This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post on October 19, 2016.
As a leader, it is good to occasionally take time out to reflect on the impact that you have on those who surround you. During difficult moments, sometimes leaders get down on themselves and think that what they are doing (or trying to do) doesn’t matter. Well, I’m here today to say that you matter; not just for the moment but also for the legacy that you are leaving behind.
For the last few months, I have been working on my first book titled Discerning God’s Purpose: A Father’s Journey from Tragedy to Triumph. I describe a journey that has seen me go from tragedy to triumph. In it, I share my experiences and leadership tips that allowed me not only to impact those closest to me but all aspects of my life. Using these tools allowed me to become a better husband and father at home, a better colleague at work, a better friend, and to be a better person and role model in general to others in my life. Early in life, I focused entirely on myself and my immediate needs; however, after tragedy struck, I began to think of those closest to me and the difference that I could make in their lives. That change turned out to be the catalyst to start me down the path of becoming a leader.
Everyone has the capacity to be a leader. The key is to focus on something that you are passionate about and how to use that passion to serve others. When my oldest child was born, I stopped thinking of myself and put her first. When she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, I learned everything that I could about CP and resources that were available so that I could help her become everything that she was meant to be. I didn’t allow her to use her “disability” to settle for being second best. I still encouraged her to be the best. When my other two children came along, I used the same strategies to encourage them to reach for the stars as well. Along the way, I realized that the same strategies that I was using at home could be effective in helping my colleagues at work. I didn’t stop there. I used these same methods to help my local church family and in a small way, the Austin community at large. Instead of focusing on what I could get, I decided to focus on what I could give and that made all the difference. My greatest joy now is seeing my children and others that I have mentored take these same strategies and use them to become leaders themselves.
Leaders understandably tend to focus on setting goals and measure their effectiveness on how those goals are achieved. There is nothing wrong with setting and achieving goals; however, as leaders, our main goal should be to help others in achieving theirs. In helping others, we will not only achieve but will exceed any goals that we set for ourselves. I know this works because not only do I see it used by many different people in the Bible but also currently see it used by leaders from all walks of life. One person that I see using it on a regular basis is Gary Keller. Gary founded Keller Williams Realty as a company that is “built by agents for agents.” He also talks about using this model in his book, The ONE Thing where he asks “What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” One of the main reasons that I like working with Keller Williams is because Gary and his leadership team have implemented this model very well. In my opinion, it is one of the main reasons why Keller Williams is the largest real estate franchise in North America.
You may not be a parent or be in a leadership position at work, but you can still mentor others. Teach a class at work or at church, mentor a friend or colleague, serve as a “Big Brother” or “Big Sister,” or the next time you stop for coffee, do something as simple as buy a cup for the person in line behind you. There are many different ways to inspire and lead others. The key is to do something. When you do, you will find that in a small way, you are helping to mold a future leader. In doing so, you are not only helping that person but you are really helping yourself.
The author is a Licensed Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in Austin, Texas and is also the author of the upcoming book Clarity of Purpose: A Journey From Tragedy to Triumph.