walk the talk and lead by example.

This is the wisdom that I take from today’s quote. You must have self-reflection as an intentional practice in order to create true influence with others. You can’t lead anyone if you won’t lead yourself first…

Don’t be “most people…”

“We have enough people who tell it like it is—now we could use a few who tell it like it can be. ”

Robert Orben

people doing group hand cheer
Photo by Dio Hasbi Saniskoro on Pexels.com

Do you have people in your life who tell you what is wrong with you? What is wrong with your life? What you are missing? Why you aren’t enough? Ignore them! Ignore the shallow souls who will limit what you are and who you can become because of the limits and boundaries they have created around their own lives.

You probably have more than enough people in your life telling you how you should be and how you need to live. Seek out and surround yourself with people who are positively driven and inspire you to be more, do more, become more. Most people aren’t like this. Most people don’t invest the time effort and energy into these thoughts. If you want to become more than most people you have to surround yourself with those who aren’t like most. Find people that are relentlessly focused on being more, helping more, serving more, becoming more, doing more, just more more more.

It always amazes me when seemingly unrelated things come together in a profound and meaningful way. I had one of those moments this morning when I sat down to write this post after having done my morning devotional. The verse I was studying this morning, after I had already chosen my quote for the day, couldn’t be more appropriate or aligned.

‘You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. ‘ Ephesians 4:22-24

Put off your old self, and those who will contain and limit you to a former way of life. Embrace those who will help you define and create your new self and become the person God meant you to be.

Do you have hope?

“My idea is to give hope, because where there is no hope, there is no vision, and where there is no vision, people will perish.”

Oprah Winfrey

I had to wrestle with this quote for a bit in my mind this morning. At first it felt like a “chicken or an egg” statement. How can you have hope without first having a vision? But on the other hand, how can you summon the energy to craft a vision for the future without first having a sense of hope about what could be? Is it hope that helps you craft the vision or the vision that allows you to have hope?

Then I thought about it from the perspective of who said this quote and the context of what it means through that particular lens. Oprah has done a lot of tremendous good in the world. She has actively lived a life that represents the power of making a positive impact and demonstrated what can happen when a person puts forth tremendous blood, sweat, and tears to pursue their dream (vision). If by living her dream outwardly and setting a positive example for others, she can inspire hope and spark others to pursue their vision, she is seeding hope into the world.

I particularly love how Oprah linked her idea of seeding hope with this verse from Proverbs. “When there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18

Find the hope you need to inspire yourself to discover and engage in a brighter vision of the future. You don’t have to create the vision yourself, but you do have to summon the hope needed to move you towards a brighter future. Without hope, vision dies. Without vision, hope dies. Without hope and vision, you will perish, even if your body lives on and you are just going through the motions of life. That is no way to live…

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