What Leadership Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self?
Doctors say three things go as you age.
The first is your memory… And I can’t remember the other two.
But how do you really know you are getting old?
Your back goes out more than you do.
You make noise standing up AND sitting down.
Your birthday candles cost more than the cake.
You bend down to straighten your socks & realise you aren’t wearing any socks!
You turn the lights off for economic reasons rather than romantic ones!
I was born in 1963 and amazingly, I am still alive today! So I shouldn’t have been surprised when a class of college students asked me recently, “What leadership advice you give your younger self?”
I had to think quick. What can I help these young students do now to prepare for their future? Here’s my five ‘off-the-top-of-the-head’ ideas.
(I’m curious… What have I missed? What would you add to the list?)
1. Run with the Grain of Who you Are.
How God has wired you is a good indiction of what his plans are for you. Do you know your strengths & weaknesses? The best way I have found to feel productive in ministry is when my work is best suited to the things that make me feel strong. Not necessarily the things I am good at, but the things that bring me joy and energy.
2. You Gotta be Knowing Where your Money is Going.
Do everything you can to stay away from debt. Everything. After all, it was Jesus who said, “The one thing that will compete everyday for the affection of your heart is going to be your money.” So ask yourself these 3 diagnostic questions…
Is how I see my money the same as how God see’s it?
What if God used the money in my bank as a test for my heart not just a tool for my life?
What if God is looking at how I handle the small amount of cash I have now before he gives me more?
3. Resist the Pull of the Aimless Scroll
Don’t spend your life looking down or you will miss the beauty of what’s happening around you. A 2022 Uswitch survey found that average screen time among UK adults is now five hours a day - and that’s in addition to our screen related work! (It’s like we all have a part time job on top of our regular jobs!) Apart from being the ultimate time waster, scientists have found that too much screen time affects both our mental & physical heath. They suggest that reducing our ‘beyond work’ screen time to no more than 2 hours a day can can be highly beneficial. (That means a 50% reduction for most of us if we want to stay within a healthy range.) They suggest turning on dark mode, keeping a track every day, trying a new hobby that lifts our eyes from a screen and even taking a cold turkey digital detox to reset our habits.
4. Go DEEP More than Wide with your Friendship Groups
As the ancient proverb says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm!” (Prov. 13: 20) A few wise friendship choices are more powerful and more beneficial than a long list of mere acquaintances. So if you find yourself with groups of friends where you are pretending to be something other than who you really are, and if you feel a pressure to compromise, then its time to pull back and invest a new, smaller, deeper, wiser group of friends.
5. Find a mentor (But don’t ask anyone to mentor you!)
Do life with people who give you an example to follow. But you are going to need to trick them into doing it. And here’s how… (Check out this 3 minute conversation on mentoring with Craig Groeshel & Andy Stanley)