It has been a very eventful two weeks – an intense and exciting John Maxwell Team training event in Orlando, Florida, followed by a christening, a wedding, and a funeral. In this scope of events, I have seen people at all levels of life – from the beginning through the end.
It makes you realize we are each given just a few decades in life to come, make a difference, and leave a legacy.
If you are reading this article, you are fortunate to be in the “make a difference” phase of life.
“Everything you have done in life has prepared you for this day.” – Author Unknown
You have today to make a difference. You may – or may not – have tomorrow and many other days to continue making a difference; but if you are here, now, reading this article, you have…today.
How can you as a leader make a difference?
Each of us is given a unique set of strengths, skills, and life experiences, good and bad. They make us who we are, and they make us uniquely qualified to serve.
Last week, I spent several days with thousands of people. Here’s the amazing thing – each one of them was unique. Each brought their gifts of strengths, skills, and life experience to share and to serve. The theme, appropriately, was “Unity through Diversity.” We were a diverse group with one mission – to serve.
You as a leader are unique. Each person on your team is unique as well. This uniqueness is how each of you serve. And how you serve is how you make a difference.
Your gifts are how you can make a difference.
So the question should first be…
How do you serve?
Many people wander through life with no real knowledge of the value they bring to the world. They have amazing strengths, skills, and a wealth of experience; but they simply are not aware of it. This is where tools like the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report bring major value to people. It creates awareness. As a leader, you are in a position of helping your people develop this awareness.
I have had people in their forties, fifties, and sixties, realize their gifts for the first time ever. And while it is always a joy to see that light bulb moment, the fact is, I would love to see people have that moment even earlier in life.
Consider the difference you could make if you could know the real “you” and apply “you” to what you do every day. And if you could teach your people to do this as well.
Awareness creates motivation, momentum, and commitment that goes beyond the norm – a conviction that your work and relationships are best served when you are at your best.
There are many people who are aware of their gifts. They have taken the assessment and, as a result, know how they can serve best.
But most do not take awareness to the point of action. They do not apply what they know about themselves to what they do each day. The few who do reach unprecedented levels of success.
There are also those who jump to action without being aware of their gifts. They often spend their lives “doing” without a full sense of “doing with purpose.” As a leader, the difference in having a team of “doers” versus a team of “doers with purpose” is a key differentiator for success.
As human beings, we are wired to have a sense of accomplishment. This looks different for each person and especially with regard to the four types of strengths, but it is an essential need for each of us to have a sense of accomplishment.
This is purpose.
Purpose fulfilled creates legacy. Legacy is when your accomplishments outlive you and continue to serve the next generation.
Where do many go wrong?
If being aware of who you are and applying your gifts are the simple keys to legacy, why doesn’t everyone do it?
There are a number of possible reasons.
1. They do not follow the formula: Awareness + Action = Accomplishment
Where many go wrong is that they skip one of the two key steps or they get them out of order.
- Awareness without action results in lack of accomplishment.
- Action without awareness results in wasted effort. A habit of wasted efforts leads to a life without legacy.
2. They do not have a compelling “Why.”
The ultimate why is “service.”
This is why many billionaires eventually become philanthropists. After the thrill of success and its accompanying monetary gain, there is a natural yearning for something “more.” That “more” is a desire to serve and make a difference – to leave a legacy.
The good news is, you don’t have to be a billionaire to serve. You can start where you are…today. You can start with what they may have taken a lifetime to learn: that the real joy in life is not so much in receiving as it is in giving.
3. They let others plan their lives.
He was fired by a newspaper for lack of creativity.
His work was rejected.
His father would have preferred he hold a “real job” doing farm or factory work.
Though he worked hard in every job he was given, Walt Disney never let them deter him from his true strengths. The result: a lasting body of work that continues to foster creativity and enjoyment across the world to this day on a scale that has yet to be matched.
He created a legacy by staying true to his gifts and strengths despite the plans of others.
While it is true that good counsel provides sound wisdom, we must also be aware of our gifts and strengths. If the counsel helps us grow in that regard, it is likely solid and right for us. Awareness will help you make this discernment.
As a leader, make it a point to be keenly aware of each person’s gifts and strengths. Help them engage those strengths in their work. In doing so, you are building their legacy as well as yours. Use your influence to help them grow outside their comfort zone but within their strengths zone.
If you find yourself in the “make a difference” part of life (which, again, is everyone reading this article), decide that today you will make a difference.
- Are you aware?
- Are you taking action?
- Are you accomplishing your unique legacy and helping others do the same?
Do you need help assessing your strengths and those of your team? Do you need help strategizing for action based on those strengths? Consider the Maxwell Method of Communication Impact Report
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.