My wife, Beverly, has a big birthday this week. She is, believe me, an amazing woman.
I’ve been pondering the wisdom she has given me during our years together, particularly the wisdom that relates to leadership. I want to share some of these insights with you. Then, after you read this, send up a cheer wherever you are for the amazing Beverly Mansfield!
- The Best Things in Life Are Seasonal
Bev has the clearest sense of seasons of anyone I’ve ever known. She celebrates the dawn of seasons by cooking special food. She has friends who call her when something seasonal first occurs. She always notes the passing of time, of meaningful moments large and small.
This has helped me in leadership. You see, everything has seasons. Your company may be struggling, but lead well and this will merely be a season. A new season will dawn. Or, you may be thriving, but keep in mind that milder seasons might be ahead. Don’t be fearful, but do prepare. The wise leader knows that time turns, that seasons rotate, and that change is always coming. The wise leader also knows how to draw the highest meaning from every season. Remember, the best things in life are seasonal.
- Everybody is Doing What They Want to Do
When Bev first said this, it ticked me off. I’ve spent much of my life doing my duty rather than doing what I really wanted to do. Bev taught me that even doing my duty was what I wanted to do. In other words, I made a choice. That choice determined what followed.
This is an important truth of leadership. We don’t lead well if we don’t understand that choice rules. People decide. Effects follow. Leaders understand this dynamic of life and learn to use it for good. We aren’t carried along by invisible streams. We are defined by our choices. Only the unwise fail to recognize that this is true. Lead well. Manage choice. Understand its power. Make good choices and inspire others to do the same.
- Nobody is Having Enough Fun
Now, admittedly, my wife loves a good party. She loves creating events at which people dance and laugh and celebrate. Behind all this, though, she understands something I have not always appreciated. We are made, in part, for fun. We are made to celebrate. God made us to laugh and feast and dance as much as he made us to think and sacrifice and do battle when we must.
Again, this has helped me in leadership. I don’t lead robots. I don’t work with machines. The folks I work with and want to impact are full blooded human beings. Hardship will sometimes come to their lives. That’s guaranteed. What isn’t guaranteed is fun and celebration. These have to be created. Good leaders create them. It draws people out. It makes a firm a great place to work. It inspires us to work harder. And did I mention that fun is—fun!
So here is to the most amazing woman I know and to all that she has taught me about leadership. Happy Birthday, my love.