When conducting my Leaders Who Last seminars, I begin with the person and work of Jesus Christ. I challenge those in attendance to consider the question: Who are you… who are you in Jesus and who is Jesus in you?

The key question in life is who you think you are. In addition to asking the question of who you are, a question that should follow is, who are you becoming?

 You could be clear on the first question and come up blank on the second. Your answer to the first question takes care of the past and the present. The second question will predict what your future will be like.

You may have heard the expression, “Show me your calendar and your and I will predict your future.”  Allow me to add two things to your and checkbook, so that the list now reads: 

  1. The way you select your books
  2. The way you choose your friends
  3. The way you steward your finances
  4. The way you invest your time

Here are some thoughts on selecting your books:

I’ve always been a reader. Even as a 10-year old boy, I remember spending hours a day during the hot summers in Palm Springs California in the air conditioned library within walking distance of my home. It’s all my mother’s “fault.” She was a voracious reader and I still recall stacks of books that she carted home from that same library. She was always reading. Some nights she would fall asleep on the sofa with a book on her lap.

One of the issues those I coach face is getting consistent time in filling their minds and hearts with the right kinds of reading material. Good reading will lead to good thinking, good writing, good decision-making and good leadership. I believe that with all my heart. Good leaders are both readers and writers. It all begins with the dedicated, consistent and serious reading of the right kinds of books.

I have learned to pick my books very carefully. I read more for learning and growing than for entertainment or amusement. I seldom read fiction. I don’t just read books, I study them, learn from them and apply them to my life and work. While in my late teens, I remember reading this statement by Sir Francis Bacon, English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, essayist and author (1561-1626):

 “Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”

I lean more toward the “…to be chewed and digested…read wholly and with diligence and attention.” books. I consider reading and studying (first my Bible, then other great books) one of the most valuable uses of my time.

I have a goal of reading at least two books a month and have averaged 35 books a year for the last 27 years. About four years ago, I switched to reading everything on my iPad and purchase books with the “one click” on Amazon. I’m always on the hunt for good books in the areas of sports, business, church and leadership and especially enjoy books about past and present admirable leaders in whatever arena in which they lead.

I’m not suggesting that you emulate me as to how much you read, but I am encouraging you to read anything and everything you can which will help you grow both in your walk with Jesus and your work for Jesus.

I believe reading can best happen as a result of setting challenging, but realistic, goals and scheduling and protecting the time on your calendar for reading. My experience has been that there is always time for what I think is truly important. Make the time and protect the time and the reading you do will be a large part of who you become. 

Next time in part 2, I will address:

  • The way you choose your friends
  • The way your steward your finances
  • The way you invest your time