Readers of this publication enjoy the privilege of living in an area that is home to some great and effective leaders. The growth and desirability of the region is their testimony.
Many of these leaders are not only respected for their obvious accomplishments, but also for their integrity, strong families, engagement with their churches and involvement in their communities.
Have you ever asked yourself how these leaders seem to get so much done so well and still live what appears to be a balanced life?
I use the word “balanced” carefully.
Some of you reading this may look at their lives and see what may appear to you to be a life out of balance. However, you may actually be witnessing a fully focused and disciplined life instead. Read on.
For the past thirty years I have had the privilege of working closely with a number of successful leaders who have enjoyed great accomplishments in their vocational endeavors and in their personal lives.
I have been their counselor, their pastor, their consultant and their coach.
I have noticed that most of them have several things in common that may serve as a guide to other of us with similar aspirations.
Most of these admired have a clear set of values or guiding principles around which they build their lives, and they have chosen not to violate those principles for short-term advantages.
Their values begin with honesty and personal integrity, but are much broader.
Their values include effectiveness at work, family, personal health, wealth management, faith and community involvement.
You cannot be around these leaders long without knowing what their values are and what is important to them. They are confident, open and transparent in sharing their values with others. And they do this in a way that is not offensive, but rather attractive.
Another characteristic of these leaders is their clear vision for how they want life to be when they reach the end. They are continually giving thought to the end result of their life choices and opportunities.
They know the outcome they would like to achieve, and they do all that is within their control to ensure that the outcome they desire is the outcome that becomes their reality.
They are also wise enough to know that they are not in control and are flexible to adjust to life’s surprises, challenges and unexpected opportunities.
With so much calling for their time and attention, they are quick to learn the fine art of discipline, a characteristic that gets so little attention in today’s leadership literature.
Their commitment to personal integrity is what compels them to be as effective as possible in each of the areas of life they value most.
Their personal vision and values complemented by the art of discipline allow them to filter all the demands and say “yes” to right things. It also allows them to say “no” to other “good” things that do not necessarily propel them toward their vision.
What has been most interesting to me is that this well disciplined life also seems to be a very freeing and fulfilling life.
Deeply engaged? Yes.
Deeply involved? Yes.
Deeply committed? Yes.
But free to say “yes” and “no” with confidence and compassion.
Free to make a difference within their realm of influence, and within their scope of competency, while making that difference in the areas of life they have deemed to be most in alignment with what is important to them.
(Tony Hawk is the former director of business development for the Soderquist Center for Leadership & Ethics. He recently accepted a position as vice president of human resources for SecureWorks in Atlanta, Ga.)