Archive | May, 2013

CHARACTERISTICS OF LIVING LEADERS (Part 5): GROWTH

25 May

When you hear the word ‘growth,’ what thoughts cross your mind? Can you picture a natural change in some physical, perhaps bodily, features in plants and animals. Or on the other hand, you think about improvement in economies: the nation’s GDP and other factors.

If you’ve thought about any of these points I had just mentioned, you have a good insight on what growth is. And here is the good news: you are about to learn something new about what you’ve always known.

Nothing excites me than growth. I’m so passionate about improving myself in all areas — spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, mentally, my writing and speaking skills. I don’t know about you, but I dislike being the way I was last week, or even being the way I am today next week. I love and enjoy change.

Few years ago when I become passionate about personal development, I thought everyone in my community was well aware of this inevitable process in the human life. Unfortunately, what I found left me wondering how much people are unprepared for the future, with the realities and opportunities tied around it. However, it’s never too late to start growing today.

1. Know Yourself to Grow Yourself

The first question everyone who desires to improve on some areas of life — be it physically, emotionally, academically, mentally, spiritually — is that of purpose. It’s so sad that many people are yet to discover why they exist. God has created everyone with a unique role to play on this planet.

No man on earth can tell you who you are. It is predestined by God, and only Him knows. You definitely need a connection with your Manufacturer to know why He’s made you. If you find it, you’re on your way to success.

2. Make Growth a Project

You can’t improve what you’ve not found. When you discover your purpose, make it your vision. Then put up a plan to pursue reaching the goal(s) you’ve set for yourself. Remember to set great goals, even if they look bigger than your physical self. Don’t judge who you want to become by what you are at present.

Think of growth as a process. It’s a lifetime journey. When you are done putting things in order and willing to start growing, get on track immediately and work yourself into it. If you stay committed to your specific, achievable and realistic goals, you will find that it becomes a project you need to work on everyday.

3. Feed Your Dream

The greatest dream killer is a negative environment. It has nothing to offer your dreams. If you’re not careful, people with low minds will be successful in talking you out of what you desire to achieve. They will give you a thousand and one reasons why you can’t achieve it. If your surrounding conditions doesn’t favour growth, apply Christ’s formula: withdraw from the crowd and find a place that can allow you go about your business. (Luke 2:42 – 52)

If you can’t change your location (school, office, home, church), feed your mind with great books that will help you grow. Meet some positive people, even if it means going to the next city to look for them, and get some encouraging piece of advice. Your environment impacts your dream and influences who you can become. You have to remember this: they really need to see the your dream become a reality. The next step will help you achieve this.

4. Start Now!

One reason most people don’t grow is because they wait for the best time to start. But really, growth doesn’t come to those who wait. I’ve found that it is attracted by only people who become intentional about improving. To make any remarkable achievement in any area of life, act out your decisions.

If you really desire to grow, you will have to start where you are with what you have. You may start with being unsatisfied with your present state — without hating it. Find your strength zone, get outside your comfort zone and start the journey towards excellence. But understand, you’ll be traveling an endless road.

5. Do it Everyday.

Making decisions isn’t hard. Managing them is a bit more difficult. But growth is gained on a difficult ground. You need to pay your dues. The key to improvement is repetition.

During service last week, a boy played the violin almost perfectly. I was intrigued. I wanted to know if my friend, who sat next to me, appreciates the 12-year-old too. “I know him,” he replied. “He plays different instruments and he finds all fun. He is really good at it.”

The true goal of growth isn’t to become the best; it’s about getting better every day. Be committed to growth. Make it fun. At the end of each day, ask yourself: What have I learned today? Am I better than I was this morning? What can I learn tomorrow when I go out?

Seize every opportunity to develop yourself into who you really want to become. Follow your dream. Make improving a daily project. Learn, grow, live, and lead.

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I’ll be glad to hear from you: What other tip would you like to add? Please share.

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CHARACTERISTICS OF LIVING LEADERS (Part 4): IRRITABILITY

16 May

The height great men attained is indeed not by sudden flight; they had toiled and resolved to making the best out of the chances life had dealt them with.

On 6th June, 1941 there was born a dreamer in a small, humble town in Southwestern Nigeria, Osun state, in a major town called Erin Ijesa. He grew as a determined and brilliant young boy in that same state.

On completing his primary school education, he was admitted into Mayflower School at Ikenne, near Ibadan, where he obtained his O’level certificate in 1961. He was quite ingenious.

William Kumuyi was retained to teach mathematics at Mayflower shortly after his graduation. He resumed classrooms in 1962. He loves to teach. If 100% don’t have excellent grades in his class, 98% or 95% would surely do. It was a rewarding and remarkable opportunity to him. “I relished it,” he commented.

In 1962, his father, Gabriel Kumuyi Akinfenwa passed away – the year he completed his first degree in Mathematics from the University of Ibadan. He graduated with a first class honours. The incidence couldn’t kill his dream. He moved on with life.

If you’ve heard of Deeper Christian Life Ministry, you are sure to know they are very disciplined and unique set of Christians. A small Bible Study Group which he started in his flat with 15 people as pioneer members, when he was a lecturer of Mathematics at the University of Lagos in 1973 is what has grown into what is regarded as the largest single congregation in Africa – with over 120,000 people in attendance for a single service. He has churches established in every continent of the world.

I have been studying successful people and related with some of them. Something I’ve found common in them is their resolve and determination to hold on to their core principles or values, in any condition. If you desire to be a great leader, you will have to put these 5 principles into perspective and live them:

1. Dare to Dream

In his book, Join This Wagon (a youth counsel series), Pastor Kumuyi wrote: “Dreamers own the world, shape the world and rule the world.” Dream gives direction. People will follow the man or woman that knows the way.

2. Define the ‘Why’ for Living

If you don’t have some guidelines to lead your life, it will seem an undefined journey. Your sincere and clearly defined principles will serve as a road map to where you are going. For Kumuyi, he lives on Biblical Principles – the best you can ever live on! He is a holiness preacher.

3. Your Principles will be Tested

Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi’s leadership experienced a defining moment 3 years after he started the church. This time he had intentionally opted out of the lecturing profession for full time ministry. In 1978, he held a crusade in Kumasi, Ghana – where 750 people decided for Christ, and volunteered to be under his leadership. In no doubt, he returned to Lagos excited.

A month after, after he’d told them of his doctrine on holiness and his core principles that are built on Scripture, he returned to Kumasi for follow-up. He expected growth, but he was faced with reality: he met only 30 people of a 750 congregation, with only 2 pastors left. His leadership was clearly tested. Did he give up on his principles? No, he didn’t. Was he discouraged? Sure enough he was, but I know he didn’t give up either. I’d say he had only the committed people left under him.

Don’t feel sorry for yourself over what’s gone. Instead, use what’s you are left with. It’s all you need to become all you want to be. Today, the church’s branch in Ghana is the 2nd largest of its kind after the headquarters in Lagos. His courage paid off.

4. Learn to Master Change

It is true that we don’t control what happens ‘to’ us. But it is also true that we can control what happens ‘with’ us. It’s said that the only constant in life is change. To be an effective leader or to achieve any real success, you have to be realistic enough to know what is changing around you and it’s effect on where you’re going. Analyse the conditions and think of the effects in the long run. Ask yourself if it will favour you or not. If it will, draw up a plan to make most of it. If it won’t, figure out how you can make a difference. Some will involve taking risk. Be sure to take necessary chances. If you master change, you’ll make the best of it; but if change masters you, it will make the best out of you likewise. Will you master change or will change master you?

5. Have a Positive Attitude

Most people have lost their fire. Life has pushed them down time after time. Successful people really don’t live a trouble-free life, they only know how to go through dark moments with their gaze fixed on the goal. My friend Eyitayo Olawuyi asserted, “Life wasn’t created to live us; we were created to live life.”

Anytime you suffer a setback, take a break, learn the lessons, put your mind together, do it again differently, and you will find yourself in a good position for a greater comeback!
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CHARACTERISTICS OF LIVING LEADERS (Part 3): NUTRITION

3 May

To live we need to feed. That is a fact. We must satisfy our hunger and thirst to do couple of things and, at least, get energy to go about our usual day-to-day activities. There’s nothing wrong with that.

A bird-lover bought a beautiful parrot in a cage. After some weeks he returned to the birds’ shop attendant to tell him the bird hadn’t made a sound. The attendant suggested that he should “buy the parrot a swing.” “Parrots love swings,” he said. The parrot owner did exactly that. He bought a small swing and placed it in the parrot’s cage on getting home.

Still the parrot didn’t speak. And you know what his next action was… rushed to the store, bought the parrot a mirror; but nothing had happened the next week too. That went on week after week – as he bought the parrot one item after the other… yet nothing happened!

One cold morning the man was at the birds’ store as usual, but this time, earlier than any other day. The attendant asked, “Any improvement yet?”
“The parrot is dead,” he replied.
“Did it utter a word before its death?”
“No, it didn’t…” replied the man. “Except for asking: ‘is there any place down the street where one can get food?'”

Most of us, like the bird-lover, are more engulfed in the concern for our physical gratification, but sadly ignore “food for our soul”. Too often, our dreams and visions are starved to death. If you desire to be a well-fed living leader, you’ll need to . . .

1. Abide In and With “The Vine”
The Master talked about the vine tree. He said, “I am the vine, and you are the branches.” The vine tree is so special a plant that the whole nutrients the branches get is supplied solely by the vine trunk itself. The branches cannot tap minerals and salt water directly from the soil – like every other plant. Staying attached with the Vine Himself means being a true disciple, obedient to all the Master’s commands. That’s the key to productivity. The Master won’t see being unproductive as fun and is ready to discard any branch that produces no fruit. The key to abiding with the Vine is to remain productive.

2. Feed on God’s Word
About 7 years ago Dr. Myles Munroe came over with his wife, Ruth Munroe, to speak at a leadership congress here in Nigeria. When Mrs. Munroe was up on her feet to introduce herself to the audience, she said, “It’s the truth of God’s Word we know that will make us the leaders God wants us to be.”

Feeding on God’s Word energizes you to go about the daily spiritual activities (like the physical food does for physical activities). To lead God’s people, you have to be empowered by the Holy Spirit that will “bring to your rememberance all things.” Be sure to study the Scriptures, taking a close look at it, “line upon line, precept upon precept.” Study the Bible on purpose. It is able to make you wise.

3. Feed Others
Some people have no difficulty with being committed to following Christ and feeding on His Words, getting themselves energized. But they barely share those Words with other people. They rarely pour their life into others as Christ did unto them.

Christ doesn’t want you to remain a getter all the time. He will be glad if you become a giver instead. In fact, that’s the perfect reason He’s poured life into you: to pour into others too.

In Christ is abundance. He gives you more than you can exhaust. The more you feed on His Word, the more knowledgeable you’ll become – both of things pertaining to life and those of the spirit. If you feed balanced diet, you’ll ‘grow’ taller, stronger and bigger (not prideful, but more humble) in Him.

What defines the leader is to provide food for his flocks: the followers. Be glad to teach to the people you’re influencing what you have learnt. Tell them to go for the meal too. Give them the nutritional benefits of the food (The Scripture), believing it’s no junk! Get their own side of the story. Why? “What works for you may not work for somebody else.” That’s right, but spiritual principles don’t obey that theory! The purpose of asking them for their part of the story is to help them with areas that are shady to them. Ensure you give them simple and sincere clarification in all areas of doubt. Be willing to go out of your way to help others with what they find difficult to understand. Don’t shun any questions, attempt supplying the best answers you can come up with; they’ll stretch you, but will equally help you grow and increase your reasoning capacity. Make everyone you encounter better than they’d met you.

Remain attached, keep feeding, don’t stop growing others, and you can’t cease to live.

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