Monday, November 21, 2011

Leadership, like life, is hard

2:11 p.m. Today's project was to quickly get my major Thanksgiving dinner ingredients from Vons, before meeting with my team member Chelsey to find new leads for our Mary Kay businesses. It's pretty daunting for even the most outgoing of people --like me-- to walk up to strangers and engage them in a fun, positive conversation, in order to offer them a free facial and makeover. But whether we are chatting with women in a grocery store line and offering product samples or asking for help with an opinion survey or scavenger hunt, it's a necessary part of any sales business to meet people.

Eventually, business owners will have enlisted all of their family and friends, so a professional knows it's time to branch out! Think of the big, successful businesses you know.  I'll guarantee, as a former insurance agent who sold group and life policies to small corporations, that they had to knock on doors, sell items from their trucks or ideas from the living rooms of the friends they just met. But they persisted, and are reaping rewards today. Again and again, the Bible speaks of diligence in our work.

The master in Jesus' story of the coins given to three servants, amply rewards the one who invested, took risks, and acquired the greatest return. In Matthew 25:21, Jesus quotes the master's commendation to his most accomplished servant:

"Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord."

Leadership isn't just over other people at work. A mother is a leader to her children, a husband leads the entire household. And we need to take leadership and mastery over our selfishness, fear and resentment and self-pity through prayer and the help of God the  Holy Spirit. Romans 8:26-27 tells us that the Holy Spirit prays for us when we don't even know what the problem is or how to pray about it!

I heard a message this morning about leadership being a process. The speaker pictured three points of a triangle: your potential, your process, and eventually, your promise fulfilled. (I would word it that the third step is the achievement of a big goal). Her example was Moses. His 3 stages each lasted 40 years: from the palace of Pharaoh, to his life in Midian, tending his father-in-law's flocks; to leading God's people through many bitter trials to the Promised Land. She pointed out that for believers, each person's plan and process is God-ordained and individually designed by Him!

It is so encouraging to realize how much God loves me, that He has no intention of taking me through the same trials as everyone else in a similar position. And what I may be experiencing as a hard trial now is not just for my benefit, but for the good of others I don't even know are aware of me. So, while no one goes through trials perfectly without some whining and discouragement, we do want to make progress in our attitude and fortitude as we go through. Remember, Jesus is at the beginning, alongside as we progress, and ahead of us as we prayerfully come out of our trials as stronger, more beautifully seasoned believers than we entered in! Job 23:10 says,

When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

So I had to face my fears and walk up to a couple of young gals at Starbucks as an example to my consultant; there really was no getting out of it! Not if I want to be a leader others will follow. Amazingly, they agred to having facials next Wednesday! After we walked in separate directions, my consultant also picked up a couple of leads, so we agreed that she had gotten past "terrified" to "still terrified, but pleased with her results."

Hopefully, we'll try it again, and I believe she'll be training another consultant before we know it!

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