Sunday, September 07, 2014

Some Advice on Leadership

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I have a lovely online friend on Facebook that tagged me to give her some advice on her efforts to start a school in her area. I was flattered and surprised, but wanted to help, and so I sat down and wrote out seven of the lessons I've learned in my efforts to lead in my community.

As I read through them, I realized that I have never taken the time before now to sit down and think through the things I have learned over the past eight years. And so, I decided to record them here, as a way of reminding myself of the lessons that God has given me. 

And if they can possibly help someone else along the way, that is wonderful! 

Well, here's my advice, for what it's worth!

1) PRAY. I could never have had the strength and inspiration to wade through all the kinds of challenges and difficulties that DO happen, without it. Keep a constant connection between yourself and God. He has a much better view of things!

2) SIMPLIFY. If you are an idea person like me, you may have all kinds of grandiose, complicated plans that you're musing about, but I would advise you to scale things down to what you can realistically handle. There will be time to add more things as time goes on, and you have a better idea on what will be required. K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, sweetheart!)

3) FIND YOUR "WHY" AND STAY FOCUSED ON IT ALWAYS. If you haven't already read it, take the time to read the book "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek. Our "Why" is the most important ingredient to successful leadership. Make it the center of everything you do!

4) DO NOT TRY TO PLEASE EVERYONE! It is an impossible thing to try to do, and it can never, never, NEVER happen! So do what you can to help others, but don't own their problems, and be prepared to be criticized. Sometimes, the criticism is warranted, and you need to listen.

However, there are often people who do not wish to have the responsibility of leadership that still want to steer the boat with their strong opinions. These people will usually criticize you no matter what you do! So, don't change your direction, unless a trusted, wise friend or mentor gives you advice to do so. (And if they do, LISTEN and follow it!) Just don't change things constantly in order to please others. Follow that inner voice-- your gut, the Spirit, whatever you want to call it-- and trust that you are going in the right direction. If someone doesn't like how you are doing things, allow them to go and start their own!

5) USE THE INTERNET. Have a website, use social media, and stay in close email contact with your community. If you have a teenager in your family or among your friends that can take on the social media presence for you, do it! You probably won't have time to maintain all of these yourself, so find some good help, but always have an Internet presence that accurately represents who you are and what your vision is. That way, like-minded people can always find you.


There will be times when people will tell you how awesome you are, and you might begin to buy into it. DON'T! Just bring them back down to earth, and remind them that you are just a mama with a dream, and are doing your best to see it through. It's sad, but true, that there are some people that might even try to put you on a pedestal so that they can knock you down.

Just don't ever get up on that pedestal-- it's lonely and cold there! (And it's a LONG way back down to earth!) Stay down on the ground with everyone else, and keep your principles and ideals and your "why" up on the pedestal.

I had an amazing mentor once remind me, "Peoples are peoples, Rachel," and it's true. We are all children of God, just trying to do our best.

7) KEEP YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT. Your husband and your children and your God are the most important things in your life, so be sure to never let your dreams and goals harm those precious relationships. Be 100% willing to step away from-- or completely drop-- whatever it is you're doing if it EVER harms your family or your principles and beliefs.


Love, Mama Rachel

1 comment:

  1. Great advice Rachel! It's true that you can't please everyone. I was really feeling that today after a loooong day of being Primary President.
    Any advice for someone who doesn't WANT to be in leadership but is anyway? ) : Advice for reluctant leaders? Ha ha!


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