Welcome back brew nation! As the “Friday Coffee Guy” I am excited each week to provide a weekly assembly of material I am reading, listening to, watching, or thinking about that is designed to equip and call you to uncommon leadership, and I am grateful you choose to spend a few minutes with me!
Here is your weekly sip of what I have been reading, listening to, or watching to equip me to:
- Read More – This week, I finished From Strength to Strength – Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life, by Arthur Brooks. I will just get it out there now, this book challenged me… big time. I may have to go back and read it again, but as I read through the book, I grew to appreciate the message the author was trying to get across. Here are a few of my takeaways:
- Your Professional Decline Is Coming (Much) Sooner Than You Think – This was the title of Chapter 1. Now, do you understand why I was challenged with this book. I moved into denial immediately! The author defined the “principle of psychoprofessional gravitation” in this way: ‘the agony of our inevitable decline is in direct relationship to the success we previously achieved’. This is most evident today in the short success lives of most professional athletes.
- Avoid Attachments – As the focus of our life’s attentions and ends instead of means, attachments to money, power and prestige become forms of approval, applause and compliments, which like addictive things like cocaine, stimulate dopamine in our minds and we get attached. Avoid becoming attached.
- Do the most interesting thing that you can – seeking out work that is a balance of meaningful AND enjoyable is where the thing that you do also becomes pleasurable.
There were many more lessons. The author encapsulates the lessons in the book down to seven (7) words: Use things. Love People. Worship the Divine.
This book isn’t for everyone. But, for those individuals looking to get off the proverbial hamster wheel that we are on today in our state of ‘busyness’, I believe this book would challenge you to change your mindset and potentially strive to learn a new set of life skills….
- Think Positively – Do you have a mentor? If not, I could encourage you to find someone with knowledge and experience in an area of life that you are looking to grow and have them pour into you. This could actually be someone that you know and meet with in person, or someone you ‘don’t know’ that is a thought leader and has a podcast, book, or blog you could study. Once you have a mentor, it is important that you value their time, prepare, and ask them good questions. I read this article from Forbes online this week titled 40 Questions to Ask a Mentor. While I appreciated the questions that were in there, the awareness that I really had was that I was not leveraging the time I have with mentors to grow myself and honor them. I have renewed my commitment to ask my mentors good questions so that I can grow, recognize my weaknesses and strengths, and be a more influential leader in the process. Maybe this article will help you as well. Having said that, my ‘favorite’ question from the list would be ‘What do you see as my blind spots and how can I improve?’. One of my mentors told me once, “I am not here to comfort the afflicted. I am here to afflict the comforted!”
- Read More – I have committed to reviewing one law per week from John Maxwell’s 25th anniversary edition of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. I really hope you are finding these helpful. For me, going back through this read for the third time has been truly enjoyable. This week’s law is:
Law # 18 – The Law of Sacrifice
A Leader Must Give Up to Go Up
When I get the opportunities to meet with potential clients looking to embark on a personal or organization transformation, I often hear from then something like this: “We are ready to get better and we want to be like Company X”. Company X may be an organization that has been working on a cultural transformation (like Lean or the Toyota Production System) for years. My response to their statement of readiness is often ‘Are you willing to DO what they have DONE to BE who they are?’. The answer to that question is the essence of The Law of Sacrifice.
Two leaders that were outlined in this chapter epitomized the Law of Sacrifice:
1) Martin Luther King, Jr paid the ultimate sacrifice for his leadership. He settled into his first pastorate in 1954 and his first child was born in November 1955. That ‘settling’, though, didn’t last long for it was just one month after the child’s birth that Rosa Parks refused to relinquish her seat on a but and was arrested. King sacrificed much over the next 10 years, ultimately paying the ultimate sacrifice when he was assassinated in 1968
2) Condoleezza Rice – Many know Condoleezza rice as the former US Secretary of State and National Security Advisor. To reach those pinnacle positions, she had to sacrifice during her life. She had always been highly disciplined. As a child she was up at 4:30 in the morning to do school work and practice piano of figure skating. She graduated high school at 15 and went to the University of Denver. She left the ‘comfort’ of a tenured professor job to take a position on the National Security Council. She went back to Stanford only to be called out of that role again to become a tutor to then Governor George W Bush on foreign policy. Now, she is back at Stanford. Ultimately, she gave up things that she loved at different times of her life, including friendships and other sports at a young age.
So, hopefully, you never have to pay the ultimate sacrifice as you grow as a leader, parent, friend, or volunteer, but the more you grow, the more you will have to sacrifice. “A leader must give up to go up.” If you desire to become the best leader you can be, they you need to be willing to make sacrifices in order to lead well. Here are some things you need to be aware of about the Law of Sacrifice:
- There is no success without sacrifice – Every person who has achieved any success has made sacrifices to do so. To master your craft, there are unseen hours of study and practice that have to be done to become an expert. As a result, you may have to give up something that you like… hobbies like golf, for example. Parents give up free time to do a better job of raising children.
- Leaders are often asked to give up more than others – Does the statement ‘As you rise in leadership, responsibilities increase and your rights decrease’ ring true to you? Those ‘rights’ are not necessarily the ones afforded by our constitution, but rather they are the rights we have to defer or delegate responsibility and accountability to others.
- You must keep giving up to stay up – Today’s success is the greatest threat to tomorrow’s success. What gets you to the top will not keep you there. Leadership success requires continuous improvement to stay ahead of the competition and ongoing sacrifice.
Living by this law usually means being willing to traded something of value that you possess to gain something more valuable that you don’t possess.
“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
What You Need to Do:
Call to Action: To become a more influential leader, are you willing to make sacrifices? Here is an exercise that might help you to decide. Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side, list they things that you are willing to give up in order to go up (for some this might be staying up late, binge watching Netflix, a night out with the guys, etc.) and on the other side, list the things you are NOT willing to sacrifice such as your health, your marriage or relationships with family and friends. Then, think of an area or skill you have been wanting to grow, but just “don’t have the time.” – If you really want to do that, you have to sacrifice one or the two things on the left side of that paper to go up. Also, COMMIT to not sacrificing the right side.
Did you know that many of the things that I discuss in The Champions Brew are subjects that I coach other leaders and organizations on? If you would be interested in having me discuss 1:1 or group coaching with you, or know someone who is looking to move from Underperforming to Uncommon in their business or life, I would love to chat with you. Click this link in the show notes to set up a FREE CALL to discuss how coaching might benefit you and your team)
I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Champions Brew. If you did, I would appreciate it if you would share it with someone who might enjoy it as well and ask them to subscribe! I will make sure they automatically get this email every week.
Until next time, Think Positively, Read More, and Grow Champions!
P.S. – Are you a podcast fan? Maybe the Uncommon Leader podcast is for you. Are you interested in being a guest on the Uncommon Leader Podcast? Do you have a story to tell? Email me [email protected] and let’s have a chat and set something up!!