Many years ago, when I was just starting out my career, I asked a top leader in our organization, “How do you make it long term as a leader?” His answer was more than I expected. He said there are basically three things. The first bit of advice he gave was, “Maintain a close personal relationship with God.” In LeaderImpact we talk a lot about the relationship between the personal, professional, and spiritual aspects of our lives, and how a Leader of Impact is growing in all three areas and in the integration of those areas. Wherever you are in your relationship with God, the key action point is to keep growing. Obviously this looks different for different people. Like any other relationship, it’s personal, and the way you relate to God may not look like someone else’s experience. As with other relationships, if you want to know more, ask around. Just a simple question like, “How do you relate to God?” will yield all kinds of interesting responses.

The second piece of advice was very practical and had two parts. He said to know your strengths and weaknesses and decide which weaknesses you need to grow in and which you need to compensate for. For example, I needed to grow in the area of public speaking, so I studied world-class speakers and took advantage of opportunities to get up in front of others and practice. However, it was much more practical for me to find someone else to do bookkeeping than to try to master that for myself.

Find people you want to journey with and encourage each other on your way.

Continuing on, he said another thing that made really good sense. Work in your areas of strength. You will be more motivated and more productive. We all know how true this is. We definitely enjoy doing things we are good at.

The final piece of advice from this leader was, “Choose your friends wisely.” This one surprised me at first. What he was saying was that we become like those with whom we spend time. If we spend time with those who share our values and hopes and dreams, we will be much more likely to see those dreams fulfilled. This is not to say we should avoid people who are different from us. We have much to learn from others who have different experiences and beliefs. The point here is, find people you want to journey with and encourage each other on your way. In today’s challenging world, I know I can use the encouragement.


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