Good leaders, the best leaders, are constantly looking for an edge. They are learning whatever they can, in order to gain new insights, hear fresh perspectives, and see new opportunities. There’s a quote, often attributed to the Roman writer Seneca the Younger, that reads, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
– John Maxwell
Leadership is defined as the action of leading a group of people or an organization. In order to be a leader one must followers. A leader also needs to have character. Character is defined as the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves : someone’s personality. Character is what sets good leaders apart from normal leaders. What I mean by this is that a good leader will always be trustworthy, their word is there bond, never lie even when it may end a relationship, etc. Good leaders will learn from past mistakes and experiences and will always work to keep improving themselves and learning new things constantly.
Let’s face it: when everything goes well it is easy to adopt the right attitudes and do the right things. But character is developed when we go through difficult times of suffering and testing. In fact, nothing reveals character more than difficult times. When pressures are applied to your life you will know exactly who you really are. Like a lemon, juice is only delivered when it is squeezed, you will expose your true nature when you are being tested through hard times.
Tough times reveal not only who you really are but will also provide opportunities to grow in character. Paul, writing to the believers in Rome, says: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.“(Romans 5.3-4 ESV). Knowing that God can change the difficult things in life in ways that will shape your character, Enjoy yourself in times of trouble. Too often we cry to God to relieve us of the harsh circumstances rather than asking Him to help us discern what he wants to teach us with such tests. All who pass tough times with God will see how his character is perfected.
A solid character is not the result of a moment but of a lifetime. Character is not received by the laying of hands or by attending a one-day seminar. There are no shortcuts to building good character. It takes time. When God wanted to train Moses, he took him into the desert and kept him there for forty years. Joseph worked for thirteen years as a slave before he was ready to lead a nation. David spent years as a fugitive on the run from King Saul before God considered him ready to assume the high office of King. Jesus spent three years shaping the lives of his disciples. Paul waited three years in the wilderness before God used him to lead the church.
Time and how you spend it is the key element to character building and the foundation of a great leader. How are you spending your time? What new things are you trying to learn? From whom are you trying to learn? For what purpose are you trying to learn?