I am learning that each of us have an environment where we are molded into the leaders God is calling us to be.
I learn best when the situation is dire or when the stakes are great. That’s when I can really shine. (Although many times I fail.) It’s not always pleasant, but if I am honest it’s in the blood and the mud when my strengths and weaknesses as a leader are most apparent. With this clarity, I know what I need to do to grow.
The hard experiences have always challenged me to grow as a leader.
My parents were divorced when I was young and so I was more interested in surviving than I was leading anything. When I was an adolescent I rebelled against anything that smacked of leadership. In college, I said yes to leadership opportunities, but none of them were catalytic to my development.
It was while I was in the Army that I realized I could lead. The intense culture and hierarchical structure of the military gave me clarity about leadership. I learned the difference between positional leadership and leadership through influence. Because others saw potential in me, I was given opportunities to lead above my rank. It was hard, but I grew.
When I transitioned into the business world, I welcomed any opportunity to lead. I was fortunate enough to meet great leaders who mentored and challenged me. Again, it was hard and I was in over my head. But I found a way to lead.
As I found my way back to God I encountered incredible leaders in the local church who helped me grow even more. It wasn’t always easy, but their investment in me helped me to take my leadership to the next level.
I went to Kansas City with a team to plant churches. While church planting, I went through a season when I thought I wasn’t going to make it. Yet, in that tough time, I learned about my weaknesses and my assets and what it would take for me to grow. Once again, I was only able to grow in the blood and the mud.
Now, as the Director of NewThing, I once find myself in the blood and mud. I am being challenged to grow as a leader in new ways. It’s too soon in the journey to know whether I have what it takes to lead at this level. Others have told me they see potential in me. I’ll just have to trust them for now.
Some people are born leaders. I’ve met them. They make it look easy. They’re something about them that compels you to want to follow them. It’s that ‘special something they have and you know it when you see it.
We need those leaders.
But most of us need seasons in the blood and mud to grow. It’s where we learn our best leadership lessons.
I know you might be in the blood and the mud this season. Hang in there. Keep fighting. Because its times like these that are going to help you grow into the leader you were created to be.
I’d love to hear more about your leadership journey. Leave me a comment.
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