Want Impact? Focus on these Two Elements of Life
Maybe you have heard the phrase, “if everything matters, then nothing matters.” The reality is, every area of our life does not have the same impact on outcomes. This is true for leaders as well.
When we look at the life of a leader, we tend to gauge success by external things. We look at the size of their company, how much income they have, what type of home they live in and other such elements of life that become the Mendoza line for what may be considered a great leader.
But we’ve also seen a number of leaders who appeared to have great “success,” — all the external things in place — but based on a poor decision now face a life that is crumbling around them.
Recently, I have come up with a term to consider how far a leader will go. I call it ” The Slingshot Effect”. The premise is that which is closest to you will determine how far your life and leadership will go. Let’s explore this.
1. Inner Life
What is going on the inside of you will eventually make its way to the outside of you. If you are falling apart on the inside, the outside of your life will eventually do the same.
Our inner life is about connecting to things that are near to us and the parts of our life that are bigger and beyond us. This includes our faith, our motivators, and attitudes.
You have to take time out of your life to invest in your inner life. For me, investing time in prayer, meditating, reading the bible, and reflection is a game changer.
Taking the time in your schedule to do these will also help deter you from making poor decisions based on a bad condition of your soul and spirit. While it may seem to cost you valuable time, it’s really an investment that will pay off long term. Whatever you invest in this season, you will be able to pull from the next. The best investment you can make is investing in your inner life.
2. Inner Circle
In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point, he shares a study conducted by Dr. Robin Dunbar. In the study, Dr. Dunbar created an equation to figure out the number of relationships primates can have, including humans. According to Dunbar, you can have 150 casual friends, 50 close friends, 15 friends you can confide in, and a support group of five.
The one that will have the biggest impact on your life is the closest five. Jim Rohn is known for saying you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. This means that those you are spending the most time with today, are shaping who you are becoming tomorrow.
If you don’t like who you are becoming, you may want to take a look at your short list for your inner circle. I want to challenge you to make sure that your inner circle is made up of people of these three shared attributes.
- Mutual values
Except for family, those in your inner circle should have values that align with yours. Our value system is the foundation of all that we say and do.
You can be friends with anyone you choose, but those closest to you should share values. It’s even more important than having similar interests. Having similar interests may make the relationship more interesting, but having the same values will make it more enduring.
- Mutual Direction
If you are leading others, you need to make sure that your closest friends are people who are going in a similar direction as you. If you want to be a person of strong faith, lead a family well, and/or have a good work ethic, you don’t want to be spending the most time with those whose lives are going the opposite direction as yours.
You want people who will encourage and challenge you to reach your God-given potential in the areas that you deem to be most important.
- Mutual Trust
Relationships are built on trust. If you can’t trust people in the present you can’t trust them with your future.
Apart from similar values, the most important characteristic I was looking for in a wife was that she was trustworthy. The same is true for friendships.
Someone being trustworthy is simply a fruit of a person who lives a life of integrity.
I challenge you to take some time and reflect on your inner life and circle. Here are some questions for reflection.
- Do I like what is going on in my inner life? Do I like who I am becoming?
- Do I have mutual values, direction, and trust with my inner circle?
If you want to go far in leadership, you have to monitor what you allow closest to you. That which is closest to you will determine how far your life and leadership goes.
What is one area you could improve in in your inner life or circle?