Learning to Lead

This was the second year in a row that I attended the Global Leadership Summit.  And the second year in a row that my soul has been rejuvenated with a sense of something larger in the world and to use my talents, determination and drive for the greater good. To lead others. To lead my family. To lead myself. This last year has been a great one personally. The boys and I are thriving in our home, we are worshiping God and we are loving each other. The last year at work though…has been exhausting. I don’t mean exhausting in a bad way (although there has been some bad exhaustion).  In November of 2014 I got tapped to lead a team, we call them Team Leaders.  A leader.  A role that I had honed in my military service, but that I had not held in many many years.  That left me more than a little nervous.  I pulled out talks from the 2014 Summit and found the courage and conviction to lead a team that was in need of a strong and dedicated leader.  

billLeading this team has been rewarding, challenging, frustrating, refreshing and has pushed me to new levels.  Not only do I contend with my team, I am also a member of the Team Leader Team….where all the leaders in our company come together and learn; challenge and push each other.  Anyone who knows leaders understands that this is where the real challenge can come into play.  I have struggled through many highs and lows this year and it is at the summit that my soul refills with a drive, with a zeal and with a passion, to lead my team, to lead my family and to lead others in a Christ-like way, so that maybe, just maybe, they will come to know Christ through my actions and not my words.

To me, being a leader is more than being in charge, the people who are in charge are supervisors.  I don’t want to be a supervisor, I want to be a leader. I want to effect change in the lives of those that I work with, in the lives of my clients, I want to be a fuel for change in the world. I want my kids to grow up and lead their communities with Christ at the center of everything they do.  This year at the summit, I came away with a million lessons, but I want to talk about 3  that really stick out to me and that I want to share.

At the core, Leadership Matters. Leadership matters, seems obvious right? But it means sosam a much more than 2 words. Think about it. When leaders come together something transformative happens (Bill Hybels).  Being a true leader, is allowing  people the freedom to follow you, not forcing them to. Because leaders should never settle, great leaders grow into those leadership roles with mentors and their own leadership examples. Great leaders are not born, they are developed, they are grown, they are created. Created in hard work, personal dedication and the ability to learn from others. To be a leader, you do not have to hold a leadership title. You lead at home, you lead at church, you lead each time you choose to make a Christ-centered decision. Leading is not a title, supervisor, is a title. LEADER is an action word because leading takes action and growth and change and courage.   I wish that I could eloquently express all that I learned, gained and cherished about this topic, but let me end by saying this,

“Leaders have forfeited the right to make excuses.” ~Horst Schulze

breneThe next amazing point that really hit home for me was The Power of a story. The leadership summit is not just about left-brained CEO types who come and tell us how to be leaders, it is this amazing compilation of speakers, leaders, visionaries and so much more.  Because of this diversity in speakers, I gain so many different perspectives of how to lead and why it is important to be a dedicated leader.  An amazing part of this summit was the focus on how much the story we tell, the story we hear and the story we imagine, shape and change our lives and our leadership abilities. Stories are the way that we communicate to each other.  How we tell our story defines who we are, as a leader, as a person. The story of our past, dictates the story of our future, how we overcome obstacles, challenges and adversity will dictate how we lead through those in the future. Our story, our leadership will have an impact on someone. We are the authors of our lives…what story do you want to tell?

“Our worthiness as people lives in the stories we tell.” ~Dr. Brene Brown


FailingLastly, and honestly, maybe the most important, failure happens. We learn when we fail. Don’t hear me say that you need to go out and fail, because that is not what I am saying.  What I am saying, is the more we push boundaries, the more we expand our dreams, the braver we are, the more we will fail.  WHY?! because when the risk is high, the reward is higher. As leaders we should be pushing all of those around us, pushing ourselves, pushing to make our companies better or to go into the areas of discomfort that will force us to come out a better team, better leaders, better humans.  At the end of the day, I want to be a better human, not just a better leader. I want to lead with compassion and understanding, while still holding people to a high standard, pushing them to the place they never thought they could go. Failing is not failing…it is growing. How do we re-define what it means to fail? That failure can be one of the best catalyst for change and growth and truly allow for magic in  your life, in your leadership to occur.

At the end of the day, I will never be able to fully say how much my life was changed by the speakers this year from the Global Leadership Summit.  What I can say, is that everyone should attend this summit, those of faith and those without a faith. Leaders rarely take care of themselves, refresh their batteries, fill up their own tank. This summit, fills my soul, for months I fly high on the principals and changes that I make in my life, in my leadership and in my heart. The cost of poor leadership is high, too high.”

” As leaders and people times get hard…it is in those times, be still and let the Father’s voice calm you. Let his voice lead you, you just need to open your eyes.” Michael Jr



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