I had a great time at a district meeting recently. John Addison, the former CEO of Primerica and current editor of current leadership for Success Magazine, shared some of his ideas from his current best-selling book Real Leadership: 9 Practices of Leading and Living with Purpose (McGraw-Hill). His motivational and positive speech was exceptional and I wish to share some of his thoughts that resonate with me.
He began with “Thoughts are things and we are becoming our most predominant thought.” I thought about Jesus. I desire to reflect Him, but how? Addison stated, “Get happy now! Get the negative out for they are like weeds.” He shared a story of how he planted Silver queen corn, but after a long trip he returned to find the weeds had taken over the corn. His young sons, who knew nothing of weeds, asked him “What in the world did you plant?” Negative thoughts have deep roots… they must be pulled out if the mind is to be a garden of happiness and peace.
Next, he instructed us, “Don’t take yourself too seriously…turn the light on others and use words to build up, not to tear down.” I remind myself daily to be a blessing, not a burden. My job as a leader is to make others feel great about themselves. This means I must control not only my attitude but my actions as well. The first point was to think right, this one was to do right.
The third point was how to deal with fear. Addison shared, “We all have little demons, those irrational fears that come…especially at 3am.” He reminded us of a quote from “A Beautiful Mind” (one of my favorite Russell Crowe movies), “Feed your dreams and starve your nightmares.” He said that life turns on the small decisions (the ones you fear to take). We are called to use fear as stepping-stones to move us forward. He taught us, “Forward movement involves things getting better or worse. There is no coasting in life…coasting means downhill.”
Addison shared that during the crisis of 2008 he had information he could not share, but his employees trusted him and encouraged him by saying, “I am praying for you” and then hugged him. He said that leaders unify and do not divide. Again, my mind went to Jesus and the places where I see His spirit bringing peace and unity. Also how Satan consistently seeks to divide God’s children. While it may have been a secular speech on leadership, I found John Addison enlightening…and discovered some sound theology implicitly hidden in his message.
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