§ The power of Discovery
§ The task of Decision-making
§ The keys to personal Development
§ The way to renew your passion for your Dream
§ Timeless strategies for Dollars
And so much more!
Regardless of your arena of leadership, you will find the lessons of Walter helpful in your quest to become a better leader. If you read this book once, it is certain you will refer to it again and again for guidance for years to come as the lessons are timeless and boundless.
This reading experience will address straightforward your seasons of vagueness, and revive clarity and desire within you, in a manner you've never thought could be possible.
You will FIND YOUR WAY!
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Finding Your WayTimeless and Usable Solutions for any Leader
By Walter Boston, Jr.
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Walter Boston, Jr.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHighway One: A Journey of Discovery
I find that the great thing in this world is not so much where we STAND, as in what direction we are MOVING. - Oliver Wendell Holmes
"Son, you will discover a lot of things, even if it's the hard way. Just keep living-life is gonna teach you a few unforgettable lessons that you will be able to use to help yourself and other folks!" This was the unvarying reminder of Mr. William Langley; a sage, who lived in the community were I grew up as an adolescent. I would often seek him out and listen to his wisdom about his personal, hard-learned life lessons. Many of his bold statements still resound in my ear and guide me until this present day. Mr. William was right! Discovery can be an amazing unearthing of personal purpose.
It is very likely you have often reached plateaus that have caused you to question your primary purpose or worth in life. Questions such as: I have this gift, but how am I to use it? If I am to use it, who will I benefit? Will it be my sole occupation in life? If so, who will help me get started and established? Could I possibly inspire someone through my gifts? These are real questions that demand real answers. It was John Quincy Adams who once said, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." A statement such as this makes you think about your life for a moment! Over the years, have you consistently crossed the paths of people who believed they could learn from you? If so, you participated in the art of influence. When people see character traits or skilled abilities in you that they mimic when you are not around, then whether you accept it or not, you are leading. Now you may say, it's unofficial, and this may be true; nonetheless, it is still leadership.
Everyone comes to an understanding of the power of his or her unique influence at different stages and through different processes in life. The awakening for you may have been through a childhood experience, a work related experience, a series of conversations with a friend, an abundance of hardships, or even, perhaps, through a vision. However, you discovered your ability to influence, the light turned on one day, and suddenly you realized that your gifts and talents were not solely for personal indulgence but rather, for the good of others. When you happened upon such a glorious revelation, it challenged you. This challenge was not so much in where you stood, but in the direction you were to move. Let's discuss for a few moments how discovery initially empowers you to lead.
It opens our eyes. Perhaps one of the most essential qualities of a leader is the ability to see-by this I mean the quality to understand. There is nothing more disquieting than to be in the dark about something, and then suddenly, you get it! Everything is a melancholy before the moment of revelation comes. Then, in an instant, the mood changes for the better. The reason is simple: understanding is the ability to see. At this pivotal juncture the, "how to," is not the sole reason for rejoicing-that likely has not even come to you yet. But, the primary, "what," is the eye opener and you know from this revelation; you can at least get the ball rolling. Stephanie Luetkehans says, "Having it all doesn't necessarily mean having it all at once." I think this thought can be applicable to understanding. All in all, usually the breathtaking discovery is that because you can at the very least see it -you can move toward it.
It creates an excitement. The mere notion that you can be of real value to someone is huge, especially if you are the type who often second guesses your calling. For years I have observed leaders who were once completely immobilized, but they became fully engrossed in their work because it brought them a sense of significance. A genuine leader is always compassionate about others. If a leader has something to offer, he will become excited at every opportunity to do so. If you are doing something and consistently lack passion, it is a sign that you may not be doing the right thing. "I have never seen a monument erected to a pessimist," says the late Paul Harvey. I love this quote-isn't it true? Listen, there must be excitement about what we do because it is contagious and generates involvement from others. Assertive behavior is active, direct, honest, and is essential for a leader, as it will win over others every time. It generates energy. When you identify your purpose in life, there is an amazing "get-up-and-go" feeling that builds with momentum. Many times you don't know where it comes from, but the fact is, it is there. This is how I've felt about every book I have written. I would start on a chapter with a set time frame, and before I knew it, hours had passed, and I would still be writing. The energy to stay awake and the inspiration to write would be on high. Not only could I not turn it down or off, I didn't want to turn it off. This is not a mute point because without energy to stay the course in an assignment, you will find yourself starting, stopping, starting, stopping and ultimately, if you are not careful, quitting! Well, you know the deal about quitting, you don't win, and you will surely never discover! It compels us to evaluate. A legitimate discovery of leadership potential essentially says, now that I am in the forefront, what I am I going to do about it? What is it going to cost me? Am I willing to go the distance and pay whatever the cost? These sorts of practical questions must be posed at the onset. We will discuss this subject at length in chapter six: A strategy for dollars. Many good leaders failed to arrive at this initiation point; hence, nothing ever mobilizes to any lasting degree. It is such a simple but imperative reality to be reckoned with if you are going to advance forward successfully. Eugene H. Peterson poses the question this way in light of a leader preparing for war, "Can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can't, won't he send an emissary and work out a truce?" Bottom line, when we discover, we then can move on with the urgent task of counting up the cost of time, talent, and treasure. If we do this with integrity, we will not only pursue a realistic dream but will ascend to amazing pinnacles of victory each and every time!
Until now, we have dealt briefly with the genesis of a discovery and how it empowers us. However, not every leader is wrestling with an empowerment perspective. Let's say you have moved beyond this point but now wrestle with how to put your discovery into action. This can be a daunting undertaking. I hear this question nearly everyday, "Dr. Boston, I have discovered a good idea, but how do I kick it into gear?"
Over the years, I have had plenty of personal failures in this area; I mean, trouble kicking things into gear. I was fairly familiar with my calling and I fully believed in the God-given abilities to practice it. Nonetheless, I, at times, struggled with how to put these abilities in the proper context for maximum use. Do you sometimes feel this way also? Perhaps you have discovered something that will be a great help to many, yet you are not sure where to begin. It can be a frustrating and lingering experience-especially when you thought that discovering alone was going to suffice. You may even ask, "How much more difficult can it get?"
At this juncture, it would be prudent to consider more deeply how to put into action our discovery. In chapter two, we will discuss in detail the task of decision making which deals more intently with what and how.
In 2007, I did a literary interview with Dr. John D. Hull, president of EQUIP(r), the world's largest leadership organization. In the interview, I asked some of the tough questions that I am confident we all have asked as leaders. I will share the interview with you in its entirety in hopes that it will shed greater insight into how to kick your discovery into gear.
Boston: Dr. Hull, typically the last few months of each calendar year are reserved for reviewing, refreshing, and for some; developing a plan of action for the first time. We now know from years of instructions that a plan is germane to advance in any realm of life. Albeit, how to develop an effective plan, remains a laborious and daunting task for many leaders. In your view, what are at least three, maybe four, fundamental considerations that are usable in any sphere of leadership that should be embraced when planning? Explain each briefly.
Dr. Hull: Every leader needs to know where he or she wants to go before asking others to follow. In very simple terms, a failure to plan is a plan to fail. I think the way you go about strategic planning is to keep it focused and keep it simple. Here are some guidelines:
1. Plan to plan. The more time you spend planning, the less time you have to spend executing the plan. In the planning meeting, you may "feel" unproductive, but the fact is, you will actually save time and productivity on the overall task if you've sat down and thought the issues and challenges through. 2. Ask the right questions. The old journalistic "who, what, when, where, and how" are good questions in strategic planning. The right questions will force good answers as to the target audience, who will lead the efforts, funding, reporting, communication, and so forth. 3. Communicate and clarify. Every planning meeting should have a written conclusion of what was accomplished, a project list, a time-line and the next steps that need to be taken, along with who will "own" what in responsibilities.
Boston: There is often an amazing thrill that comes with new car ownership. However, to enter the garage and find it without wheels would be a travesty. This is often the metaphor of planning. Good plans; nevertheless, lacking the gear or even knack to get them moving. What about the "wheels" for a plan-do they automatically come with planning, or is this an entirely different undertaking?
Dr. Hull: Well, let's put it this way: It's important that planes and trains depart and arrive on time. But it's even more important that they first know where they are going. Good plans are useless unless they are grounded in the fundamental values of the organization - the core things that set the direction for the organization. Before you even start to look at mission (what you do) and vision (what you see), you better make sure you look at core values (who you are and why you're engaged in this enterprise to begin with). Just as wheels are essential for a car, a clear purpose of why the organization exists is essential for a business or charity. Once those issues are in alignment, some great things can happen.
Boston: Now that we are ready for forward progression, there is another issue that is pertinent-timing. Over the years, we've observed many well meaning leaders sweltered in regret and failure, merely because they missed proper timing. Assuming there is something wrong with their plan, they simply file it away or quit altogether. What is a healthy piece of advice on discerning times and seasons before moving ahead with a plan?
Dr. Hull: In our leadership curriculum at EQUIP, we have a lesson called "The Law of Timing." The essential learning point in this law of leadership is that "when to lead is as important as what to do and where to go. It's great to have the right purpose, mission, and vision, but without a sense of proper timing of when to decide, when to execute, or when to wait, great organizations can become encircled in chaos. Here's what EQUIP teaches in 108 nations about timing in a leader's life:
1. The wrong action at the wrong time leads to disaster. 2. The right action at the wrong time brings resistance. 3. The wrong action at the right time is a mistake. 4. The right action at the right time results in success.
Boston: Sir, how essential is what I term the five "P's" of planning: prayer, purity (by this I mean motives), people, patience, and practice in achieving lasting and fulfilling success, and do you as a highly successful global leader integrate any of these elements in your life assignment?
Dr. Hull: Well, I believe you've hit on five very important essentials in the life of a leader. I wish I was better at every one of them. I wish I was more balanced in living all of them at the same time. What I like about these five "P's" is they reflect both the "God-factor" in leadership and the "Leadership-factor" that human beings need to embrace. Let me show you what I mean:
Praying: For a leader, prayer is that great reminder that it's all about God and not about us. Prayer is the time for cleansing, repenting, reflecting, listening, and trusting. The leaders I admire the most are leaders who understand that they need, as Nehemiah said, "the good hand of God" upon them.
Purity: Well, prayer is a great place to get purer as we confess our failures and weaknesses to God. But once we leave that time of prayer, purity in the life of the leader must be lived out in their ethical grid, their management of finances, and their values. Clean hands and a pure heart still go a long way in building trust and credibility in the marketplace.
People: At EQUIP, we've been taught by our founder, John C. Maxwell, that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Successful people treat people in a way that unsuccessful people don't. Great leaders understand that people are a leader's greatest asset. I can't tell you how important it is to treat people well and with dignity. The biggest disruptions in a workplace come when relationships aren't right.
Patience: This is one of the greatest tests of a leader. Leaders like to get things done ... yesterday! They often don't want to wait on anything or anyone! However, the experienced leader will quickly tell you that his greatest mistakes in life came when they got in too big of a hurry and started to force things too early. Impatience is why "praying" is so important. Praying slows me down from doing some really dumb things in my leadership.
Practice: If you keep doing the right things well enough and long enough, over time, you're going to see compounded success and influence. Tiger Woods is a great golfer ... but he's the greatest golfer in the history of the game because he's never stopped practicing and improving his game. If you just keep putting one foot in front of the other every day and adding value to others, you just watch how that kind of practice will bring a major return in your life!
Boston: Dr. Hull, thank you for participating in this interview. It has been a pleasant growing experience! Please accept my sincere admiration and blessings for the inimitable job you and the prodigious team of EQUIP are doing to equip leaders around the world. In closing, I humbly ask that you leave our readers with a word of advice that will motivate and empower them peradventure they are facing a few momentary challenges with their plan.
Dr. Hull: Most of your readers have seen the classic motion picture, "The Wizard of Oz." Dorothy, from Kansas, should encourage every leader with her intuitive leadership skills. The next time you're confronted with a strange setting, increasing opposition, and feeling somewhat alone, just remember Dorothy from Kansas. She knew where she was going: The Emerald City to see the Wizard. She had a plan: She would follow the Yellow Brick Road. And she asked others to take the journey with her: The Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tin Man.
Excerpted from Finding Your Way by Walter Boston, Jr. Copyright © 2010 by Walter Boston, Jr.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Foreword: Dr. B. Courtney McBath....................xix
Highway One: A journey of Discovery....................1
Highway Two: A Task of Decision-Making....................15
Highway Three: A Spirit of Diligence....................30
Highway Four: A Call to Personal Development....................45
Highway Five: A Hope in the Face of Disappointment....................69
Highway Six: A Renewed Passion for the Dream....................85
Highway Seven: A Strategy for Dollars....................103
Highway Eight: A fulfilled Destiny....................114
Afterword: Dr. Samuel R. Chand....................125