Since “Leaders Who Last” was first published in 2010, I have always been on the look for anything that would help leaders finish their particular race well and hear, “Well done good and faithful servant” from Jesus at the end.
Here are some excellent thoughts from Ron Edmondson on finishing well in life and leadership.
Originally posted by Ron Edmondson
Six steps to finishing well in life and in leadership
Everyone wants to be successful in life, but the truth is many people never really achieve what they set out to accomplish. Many of us fall short of obtaining our dreams and goals. This is true in life and leadership.
After years of observing a lackluster success rate among some of the people to whom I minister and to leaders I coach, I began to examine why some people never seem to succeed.
What is it which keeps people from being achieving what they claim to want most in life?
Are there some steps which can be taken to enhance our chances of winning in this “game” of life?
If I am asked to coach someone to be a winner, these are some of the steps I will start.
Here are six steps I suggest to win in life and leadership:
Step One: Get in the right race.
Many people never achieve the success they wanted, because they entered the wrong competition. They are aiming for the wrong targets. We should ask ourselves “where do I want to go in life and what do I eventually want to accomplish?” Until we know how we want our life to end we will never know the steps to take to succeed. This is true for leaders. If you don’t have a vision for your leadership – where you’re leading people – you’re failing before you get started. Of course, I believe in life this starts with a decision to allow Christ to set your path. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”
Step Two: Discipline for the race.
Winning happens over time – not in an instant. The greatest athletes work hours outside the game in order to perhaps win even a single game. Victory doesn’t often happen without hard, painful work to get there. It takes diligence and consistency to be a winner. Many times victory was just around the corner, but the people gave up too soon. The best leaders I know also learn their individual skills and continue to develop them and they surround themselves with people who complement them – and cover for them in their weaknesses.
Step Three: Develop character first.
People who truly win in life spend a great amount of time on the development of themselves and others around them. Most of the successful business people and church leaders I know set aside time each week for personal development. They are frequently in the gym, reading a good book, and attending church on Sunday. They develop their mind, body and spirit. They recognize that they must be relationally, physically and spiritually healthy if they want to have success in life.
Step Four: Accept Failure
Most winners are built through brokenness. The greatest leaders have failed many times. Before inventing the light bulb, Thomas Edison failed a thousand times. Babe Ruth had 714 home runs and 1,330 strikeouts. Abraham Lincoln was said to have failed so many times, in business, in his love life, in politics but finally became one of the greatest President of the United States. People who finish well in life and leadership allow failure to be their friend not their enemy.
Step Five: Ignore unnecessary distractions.
Winners don’t give up when obstacles get in the way of achieving their goals. They find a way to work around them. They don’t waste a lot of time and energy on the wrong things. They build upon the strength of others. Life is full of disappointments and set backs, but those who finish well learn to keep pushing forward – even through the darkest days.
Step Six: Stay in the race.
If a person wants to win he or she has to stay in the race. One cannot be a quitter and still win. Many times the winner is the one with the most heart. I know some leaders who need this encouragement – and, they will need it many times in their career as a leader. Often we see the underdog team come from behind to win simply because they have more passion. If you want to be a winner – if you want to finish well – stay in the game!
Choose today to be a winner! Finish well! Don’t let your “hope to do’s” become your “wish you had’s”.