I had to buy bananas again! It seems as if I am going to the store every three days. Wait, I AM going to the store to buy bananas EXACTLY every three days, because I only buy three days worth at a time. And, why is that? Well, I get frustrated when bananas get too ripe too fast. Why is it that you researchers cannot produce a banana that lasts longer in the condition that I LIKE?
Oh wait, never mind. Researchers, please continue doing what you do: taking on important issues like curing cancer, improving agriculture production, producing energy and so much more.
It is silly how often I have to remind myself that “It isn’t all about Jill.” In spite of my efforts to follow God, I continue to be tempted to put myself first, to take everything personally. Do you have a similar problem? As a leader, our positions put us out front; we have to keep that “out front” status in the right perspective.
Americans see leaders as the literal face of an organization. In fact, we are so enamored by leaders that some of them hire publicists and stylists to create an “image” that will sell a product or an organization. The television show, “Undercover Boss”, celebrates leaders and shows the large homes and beautiful families of those captains of industry. Candidates for elected positions are too often evaluated only on how they look and how they sound. Is anyone surprised that 41% of Heisman trophy winners were Quarterbacks? Quarterbacks call the plays that score points; some crazed fans see the Quarterback as the only position responsible for every victory and for every loss. I find it interesting that the statistics regarding quarterback wins of the Heisman are skewed greatly by the last few years. Twelve of the last thirteen Heisman winners were Quarterbacks. Awards made in earlier years went to players from many more positions. Does the voting for the Heisman trophy reflect our attitudes about leaders or are they really the best players in college football?
As leaders, we have to fight the pressure to make everything about us. Great leaders make it clear: the mission, the organization, the team always come first. How do they do it? How do great leaders live out front and remain humble?
I believe that it all goes back to our intentions. What is our goal?
- To be seen as great? Or, to build a great team, a great product, a great organization?
- To look good? Or, to do good?
- To grow rich? Or, to grow riches?
James 3:16 warns us: “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” There is no question, the world will push leaders to become focused on themselves; but, we must remain vigilant and keep our pride in check. Once we begin to see ourselves as more important than anything else, we start down a path that can only bring evil and disorder.
C. S. Lewis put it so simply: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Great leaders reject the temptation to think the world revolves around them.
The reality is that the world does not owe me a long-lasting banana. I can live with that.