Photo by Don Fennell
Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.—Albert Einstein
With faith, one can move mountains.
“The most important resource is energy,” says world-renowned performance psychologist Dr. Jim Loehr.
Speaking on the importance of character at Leadercast Live 2018, the largest one-day leadership event on the planet with more than 100,000 attending via simulcast in 20 countries, Loehr said celebrated American author Mark Twain once said the two most important days are the one on which you’re born and the day you find out why.
“I would like to add a third: the day you intentionally decided to align your life and energy with why,” he said.
Participants in the local conference, hosted May 4 by Trinity Western University’s leadership program at its Richmond campus, listened intently as Loehr described life as a “pure gift.” He added, “Happiness flows when you bring joy to others. And data supports that health is driven by our commitment to others. Our moral character grows daily when you use those muscles, and you’ll (learn to) understand what the gift of life is all about.”
Dedicated to helping advance the leadership journey, Leadercast 2018 focused on self awareness.
Basing his speech on why self-leadership matters, and how it makes a huge impact on your team, organization and community, U.S. pastor Andy Stanley said we face our greatest leadership challenge every morning in the mirror.
“You won’t be a leader worth following if you don’t lead yourself well,” he said. “Great leaders last because they lead themselves first.”
Stanley said the best leaders value “ultimate” most, not what they want now—something most people don’t discover until it is out of reach. He likened dessert as something you might want now, but its possible effect on your health as ultimate.
“We don’t simply need friends with common interests, but common values,” Stanley said. “Everyone ends up somewhere in life. We want you to end up somewhere on purpose.”
Stanley said 28 years ago he was reading Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. At one point, Covey suggested the reader stop and imagine what they would want said at their funeral. What you want said, Stanley suggested, is what you value most.
A former lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, and the first fully-qualified female naval aviator to fly the F-1 Tomcat in the military, Carey Lohrenz shared her insights into overcoming fear, and courage and bravery in leadership.
“Lead by example, with integrity,” she said. “If you lose sight, you lose the fight.”
As a pilot it can be like an elephant sitting in your lap while you’re trying to make decisions, Lorehnz said. You’re able to deal with the pressure by understanding what your purpose is.
“Enveloped in uncertainty, only those who take action can thrive and succeed. Universally we all suffer from a fear of failure, but when we’re afraid we pass up valuable opportunities. My dad told me the people who tell you you can’t are usually the ones afraid you can.”
Group president of Focus Brands, Kat Cole said it’s OK to think differently than yesterday.
“As you go forward, give yourself and others permission to change,” said Cole, who became a vice president at age 26.
Her mother divorced her father when Cole was nine, raising three girls as a single mom on $10 a week. But Cole said it takes that kind of courage to change and passion to evolve.
“Sometimes we feel stuck by others’ definition of ourselves,” she said, adding “I believe we’re failing the world if we don’t make the best of the little time we have.”
Michael Hyatt, former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, has written seven books including best seller Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. But Hyatt said in 1999, with his career booming, his doctor stressed he needed to make life changes. A series of small changes was all that was needed.
“Twenty years later the results are remarkable, yet I rarely work nights or weekends. Self-care actually gives you energy,” he said. “And it raises confidence and is even linked to the higher earnings. Self-care fuels creativity. If you want long-term success it requires long-term health because self-neglect cripples careers.”
Born without legs and placed for adoption by her biological parents, acrobat and aerialist Jen Bricker delivered a powerful message on persevering and positive thinking.
“We have to be real with ourselves,” she said. “My (adoptive) mom didn’t even see a picture of me.
“But when you’re told you’re important, beautiful and that you matter, you believe it. The power of what you speak and allow in your life will shape you.”
Bricker said her parents used to say if she wanted something bad enough, she would figure it out.
“We all have obstacles and gifts, talents and abilities,” she said. “Your friends, family and co-workers are your platform, and you are making an impact whether you realize it or not. Every person is meant to inspire and motivate. Use what you’re passionate about to change someone’s life.”
American engineer, physician and NASA astronaut, Mae Jemison said she’s always found the most difficult challenges are your own.
Speaking on breaking barriers and how to develop qualities it takes to be a trailblazer, she grew up not liking heights, yet travelled in space—in 1992 going into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour.
“I had to ask myself `Do I want to let it (fear of heights) overtake what I want to do?’” she said. “I said to myself what was most important (was a desire to be an astronaut).”
At age 26, Jemison was reminded of the Chinese word for crisis composed of two characters signifying danger and opportunity.
Serving as a medical health officer in Sierra Leone, she ordered a medical evacuation when she was unable to carry out necessary lab tests. It spoke of the necessity of being prepared.
“I knew what my job was, but most importantly it was a responsibility of mine to keep people alive,” she said.
Since last September, Jemison has been encouraging people the world over to “Look Up.” In celebration of the 25th anniversary of her spaceflight, Look Up is an event intended to connect people from all walks of life, culminating on Aug. 28 when everyone will be asked to look up and share what they see and their thoughts, hopes, fears, dreams and ideas for best path forward.
Suggesting you’ll never be able to effectively lead others until you learn to lead yourself, best-selling author Ian Cron says the key predictor to success is self-awareness. But, he added, only 13 per cent of people are aware of it.
What you think of yourself, and understanding your personality and its effect on others, is important.
Talking about the Enneagram of Personality (a description of the human psyche) and how knowing yourself and your tendencies makes you a better leader for others, Cron said the Enneagram helps us recognize and overcome self-defeating patterns of behaviour and to become our most authentic selves.
Dating back centuries, the Enneagram suggests there are nine basic personality types: reformer or perfectionist; helper or giver; achiever or performer; individualist or romantic; investigator or observer; loyalist or loyal skeptic; enthusiast or epicure; challenger or protector; and peacemaker or mediator.
One of Major League Baseball’s all-time great managers, and now chief baseball officer since 2011, Joe Torre began his long and distinguished career as a player in 1960 with the Milwaukee Braves. A catcher, first baseman and third baseman during his nine-time all-star playing days, he managed for 29 seasons, guiding his teams to four World Series titles.
Speaking on transferring self-leadership skills to leading others, Torre says to be a good player, manager or anything you need to be a good listener and to treat everyone fairly.
A good manager, he says, hears his players and tries to unite them as a team. He says while managing the vaunted New York Yankees, their success—in addition to athletic talent—was a result of making sacrifices for each other.
“They never stopped succeeding because they never stopped to admire what they accomplished,” he said. “When you start patting yourself on the back, I think you stop.”