By Dr. Jason Carthen
Oh, you want to be a funny man huh? You think because you have a certain level of skill or expertise you are better than the others who are around you? These were the words the drill sergeant fired at Charles at the time of his indoctrination into the U.S. Armed Forces. Charles was a recent guest on my radio show and his vivid account of the grueling, breaking and remaking of who he was, into who he was meant to be as envisioned by the military was riveting.
Overconfidence can be a Loss of Life
Ultimately, he would end up face down in a water-filled ditch unable to hold himself up while trying to complete an unlimited amount of push-ups as penance for what was perceived as overconfidence. The lesson learned? In the military, overconfidence can mean the loss of life. The key application from that story that I want to share with you today is that we must continually develop the ability to exhaust the possibilities as it relates to our own growth and development.
Ability to Lead Others
In Charles’ situation, “he did not know” all that “he did not know!” In other words, he did not possess the ability to move beyond his current circumstances because of limiting beliefs and experiences. It was not until he was exposed to situational leadership by the drill sergeant that he was forced to stretch and by his own admission, he is better for it today.
Strive to Throw off Limitations
As leaders, we must continually strive to throw off limitations by moving past our current circumstances or risk irrelevance or stagnation in our ability to lead others. For example, it is suggested in a recent Harvard Business article, that leaders & managers who participate in training after training without application are reduced to proverbial deer in headlights when real world problem solving has to occur. In contrast, the principle argument of the article advocates leaders and managers must continually be in a state of improvement, both in the context of thinking and in their skill development.
Bottom line, as leaders, managers and followers, we must continually push toward our growth edges as it relates to personal, professional and relational development if we truly want to exhaust all the possibilities that lay before us. Sadly, the alternative is complacency and then irrelevance to those we lead and serve….
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