[vimeo id="166976664"] It’s easy to think that good leaders have it all together. At least it can seem that way. And if all you do is listen to leadership podcasts, read books about leadership, and follow celebrity-style leaders on social media, it’s easy to come to that conclusion.
Let me clear something up right now: Clarity isn’t something you have moving forward; it’s something you gain looking backward. But here is the catch, you can’t lead looking through the rearview mirror. You only lead when you’re moving forward.
Leadership will take you places you never anticipated and teach you things you’ve never considered.
Leadership is not about eliminating the unknown. In fact, that’s not leadership at all. That’s what I call a fantasy. Good leadership is about tapping into a well of wisdom within yourself and others that helps you rise above every conflict, challenge, or obstacle.
When you lead others, you go first. And that can be unnerving at times. Even leading yourself can be a daunting task. Good leaders wrestle with these questions:
- What is the right decision?
- What is the best next step?
- How can I make the vision I see in my head so clearly into reality?
If you’re asking these questions, then you’re leading WELL.
Making bold and courageous decisions is about moving forward even when you can’t see your hand in front of your face. Most leaders make the best decision they can given their context and circumstances. One step at a time gets you closer to your goal. Even if you have to a take a step backwards or sideways at times.
Clarity isN’T knowing the right answer; it’s asking the right question.
One of my priorities as a college president is to meet with students while they are on campus. Mentorship is so important to me that I make sure I meet with every incoming freshman at least once. It’s one of the favorite things about my job.
I’m always surprised to see how much pressure these 18 and 20 year-olds put on themselves to have the answer. It’s unfair and unrealistic. Being present and self-aware is what will lead you to your Divine Design and, ultimately, make you the best leader you can be.
Let me give you four reasons why clarity is over-rated:
- You are not a fortune teller. Life would be a lot easier if you could just sit down, drop a $20 bill on the table, and have someone tell you what was about to happen. Unfortunately, it never works out like that.
- You are not God. There is only one all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present being. And that’s not you.
- Faith does not exist if you don’t have to make a leap. If you already know all the steps, potential pitfalls, and how things will turn out in the end, where is the room for leaps of faith? The excitement of leadership comes when you extend yourself beyond what you think or believe is possible.
- You can’t achieve breakthrough unless you go places you’ve never been. It’s easy to get comfortable leading in familiar territory. But when you want to create change, you’ll have to go to new places which comes with a greater sense of risk and adventure.
Clarity will come over time. You’ll see a single thread throughout a variety of experiences. But if you wait for absolutely clarity before you take your next step, get comfortable because you’re aren’t going anywhere. Stop believing the lie that absolute clarity is a requirement for leadership.
Challenge: What step do you need to take today that you’ve been avoiding until you have absolute clarity? Don’t wait. Your adventure begins with your next move.