As I looked over the “52 traits”, something glaring stood out to me.
The first is that every man, woman, and child has these traits ingrained in them. The important caveat lies in the “Be”. Our lives can feel so busy and hectic and fast paced that though we would “like” to show compassion or happiness or generosity, or any of the other traits listed, we often don’t take the time and effort to “Be” those things.
Secondly, that every trait listed comes from being a good leader. There are countless books and blogs and articles and DVD’s one can watch to help oneself to build leadership qualities. A leader needs to be humble but passionate, decisive and thoughtful, tough but sensitive. We will fail at doing some of these things most of the time…or most of these things some of the time. The important thing to remember is that if we are doing these things, if we are living these traits, then we are trying. That is half the battle. The other half is picking ourselves up when we do fail, and going at it again. I see each one of those 52 traits listed and can immediately think of a time when I lived it. It also brings to mind times when I didn’t, which almost instantly kicks me in the gut with a desire to do and be better. You need to have that desire.
The constant in our lives, what we have control over, is US. I am my own stumbling block. My greed and selfishness outshine my generosity and benevolence. My own desires often outweigh my better judgments and it is often not until after the fact after the affront has been committed after the tears have been shed that I realize such.
Being a good leader is waking up at 2:19 am to feed the baby so your wife can sleep. It’s also waking up again at 2:41, 3:11 and 3:28 so your wife can sleep. It’s not mentioning it the next day.
It’s holding the door for the lady at the bank, dropping your change into the bucket, asking the lady crying at the bus stop if everything is ok.
It’s hoping that your wife will get pregnant after this last miscarriage. It’s talking about it with her, not just avoiding the issue.
It’s NOT lying to your kids because it’s easier to do so. It’s thoughtfully explaining the why and how and who to them.
Being a leader is a constant struggle. One where you must always be dying to yourself, your wants and desires. You must do these things to serve others, period. Your reward should not be seeking praise or kudos, but the satisfaction that you are setting a wonderful example. Your peers will be drawn to you, your wife will trust in you, your children will look up to you. Building and maintaining these inter-relational trusts are paramount. You can’t be happy if you don’t exude happiness, even when you are not. You can’t be thrifty if you are reckless with your money and you can’t be curious if you just don’t care.
You are accountable for yourself and your actions. You chose to pursue a relationship. You got married, you had kids. You.
When you make life decisions that put you in a leadership role, you must fulfill that role, you must BE a leader, even if you aren’t ready for it.
You will disappoint your wife. When you do, apologize, ask how you can change and what you can do better.
You will fail your children. When you do, be honest and open with them. Strive to do better.
You will fail, you will stumble and fall and make an ass of yourself more times than you’d ever like to admit. It is what you do, how you act and what you say after the fact that defines you.
For me, the struggle in leadership has been a long and winding one, filled with dips and valleys, but also peaks and highs. My life has seen drugs and jail and death, but also life and freedom and sobriety.
I can say with surety how blessed I am to have an amazing and supportive wife, wonderful kids and good friends. Those people obviously have a major influence on how I lead, yes, they want me to show respect and love and faith and confidence, but they can’t make me Be those things. That is up to me. I always know what I should do, and say and how I should act. It’s having the courage to do the right things, even when it hurts me, speak the truth when I don’t want to and carry myself with the knowledge that I should always want better, I can always do better and I can BE better.
I can BE a leader, so can you.
photo credit: ExarchIzain Dad finds the neatest stuff via photopin (license)
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