Let L.O.V.E. Lead the Way! If you can remember that L.O.V.E. is an acronym for excellence then you are on your way!
L — Lead Yourself First
O — Own Up
V — Visualize
E — Enjoy the Ride
Lead Yourself First. Gandhi said it perfectly, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Making a difference means making a change. Before you can lead change, you must first be ready to be the model of that change yourself. You cannot change anyone except yourself. So to lead, you must set the example and be the example before anyone else will follow.
Own Up. There are two parts to owning up – owning up to responsibility, and giving up ownership so others can get involved in making a difference with you. “Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.” These are the famous words of Uncle Ben, the uncle of comic book superhero Spider-Man. Loving and leading requires great responsibility. You are responsible for what you know and what you do. Yes, you will fall short. Yes, you will fail from time to time. But as basketball legend Michael Jordan once said, “I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Leaders are not afraid of failure. If you make a mistake, own up. As my good friend Byron Garret says, “Excuses only satisfy those who make them.” If you fall short, own up, get up, and try again!
The second part of “own up” is “giving up ownership.” Delegation is probably one of the biggest challenges for leaders. Many are so in love with what they do; they actually seem to enjoy the rush of doing it all. Others simply cannot let go or just feel bad asking for help.
One of the great joys of making a difference is inspiring others to join you and seeing them blossom into champions. The simplest and quickest way to divide the work and multiply the results is to ASK others to join you. Do not pre-qualify those you ask to help you. Never think “he is too busy,” or “she doesn’t like to do this kind of thing.” You cannot possibly know all of your teammates’ intentions, goals, or dreams. Do not second-guess motivations or reasons of others for joining in your effort. Their motives may be pure or otherwise – I maintain that you should not care why they came to help, you should care how they leave and if great work was done! Love and leadership take people. Until someone confirms they cannot help or are not qualified to do so, it is your job to give up ownership and ask them to get involved!
Visualize. What does success look like if you could see it? Leaders imagine the desired end before they begin and they get ready for the unexpected. Loving Who you love or doing what you love to do should fulfill a vision and also bring some unexpected surprises.
As futurist Joel Arthur Barker once said, “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” It is vision that keeps you going when the work gets tough. It is vision that gets others pumped up to join in your quest. Life, unlike the movies, does not often provide the opportunity for dress rehearsals to get it right. You can use the power of vision to see the end, plan the action, and take steps daily to see the vision come to life.
Enjoy the Ride. Love and leadership should be fun! Making a difference should be an enjoyable endeavor. Are you having fun? Do you take pride and joy in the quest? Since love and leadership need people, attracting great people is easy if there is plenty of fun and fulfillment for everyone.
Enjoying the ride does not mean the whole experience was peachy and a nonstop blast. Think of Disneyland on a busy summer day. Do people honestly spend tons of money for the joy of spending hours in lines or do they do it for the thrill of 90 seconds of heart-pounding exhilaration? Enjoying the ride means in the end the trip was worthwhile. That even with the ups and downs you would gladly make the voyage again.
THE POWER OF LOVE!
We started with two important questions about love and leadership: Where do you find it, and how do you know if it is real? We explored what to do once you finally discover it.
In the end, what you love tells your story. It tells how you will live your life and lead others. It defines who you are. As you think about love and leadership, remember these thoughts:
- How do you know if it is love? When there is true love, the question is replaced by the answer. When there is true love, it loves you back. When it is true love your life will leave a legacy long after you are gone.
- The way you love defines you. You can only lead others to change once you lead yourself first. Love and leadership takes responsibility. You can only make great change through owning up to your responsibility and giving up ownership to get others involved. It takes people to make a dramatic difference. To get people involved you must ask them! You must create the vision and identify the actions to make results happen. In the end, if you enjoyed the ride and would do it all over again, then you are a leader who has found and lived a life with great love!
If you follow these thoughts, then you, my friend, have discovered the true power of love and leadership! Lead well! Love big!