February 27, 2014

You don't have to be in charge to lead.

People will gather.  People will talk.  Your friends will arrive and be friendly.  Then the meeting will begin.  Even if there's someone in charge with an plan, people will continue to talk.  About their own agendas.  Toward their own goals.  Goals which are not necessarily in line with the leader's, or those of the collective group.  Everyone has to get their own thoughts expressed so they can breathe the sigh of relief, assuring themselves they did their parts.  Until the next person says his piece and it conflicts.  And the next person who is not on the same page as either of the first two.  The tangential thoughts scattering throughout the room will spear into others, flying with them into the nethersphere of inconsequentiality.  Two words I just made up.

This is the effect of a group with no focus.  No direction.  No real leadership.  The group may have an agenda, a vision, a desired purpose for the gathering.  Even with these essentials, with no one to inspire or to lead, where will this train end up?  Off the tracks, in a ditch; an organism with so much potential lying on a side with its wheels turning in the air.  Doing nothing.  Whether the yearbook committee, the youth group ski trip planning team, or another group in which you two will involve yourselves, it doesn't matter.  Are you on paper as being in charge or one of the many who arrived to see what's up?  This too doesn't matter.  You can focus their thoughts, narrow their direction, lead them toward their goals.  Do this with a confident humility.  Realize that not everyone will understand.  Or like it.  But there will be a few who see it.  A few who you'll touch, at first.  Focus on them, listen to all, and keep pushing ahead toward the goal.  More will see the value you bring.  More importantly, they will see the results the group has achieved.

Like all other useful and valuable skills, this will take practice, strength, and determination.  It will take a thick skin at times.  It will require you to close your mouth, listen, then speak up confidently. It means putting in thought beforehand, maintaining objectivity during, and applying careful consideration after a gathering, maintaining your humility throughout.  Your dedication and perseverance will find themselves rewarded with a great book, memorable trip, or successful project.  And you'll enjoy it that much more knowing you helped work to make it that way.

Wherever you find yourself, use your gifts to lead.


Your mom did this the other night and I am proud of her for it.

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