Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Defining Your Moments

Leader become better leaders when they experience a defining moment and respond to it correctly. Anytime they experience a breakthrough, it allows the people who follow them to also benefit. The difficulty with defining moments is that you don’t get to choose them. You can’t sit down with your calendar and say, “I’m going to schedule a defining moment for next Tuesday at eight o’clock.” You cannot control when they will come. However, you can choose how you will handle them when they come, and you can take steps to prepare for them. Here’s how:

1. Reflect on Defining Moments from the past
It’s said that those who do not study history are destined to repeat its mistakes. That statement applies not only in a broad sense to nation or culture but also to individuals and their personal histories. The best teacher for a leader is evaluated experience. To predict how you will handle defining moments in the future, look at the ones from your past.

2. Prepare for Defining Moments in the Future
One of the most valuable things I’ve done in my life is to make major choices before times of crisis or decision. That has enabled me to simply manage those decisions in critical moments of my life. A few of these decisions I made as a teenager, many in my twenties and thirties, and a few later in life. I wrote about these decisions in depth in my book Today Matters, but I’ll give them to you here so that you can get the gist:

Attitude: I will choose and display the right attitudes daily.
Priorities: I will determine and act upon important priorities daily.
Health: I will know and follow healthy guidelines daily.
Family: I will communicate with and care for my family daily.
Thinking: I will practice and develop good thinking daily.
Commitment: I will make and keep proper commitments daily.
Finances: I will earn and properly manage finances daily.
Faith: I will deepen and live out my faith daily.
Relationship: I will initiate and invest in solid relationships daily.
Generosity: I will plan for and model generosity daily.
Values: I will embrace and practice good values daily.
Growth: I will desire and experience improvements daily.

I don’t have to wrestle with these issues during a defining moment. They are already settled. And I am free to focus on the situation at hand and make decisions based on them. (John C. Maxwell, Leadership Gold, pp. 26-27)

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