I’ve written here before about my enjoyment of podcasts. There are so many, and so many excellent resources. Of course some of them are funny, some educational and some inspirational. I listen regularly to BBC Friday night comedy (The News Show), 60 Minutes, Grammar Girl, Oxford Biographies, The Look & Sound of Leadership, Westminster Hour, Rex Murphy, Stuff You Missed in History Class and The Leadership Podcast (by Andy Stanley).
This morning I was listening to Andy’s podcast “A new you resolution”. Classic insight! If you’re in your 20’s you might want to find it and take a listen…if you’re in your 30’s you had better listen! And if you’re in your 40’s you should listen to it twice.
There I go using the word SHOULD! Gee I really don’t like it when I find that word in my vocabulary. I mean who said you SHOULD. Is there a rule? And where are the SHOULD police?
Andy’s excellent insight revolves around the simple thought that when we spend our lives working on doing…we miss something essential. What he suggests is crucial to personal freedom and success is knowing first what you want to BE! When what we want to be is clear everything falls in place.
He recounts making this clear by writing out what he wanted people to say at his funeral. His first example is with the word HONEST. To be honest…..so think about the opposite. To think this through think about consequences. For example dishonesty erodes relationships.
So if you died what words would you want to be said about you at your funeral? Kind? Patient? Happy?
I’ve been thinking about my words. What about you – what are your words? What do you want to be?
I’ve been reading Lead Like Jesus over the past couple of weeks. It is a good book with some very practical matters addressed. Of course the application to our leadership roles organizationally are important and at the center of the book, however the authors aren’t satisfied with leadership that is only addressed as a function of what we do. They look to our role as leaders in who we are. And most importantly in our Life Role leadership – that is as husband, wife, mother, father, son, neighbour, friend.
Without good qualities in these areas of our life we don’t really create the fortitude to have good qualities in our role within an organization. They don’t mince their words when they talk about the failures of many leaders who have failed personally and the devastation that has had on their lives and that of those who followed them personally or organizationally. I’ll leave out the names of people who came to my mind.
In the realm of speaking to our Life Role leadership they make a point which seems to hit home all the more strongly in our personal circumstances. The energy we put into being good leaders at home tells in lots of different ways and perhaps I’ve been a slower learner on this one!
Their practical and pointed advice is summed up in this short sentence in relation to the brevity of life and the often surprising turns that it takes: “Keep your I Love You’s up to date.” – a good piece of advice.
Are yours up to date?
Is there a topic more relevant to our world right now than character? We’ve grown use to public leaders disappointing us. We’ve come to a point that we are no longer surprised when we discover that a public leader has a secret life – that they’ve either fleeced their friends and clients of money, or that they’ve had a secret partner, or that a child has come forward to name their famous parent.
Character is a relevant topic. Just yesterday members of the President of the USA’s team were sent home for inappropriate behaviour. President Obama apologies on television and assures the public that this kind of behaviour is not tolerated. Some of his predecessors I’m sorry to say would have been at the party with the team.
Of course John 8 reminds us that “we who have no sin may cast the first stone”. Yes, most of us have made decisions in the past that we aren’t too proud of. The press just won’t likely put our failures on the front page.
Here’s a quote that is on the wall by my desk at home: “Your true character is revealed by the clarity of your convictions, the choices you make, and the promises you keep.”