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In order to be great, leaders must be able to rise above it.  Whether it be petty personal attacks, jealousies, lies, foolish opposition, criticism, and ego-attacks, if they want to accomplish anything of significance, they must rise above it.

Great leaders are also great at listening, and they don’t discount people’s voices.  In fact, they spend a great deal of time getting input from people and developing an understanding of different perspectives.  However, they don’t let that feedback or input deter them from proceeding as planned.  I’ve heard people call this “resolve”.  Some leaders can have certain success by showing resolve and resolve only.  Great leaders know the right times to use their resolve, and how to use it.

I’ve spent some time thinking through this, because it really is an easy concept to understand, but it’s so hard to actually do.  Things like fear, greed, and pride can keep anyone from rising above it; nobody is immune to this.  Here are a few items I came up with that might be helpful:

 

Have conviction and stand strong

Don’t be afraid to be afraid.  Acknowledge and embrace your fear.  When you are afraid, think about what courage is and what it means to you.  Do what you’re tempted to avoid.  Hold your ground.

Apologize

When you make a mistake, own it.  If you find yourself taking action to avoid consequences that you should absorb, stop yourself and start over.  Let go of the rationalization.  If you’re trying to rationalize something, you’re swimming with sharks.  Be very, very careful.  ALWAYS take the time to view things in the light least favorable to yourself to make sure you have a complete perspective.


Pay special attention to uplifting stories

Ignore media that is filled with stories of negativity and fear.  What you take in with your senses is a choice that influences you mentally, physically and emotionally.  It has much more effect on you than you realize.  It can change the way you process information, to your detriment.


Refuse to complain, criticize or compare

It’s the fastest way to lower your energy – and engaging in this behavior is the fastest way to show your lack of maturity as a leader.


Develop a deep love and respect for others

Speak kindly and think positively of family, friends, and strangers.  Make one rule: Talk to anyone and everyone as if they are sitting right next to you.  Easy!


Love what God made when He created you

Appreciate your uniqueness.  It’s the highest form of love.  Nobody has your thumbprint, hand print, voice print or soul print.  Don’t rely on others to validate you.  You are made perfect in your own right.  Don’t let anyone tell you different.

Be grateful (see week 7)

Incorporate gratitude in every area of your life.  Fill your entire being with appreciation 24/7.


Seek to understand others

Let go of the trivial things.  When you catch yourself feeling irritated with someone, think something positive about that person or try to understand their perspective.


Accept others

Everyone has the right to be different and think differently than you do.  You can’t be both loving and judgmental.  Acceptance is about goodness and wholeness.

 

Forgive everyone

You will feel better and be less likely to make the same error that person did.  Forgiveness creates emotional healing and allows for clear thinking.  Learn from your mistakes but also learn from the mistakes of others.  That’s wise.  Feelings of revenge and wrath hurt nobody but you or the people around you.

It’s not all that difficult to conclude that Jesus rose above it all.  His actions and his self-sacrifice provide ample proof of that.  During his ministry, Jesus rose above it all by keeping his eyes on heaven.  He said he was “in the world, yet not of it”.  This clearly communicates his understanding of needing to rise above it all.  Jesus repeatedly taught his disciples to take an aerial view.  He taught them to keep their eyes on him, on Heaven, and on all the riches that come with the everlasting life.  Living in “the world” was a direct contradiction to that view and to that mission.

I wonder what the birds think of us as they watch us create machines to fly us around.  If I were a bird, I would think “You may be able to fly for a while, with the help of a machine, but I can fly every day and whenever I want.  After your noisy machines have broken down and been put in the scrapyard, I will still be able to fly and will always be looking down on all of you.”  Even though Jesus was surrounded by a myriad of noise and distractions, he never compromised.  He maintained confidence in his perspective and his “ability to fly”.  He always rose above it!

 

Dan Lucas
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