“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to teach a Leadership class at Foundation Christian Academy in Valrico, Florida. In addition to discussing leadership principles and completing service projects and classroom exercises, we invited various guest speakers to visit and offer words of advice to our students.
One such visitor was Rex Dutton, long-time preacher for the Bell Shoals Church of Christ in Brandon, Florida. Rex spoke to us about life, leadership and careers. He challenged us not to settle for mediocrity, but to strive to make a difference in the world. The students listened intently, and I furiously scribbled notes from the back of the room. I later transferred those notes to the back page of my Bible.
While recently working on a writing project, I came across those notes. They are as relevant today as they were several years ago. As we prepare to embark on a New Year and the fresh start that it brings, perhaps we can find a word or two of wisdom to encourage and challenge us to make 2018 our best year yet.
- Do something you’d do for free—believe in it.
- Keep up with your successes—there will be offsets.
- What you end up doing may be different than what you planned to do.
- Don’t be dull and boring at what you do.
- Have a compelling story—how God called you and is using you.
- As a leader, don’t be timid. Be a lion, not afraid and confused. (2 Timothy 1:7)
- Prepare yourself—know the subject. “No one in this room knows more about the subject than me.”
- Expect criticism and handle it.
- Speak boldly, raise your voice. Even when you don’t always feel brave, at least sound brave. (2 Timothy 2:1, 4:1-2)
- If you are creative and work hard, you can make good money.
- Focus…really focus. What is the most important thing I do? What is the cause within me? What am I really doing this for?
- Live humbly, but pursue excellence. If your name is on the project or presentation, people should expect it to be good.
- Find someone, early on, to rip you apart—seek honest criticism.
- Don’t just be in the herd. Anybody can read a book, but can you write one?
- Be original—you’re only a leader if someone else wants your name on their shirt. (2 Timothy 3:10)
- Don’t be superficial—it won’t work in front of a real lion.
- Do an inventory of your attitudes. (Matthew 5) How do I measure up?
- Do an inventory of your virtues. (2 Peter 1:5-9) How can I improve?
- Do an inventory of your fruit. (Galatians 5:22-25) How can I become more like Christ?
- Refresh, encourage, and inspire people. (2 Timothy 1:16)
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