We live in a great country where every day, every moment, you and I have the happy opportunity to make choices: Each morning we can get up early or hit the snooze button; watch TV or read a book; rent a DVD or see a movie; go to college or not; work in the private sector or public; meet minimum performance standards and just get by, or exceed them. Let work and life happen to you or seize the moment and make life extraordinary!
You are the captain of your life. While it is true that we may not choose all of the circumstances of our lives, we may absolutely choose our responses and we may learn to influence and change our circumstances. At the end of the day do you look back at your actions and say, “I gave it everything I had!”? Does there have to be some great project, mission or opportunity for you to get engaged, or are you willing to give it everything you have with everyday things: Every phone call, every conversation, and every assignment no matter how small?!
Many of us live waiting for what is next. I can’t wait to get to high school; I can’t wait to get out of high school. When we get out of high school and get a job…I can’t wait to get a job I like, in college…I can’t wait to graduate. When single…I can’t wait to get married. When married…I can’t wait to be single. With small kids…I can’t wait until my kids grow up. We can’t wait to have money when we have little, when we have abundantly, we can’t wait to have more.
We live on someday isle. Someday I’ll be home in time to read my children a story and kiss them goodnight! Someday I’ll get in shape! someday I’ll finish my degree! someday, someday I’ll do what it takes to earn a promotion! We live on someday isle where opportunities pass us by while we are waiting for the “significant” things in our lives to happen. I believe a great indicator of how people will perform in a defining moment is how they perform every day. Make right now your great moment! When you share a conversation, make it great-be present, be invested! When you are given a task you think is beneath you-crush it! Come back to whomever assigned it to you and report it complete ahead of schedule and under budget. You want to prove your value on great things? Prove your value on everyday things. Otherwise, all too soon, our children are grown with children of their own, our careers are over and our short time on this earth is coming to a close and we have failed to act and seize the moments of our lives.
Everyone has the potential to be a leader. The word “leader” is derived from Greek and Latin words which mean “to act”. Leadership is not about title or rank, it is about the ability to act and “impact”. You have choices how to exercise your leadership.
Each of our lives is like the vast unchartered Louisiana Territory of leadership. We have many choices: We can stay safely in “St. Louis” and enjoy vicariously the adventures that lie beyond the horizon; we can venture out, but stick to the easy trails; However, if we want real adventure and if we want to make a real impact, we must do with our life’s leadership opportunities what Lewis and Clark did in the Louisiana Territory-get “lost” in order to “find” our dreams.
It is time to leave complacency and comfort zones behind. It is time to unleash personal and leadership potential. It is time to act and seize the moments of life!