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Life happens, and . . . traveling without a road map

Life happens, and . . .


Several years ago I was challenged to come up with 3 words that motivate me. The words I chose were: Impact, Influence, and Inspire.  From those words, I formulated my life’s mission statement: To impact, influence, and inspire thousands of people globally to live their created purpose.

This statement has been the litmus test for my decisions over the past 8 years; however, a leadership conference I attended last week caused me to re-evaluate that vision.

Let me elaborate. I don’t know how many of you reading this blog have ever traveled with children, but if you haven’t, let me strongly advise against it. After traveling with four children, I can assure you they sound like a broken record, asking “How much longer ‘till we get there?” every few minutes. “There” could be the grocery store or Grandma’s house. It seems the minute you buckle their car seat they start the “How much longer?”  chant. In fact, I remember stooping to the level of bribery if they would promise not to ask the dreaded: “How much longer?” (If you don’t have children, you may be judging me. If you do, I feel relatively certain you have stooped to similar lows.)

Because these minivan moments are still clearly entrenched in my memory, I cannot imagine torturing anyone with the “How much longer?” question.

So, you can imagine my consternation when a speaker at the conference accused us of limiting our leadership potential by asking the question: How long will it take? My self-righteous ire was instantly ignited until he explained, and asked how many of us hesitate in our decisions because we want to know how long it will take to achieve the desired result.

How long will it take to be recognized as a leader? How long will it take to become an expert in my field? How long will it take to create financial security? How long will it take to become physically fit? How long will it take to … you fill in the blank.

Tony Robbins says, “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the quality of your questions.” And while asking, “How long” isn’t necessarily a bad question, after last week’s conference, I now believe it is limiting. The conference speaker challenged us to stop asking “How long will it take?” and instead ask, “How far can I go?” How far can I go in my leadership? How much can I learn in my field? How physically fit can I become?

Once I heard the question of “How far can I go?”, I realized my vision was too small. Since leadership can be defined as influence, I realized I needed a plan to increase my influence. I had a plan for my physical fitness, my relationships, and my career; however, I did not have a plan for my leadership development. I am constantly reading and often have two or three books going at the same time, but without a plan, I could see that I was simply moving without direction. I was traveling without a road map.

Although I was convinced I needed a plan, I was unsure of where to start. I knew I couldn’t emulate the speaker’s plan as it was ELEVEN pages long. He was SERIOUS about personal growth! Remembering that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, I decided to start small. After giving this some thought, I decided on a leadership growth plan that includes these daily non-negotiables:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Thinking
  • Asking Questions

If you want to grow your leadership this year, then I invite you to start asking yourself: How far can I go? Become intentional about personal growth. As Jim Rohn said, “You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.”

Stop traveling without a road map and chart your course for success! You were born for Greatness! Don’t settle for Average!