At our team meeting this week, we discussed the Four Corners of Great Leadership, a blog post by Tim Sanders. He outlines the four areas that leaders need to continually develop to be excellent. I had the team guess what the four attributes are based on these pictures. See if you can figure it out (hint: your creativity is needed on some!):
Answers (clockwise from top left corner):
As we were discussing these in relation to our work, I realized that these can also be applied to leading your best possible life.
Vision: Vision is the strategy to your life: how you’re making your decisions. Just as a business leader needs to constantly refine where the company is headed, you too must assess if you are headed in a direction that will take you where you want to go. Excellent leaders absorb information from books, news articles, data, etc. and you too must dig into what guides your life. For instance, during my daily devotional time, I pray and read Scriptures – not passively, but actively allowing the words to challenge my current viewpoint and reorient me in the direction to the path I should be walking.
Commitment: What motivates you to be your best? The answer to this question is the energizing force behind your actions. During dry times, when you’re trudging through the desert, you’ll need commitment to keep focused on your vision. Rather than blaming outside factors or others on difficult times, great leaders take responsibility. “Let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no” (James 5:12). Great leaders stay in the game, but they also know when to say no to commitments that will distract them from their vision. Assess your life: Are you saying yes to so much that you have no time to advance toward your vision? Are you saying no to everything so you can avoid truly committing and giving your all?
Influence: Great leaders inspire and motivate their followers. You can’t lead toward your vision unless you let others know what it is. Have you made your vision known? Speaking it makes it come alive. Great leaders also recognize that they can accomplish nothing on their own. Who in your life are you influencing and who in your life is influencing you? These relationships could be positive or negative – and to lead your best life you need to separate from the gossip, the negative talkers, the pride, and whatever else is pulling you down from leading your life. You also need to recognize and appreciate whoever is helping you reach your vision.
Purpose: If your vision is the “what,” then your purpose is the “why.” Everyone has a personal mission statement, whether you’ve written it out or not. This is what you’re living your life for. I highly encourage you to write out what you are living for and why. I wrote a personal mission statement a couple of years ago, and when I was applying to jobs last summer, it was helpful to return to it and see what positions aligned best with what I was committed to. You won’t be committed to a vision or influence others to bring that vision to reality unless you’re extremely dedicated to the reason behind it all.
Notice that throughout this post the words “continually” and “constantly” are used frequently. This is an ongoing process, a journey. Be embraced by it.