Leaders and the Game of Life

This is a guest post by Angela Bisignano, Ph.D.. She has a doctorate in clinical psychology and an M.S. in ministry. She works as a leadership and life consultant. You can read her blog and follow her on Twitter. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

How important is winning to you? I know I like to win. What’s even more important is how I play the game. The process is key to me.

The Game of Life - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jml5571, Image #17773700

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jml5571

For many leaders today, life is moving really fast. Contemplating the process of life is not on the top of many leaders “to do” lists. Yet, process is vital in order to do life well and to finish well. To me finishing well implies much more than just a successful career or ministry. How important is life’s process to you?

Far too many leaders today are caught up in the rigors and the demands of their roles and careers, so much so, that contemplating process is not even on their radar screens. Countless leaders won’t even stop to look at their life process until they get into their 50s and 60s.

Extraordinary leadership and finishing well, means going above and beyond the scope of just succeeding in one area of life. Being a remarkable leader means exercising moral and spiritual integrity in all areas of life: personal, family, professional, community, and faith.

Now, I am not talking about being perfect, what I am talking about is being honest. Navigating life with dignity, poise, integrity, and authenticity.

The challenge for many leaders today is that they will not consider the implications of this question until much later in life. I believe this is one of the most important questions leaders should ponder and the earlier the better.

In his research with church leaders over the course of history, Robert J. Clinton came to a startling conclusion: only 1 in 3 leaders will finish well. I wrote about some of his findings in a recent post: ”Leaders Finishing Well”.

When one starts with the goal of finishing life well, it sets them on a great life course. So what’s involved? Leaders can do four things now to help ensure they are on the path to finishing well:

  1. Contemplation: Take time to reflect. Think about your life and what it means to you to finish life well. In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says that beginning with the end in mind is key. Fast forward and envision what kind of legacy you wish to leave behind. You won’t be able to take anything with you when you are gone. However, you can leave “deposits of you” and a contribution that may impact generations to come. Write down what’s important to you.
  2. Commitment: Know your core values and stay committed to them. Ask yourself: what are the things in your life that are extremely important to you? Core values are the things that are nearest and dearest to our hearts. They reflect what matters most.
  3. Cost: In any significant endeavor, you need to count the cost. Invite someone that you trust into your journey with you. Be accountable in all areas of your life.  Ask yourself if there are any obstacles in your life such as, wounds, shame, hidden secrets, or character issues that you need to deal with or overcome. Be willing to do what it takes to live your best life.
  4. Courage: Stay the course. Make a decision that you will not compromise. Have the courage to live out your convictions in every area of your life. One of the greatest obstacles people have in life is fear. Overcoming fear was part of my journey. Be courageous and don’t be afraid to live out what you believe God is calling you to.            

Most every major decision I make in life is influenced by what I believe God is calling me to and the legacy I wish to leave behind. When I stop to think about the things that matter most in life, they are the people I love and what God is calling me to do. Sometimes I need a little reminder, to slow down and remember what this game of life is really all about.

How about you, is it time to slow down a bit and look at your life process? Are you more focused on winning or the process?

Question: What are some of the things you can do today to make sure you are on a course to finishing well? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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