One of the greatest enemies of future success is….past success. Our natural default mode as leaders is to enjoy the fruits of our labor too long and become content. What made you successful today will not make you successful tomorrow. Ironically an incorrect personal evaluation of and response to current success can actually reduce your capacity. For church and business leaders to increase their capacity, after they have dealt with The Treasure Question, they must now answer The Satisfaction Question which states “Do I Think I Can Get Better?”
Peyton Manning has more passing yards (48,500) and touchdowns (353) by the age of 33 than any quarterback in the NFL’s 90-year history. However, in this his 11th season, Manning’s 69.7% completion rate and 319.1 yards passing per game are the highest in his career. Why? Certainly experience helps but many players’ performance depreciates over time. There is something more.
Deep in your heart, if you are successful, do you honestly, honestly feel you need to and have to get better? Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone and do a proper analysis of your leadership, relational, and occupational skills? This is tough because subconsciously we all remember the growing pains of our youth. And anyway, aren’t we happy with anything? We are, but we also can pervert gratefulness to the point that satisfaction becomes the enemy to the expansion of our capacity.
Peyton Manning understands this. “To understand why he hasn’t struggled” Tony Dungy says “you have to understand the way his mind works. It drives him every day that the offense will be better, not just as good as it was.” Former teammate Qadry Ismail says “He wants to squeeze out every ounce of talent he has and pour it into the art of quarterbacking, being the absolute best quarterback who has ever played.”
Years ago, I frequently never gave my best. What I gave, most people were impressed with, and that was good enough. One weekend, however, I went to a men’s retreat at Berry College in Rome, GA and participated in a ropes course. I had to climb a rock wall and only went so far up. I quit when it got too tough. That was a defining moment in my life. On that day in 1999 I decided I would never give less than my best, and praise God, to this day I can honestly say that as a leader, I have always left it all on the field and continually tried to get better. The growth in my life and the success I have achieved have been exponentially higher since that moment.
Here are a few practical things every leader can do to get better:
- Always be reading good books. Expand your mind with new thoughts.
- Listen and talk to leaders who bigger, stronger, and faster than you are. They will stretch you.
- Every year, develop a personal growth plan. Pick an area of your life to grow and develop in.
- Always know what your clients or people in your church are dealing with and what questions they are asking. This will make you “others focused” and always remember, we can’t take people where we haven’t gone ourselves. Nothing is worse than answering questions people are no longer asking.
- Finally, when you feel tired or what you’re working on is no longer easy, press into the assignment and work through the process. You will find you have more than enough energy and skill to address the need and subsequently find your confidence and capacity increased.
The Treasure Question. The Satisfaction Question. Are you starting to know what it takes to increase your capacity? Is your mind telling you things you need to stopr or start doing? Great – you are now ready to move to Part 3, The Information Question which states “Am I A Continual Learner?” Look for it on Saturday.