“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” - Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield
The past week was an interesting week. About three years ago, my son met a friend that would change his life forever. My oldest son would come home and talk about how amazing this young man was. Around a year ago, this young man was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer called osteosarcoma. With deep regret, this young man passed a little over a week ago due to this battle with cancer.
My family and I have been deeply touched by this phenomenal young man. While sitting through his funeral, I started to realize that this young man and his friends had demonstrated more leadership through this battle than many of us adults. I had to reassess my leadership.
How is your leadership? After experiencing this grievous situation, I have to ask the question of if not now, when?
When it comes to children, many times we feel learning should be defined by adults teaching children. However, there are many lessons we can learn from our children. These children demonstrated and taught me three leadership lessons.
1. Extreme Courage
Are you leading with courage? Stop for one second and think about ways you are leading with courage.
My son’s friend that passed away and all his friends have handled an extremely challenging situation with extreme courage. First, the young man gave his parents and all that knew him so much love despite his pain and the news that he was dying. Second, all his friends were constantly encouraging and supporting him through the entire process.
As leaders, there are some situations that require us stand and be strong even in the face of adversity. These kids taught all of us a lesson in courage. The long-serving First Lady of the United States and activist Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’”
What do you fear personally and professionally? Is it starting your business? Is it going back to school? Is it starting your new work out plan? Is it taking a new position a work? Is it talking to a coach or mentor about personal or professional development? Whatever you fear may be, it is time to have extreme courage.
2. Extraordinary Determination
How determined are you about your life goals and achieving your dreams?
The young man that passed was determined to be himself. All the way up to his death, he was dancing, laughing, and being a jokester. His friends were determined to be a good friend to him no matter what.
Determination is critical to your leadership. Charles Simmons a British journalist and politician stated, “Never go backward. Attempt, and do it with all your might. Determination is power.”
In all your personal and professional endeavors you have to give it your all. Giving less than your best means you have already loss. So everyday be determined about giving your best and don’t worry about the rest.
3. Exceptional Transparency
How clear are you about your message as a leader?
This young man was clear about two things. First, he knew he was getting ready to die. Second, he wanted everyone he knew to know that he loved them.
No one wants to guess about where you stand when it comes to your leadership. The English Theologian Joseph Barber Lightfoot said, “ There is no persuasiveness more effectual than the transparency of a single heart, of a sincere life.”
The life of this young man has profoundly resonated several leadership lessons. Again I ask you if not now, when? Are you being the leader you should be?