#4 - HOW DO LEADERS OPTIMIZE THEIR POTENTIAL?
Everyone is born with a leadership gene – but not everyone’s leadership gene carries the same degree of leadership potential. Each of us has limits; God designed us with boundaries. As much as we love the posters that tell us we can become whatever we can dream – the reality is that most of us will never throw a baseball 90 miles an hour, perform a cello solo at Carnegie Hall, or become the president of the United States. Nobel aspirations don’t necessarily mean that we will succeed in all our endeavors. But we can all improve in many areas and be better tomorrow than we are today. With hard work, training and persistence we can throw a little faster, play the cello a little better and maybe be elected to the board of our church.
Our limits do not stop us, they merely redirect us into realistic areas of contribution and fulfillment. We need to ask ourselves – what are my areas of giftedness? And, what can I do to use my talents most effectively?
Some of our limits are fixed and others can be changed. I’m six feet four inches tall. I’ve been that way a long time. Until my skeletal structure gives way, I’m pretty much set with my height. But my weight is a different matter, I have a measure of control over how much I weigh. We all have height and weight issues – things that won’t change much and things that are influenced by our choices.
Our IQs may be unchangeable limiting factors in our lives, but most of us can read, listen, reflect and learn more and more. The size of our intellectual bucket may be unchanging, but most of us have never come close to topping off our mental capacities. We need to fill the bucket we have as full as possible. A full one-gallon bucket is more significant that an empty 10-gallon bucket.
We all have personality tendencies that emerge early in our lives, some are naturally more outgoing and others more reserved. But introverts can learn to engage life in an uncomfortable, noisy, crowded room and extroverts can learn to slow down, sit quietly and have non-verbalized thoughts.
Energy levels, creativity, social styles, and a host of other variables impact our lives and influence our leadership capacity. We need to accept the things that are set and develop the many areas of our lives where we can grow.
Leaders stretch every possible area of life to expand their effectiveness. Mentors, books, conferences, introspection, education (formal and informal), travel, responsibility, jogging, eating well, hobbies, spiritual disciplines and a host of other influences help us grow or allow us to atrophy. A leader engages the opportunities that challenge him or her to greater leadership growth.
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