Leadership is Influence, nothing more, nothing less.”
John C. Maxwell
As a leader where should your influence begin?
For people who want to make an impact for a lifetime, beyond their lifetime, starting at home is always key.
Some how as I was advancing up the corporate ladder I got it backwards. I allowed my career / job to captivate most of my time and my family got the leftovers. I am embarrassed to say for some periods of time what they got was more like breadcrumbs than leftovers.
Imagine how that made them feel. They were always incredibly supportive of the successes I was having, however before I knew it, they had built a life without me. We all lived under one roof, yet we lived very separate lives.
I am not proud of that season of my life, however it is a very real season for many business leaders still today. Given I coach business executive I learned the following is quite common.
- Working long hours always focused on developing new business, customer relationships, leaders, and raising the bottom line.
- Trying to keep a family from dissolving
- Regretting they did not spend more time with those closest to them
- Feeling lonely with no time for meaningful relationships outside of work
- Aching for balance, meaning, fulfillment…
I remember asking myself how could I be such a great leader at work, inspiring people, developing future leaders, juggling huge projects across the globe and at the same time be so ineffective at home? I even wrote it off as “I am not the nurturing type”. I would rather be in the boardroom, than the living room. Seriously I bought into SUCCESS I was heading down a path of SUCCESS at all cost, unaware of the real price I was paying.
After returning home one week, I remember walking into my house and receiving absolutely NO reception or NOT even an acknowledgement that they were glad I was home.
TALK ABOUT A WAKE UP CALL. that was the most eye opening night of my life. and I AM EXTREMELY GRATEFUL the call was packaged in such a way that it wasn’t too late to choose differently.
It was never my intent to be where I was yet it was my new reality. I realized that weekend that my life was filled with a successful career that I enjoyed and a weekend meal or two with the family.
How had I gotten to this place? How did I allow myself to place those I love and treasure most behind work? I was giving 150% to work, which left little for anyone else. Not even those I wanted to spend a lifetime with. Outside my home I was know as “great leader” and inside my home I was tolerated. Today, my husband and adult children laugh about THAT woman that used to live in our house. LOL
It wasn’t until I read Viktor Frankl’s book, A Man’s Search for Meaning. That I was really able to start turning things around.
It was this very book that reshaped my thinking.
“ When we are no longer able to change a situation,
we are challenged to change ourselves.”
I needed to own the situation and take responsibility for my responses to life.
Frankl writes when we are in search of deep sense of meaning we can often numb ourselves with pleasure.
His advice for finding a deep sense of meaning.
- Have a Vision or a project your are working on / towards
- Be in relationships were you are unconditionally loved
- Have a redemptive perspective on your suffering.
Make a list of the suffering , circle it acknowledging it as bad
Make a second list of the positive things about why this situation is a blessing.
The real treasures of life are often found in our suffering.
It was the late 1990’s and I became a student of Tony Robbins, who introduced me to Viktor Frankl’s writing. From there I decided to become an avid reader, a student for life always seeking to change myself to become the best me.
As I studied under Dr, Stephen R. Covey, John Maxwell as well as Keith Craft a spiritual leader in my life. I learned great leadership starts by leading yourself and it starts at home.
When Leaders put their organization or community before their family everyone suffers. I didn’t realize it at the time, however I was leaking my best. It wasn’t with me everywhere I went. I lived a compartmentalized life instead of focusing on a whole me. I learned and have found when the marriage isn’t working all suffers, when the family is out of order your career or business suffers more.
When John C. Maxwell shared his definition of success,
“When those closest to you love and respect you most.” I decided to steal it for my own.
I have learned to filter my decisions, choose my partners, and plan my life with his definition in mind. As I developed the life that matters most to my I realized Self Leadership works only when you decide who you want to BECOME. When you become the person you would want to follow, others will choose to follow you.
If you have a family, put them first in your Leadership.
Begin at HOME.
There is no legacy like that of the positive influence leaders can exercise with their family. Then watch how the people following you start to change.