15 years ago, I was in an unfulfilling job working at the Capitol, living in a cute condo in South Minneapolis, and was a five-minute walk away from a gorgeous rose garden and what became one of my favorite lakes to run around (if you know you know). One of the books I read in that season motivated me to start giving God the first part of my day (Secrets of the Vine). So, I decided I should give it a try! I committed to getting up an hour earlier every morning. And it wasn’t what I expected.
When you get a new job and step into a new position, one of the greatest temptations is to feel the need to prove yourself. It can be so easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you need to prove to everyone around you why you were chosen for the position. And while you absolutely should feel confident in your new role because they did choose you for it, there is also another crucial element to your initial and long-term success. In fact, there are three things you can do to set not only yourself up for success, but also set up those around you for success, and create the kind of culture you hope to establish in your new role.
The first time someone asked me if I was going to go into ministry, I literally laughed out loud and confidently shook my head and said, “no.” I had just spoken to my home congregation of 5,000 over two days and three services having just come home from spending time visiting our sister church in rural Tanzania. In fact, the first time I spoke to an audience that wasn’t in a classroom setting (aka that wasn’t part of a school assignment) was while I was in that rural Tanzanian village. I was 21 and had an interpreter next to me translating my message into Swahili. I couldn’t have articulated it then, but I now know that I didn’t think I would be a good fit for ministry because truthfully, I didn’t see examples of women like myself in leadership roles.
Fast forward five years and a Master’s Degree in Teaching later. I turned down what would have been an incredibly well-paying job because, even though I would have been good at it, I knew my heart just wasn’t in it. And instead, I found myself walking out of my job at the Minnesota State Capitol and heading to an interview for a job as a Youth Pastor.
As people, products, and services move around the world at increasingly faster rates, there’s a greater demand than ever for effective global leaders. As with anything in leadership, being and becoming a global leader is a process, not a destination. Like leadership in general, effective global leaders are made not born. So, what makes a global leader effective? And how do leaders become global leaders?
Does the list of all that you’d like to accomplish in this life time excite you and simultaneously seem impossible? Are you in a place of feeling constantly overwhelmed by all that you have to do or that there simply doesn’t seem to be enough time to do all you feel called to AND be there for your loved ones? Or maybe even worse, do the people you see great potential in and then bring on to work with you leave way earlier than you ever imagined?
While the adage “leadership is lonely” certainly can be true in many respects, it doesn’t have to be. Yes, you will feel stretched as a leader, and likely out of your comfort zone a LOT when things are going well (and even when they aren’t). But being stretched and being overwhelmed because there is too much for you to do by yourself are two entirely different things. The first is normal as we grow in our leadership (which is hopefully always); the latter however is typically something we bring on ourselves, but has an easy remedy: empowerment.