Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Are You a Thankful Leader?

I’ve been thinking about my heart a lot lately. In part, due to the launch of my latest book, The Heart of Leadership. Also, because, as I shared in Monday’s post, I want to continue to grow in the year ahead. But I think it was the approaching holiday season that prompted me to reflect on another facet of my  heart  - gratitude.

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Over the next few weeks, I hope you’ll get a break in your routine. During your break, let me encourage you to find a few minutes to be alone. Turn off your phone, turn off your iTunes, and close your laptop. In those quiet moments, consider all you have to be thankful for.

When you take this mental inventory, don’t miss the following categories:

Relationships – If you’ve lived to maturity, you know this is the most important. If you don’t think that’s the case, you’re not as mature as you think. This category can include family, friends and faith. You are, in large part, the leader you are today because of the relationships in your life.

Opportunities – Think about the opportunities from your past that have shaped you to become the leader you are today. The school you attended, the mentor who invested in you, and the project that catapulted your career, all of these things deserve a grateful response. Next, think about the virtually limitless opportunities ahead. The future does not yet exist – it will be created by leaders. What an amazing gift!

Challenges – This may not seem like something to be thankful for, but it is. Gold is refined in the fire. Leadership character is often forged in the same fashion. Very few things in my life have shaped me more than having a son with severe disabilities. David has made me stronger. Think about how personal and professional challenges have strengthened your leadership – be thankful!

Possessions – Most of you reading this live in America. We have issues, no doubt. We also have wealth that dwarfs most of the planet. We have houses, cars, clothes and technology. We have heat, clean water and more food than we can eat. We have a lot of material things to be thankful for.

Create your own categories as needed. The point: we have a lot to be thankful for!

So, the leader in you may be asking, “How does any of this impact my leadership?” I believe it does, I’ve just been trying to find the right language to describe it. Here’s my current thinking.

When I approach each day with a thankful heart, my thinking is transformed. My self-serving tendencies and entitlement mindset gives way to a new paradigm…

Leadership is a gift I’ve been given not a title I’ve earned.

When I see leadership as a gift, it changes everything. Therefore, my goal is to live each day with a thankful heart. If that’s not currently your goal, why not give it a try?

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for this holiday season?

 

Categories: Leadership

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