The Law of Sacrifice: A Leader Must Give Up to Go Up
It’s kind of interesting that I was just discussing sacrifice with a mentor yesterday. We must be willing to give up a little now in return for a better tomorrow. We must be willing to invest in ourselves, our communities, and our legacies. But sacrifice is hard!
It’s so amazing that the story of sacrificial leadership used as an example in the passage is none other than the good Bro. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I actually learned a lot about him in that he skipped 9th and 12th grade, was ordained as a minister at 19 and then got his PhD. This dude was legit! But the more his leadership and influence increased, the greater his sacrifice. He led the movement against segregation in Alabama and in the U.S., but was attacked more and more by way of bombings, assault, threats, and eventually gunshot. This man’s life was the epitome of sacrifice and I’m truly inspired to find something that I’m so passionate about that I would die for it. It’s also interesting that the subtitles are “Seeds of Greatness” and “Seeds of Sacrifice”. God works in mysterious ways doesn’t he?
- There is no success without sacrifice- Philosopher-poet Ralph Waldo Emerson observed, “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something.” Life is a series of trades, one thing for another.
- Leaders are often asked to give up more than others- Once you take on responsibility, you start to experience limitations in what you can do. The more responsibility you accept, the fewer options you have. Everyone who leads gives up other opportunities. Some people have to give up beloved hobbies. Many give up aspects of their personal lives. Some, like King, give their actual lives.
- You must keep give up to stay up- But in leadership, sacrifice is an ongoing process, not a one-time payment. Today’s success is the great threat to tomorrow’s success. And what gets a team to the top isn’t what keeps it there. The only way to stay up is to give up even more. Leadership success requires continual change, constant improvement, and ongoing sacrifice. “If I do the job well, I believe the salary will take care of itself.”
- The higher the level of leadership, the greater the sacrifice When the price is low, everybody bids. In the end, only one person is willing to pay the high price that the item actually costs. It’s the same in leadership: the higher you go, the more it’s going to cost you. That is a price not many people are willing to pay. p. 226
There can be no success without sacrifice. Anytime you see success, you can be sure someone made sacrifices to make it possible. And as a leader, if you sacrifice, even if you don’t witness the success, you can be sure that someone in the future will benefit from what you’ve given. p. 226
I think in her mind they were not sacrifices, but things to do that were necessary to keep with [Rice’s] goals. p. 228
We are then taken through the grueling years of sacrifice that Condolezza Rice made in her journey to the U.S. governement. She spent years and years developing her musical skills, while also honing her abilities in other areas such as figure skating. She made a life altering decision to pursue international politics in college, and then ended up making even more sacrifices to move up through the acdemic ranks, eventually becoming a provost of a university. After all those years, she transitioned into her government role as the U.S. Secretary of State. That’s very inspiring. Seek to be an expert in all things that you do and doors will open for you.
- I am willing to make sacrifices to improve my leadership,as I have shown. However, there’s always room for improvement. The main thing that I have to do is give up sleep and still maintain my attitude and energy levels. I can also do a better job of scheduling my time and sticking to it, because then I operate with a sense of urgency, like I am right now. It’s even making me type faster! I am willing to sacrifice my time, fun, surface relationships, and pride in order to go up. I am not willling to sacrifice my integrity, my spirituality, my family, or my close friends.
- I’m still trying to determine what I really have to offer the world of great value, even for the purpose of exchanging for something of greater value. I offer my drive, my passion for community, and my financial credentials. At some point, I may be required to give up my business aspirations to accept a leadership role. I’m still exploring this concept.
- To avoid destination disease or “I have arrivived” syndrome, I will continue making goals and visions that are much bigger than myself. I aspire to eliminate poverty through financial education and economic empowerment. Arriving at that point may take a VERY long time. However, in the short run, I have to be careful about “arriving” when it comes to business or relationships. My life fluctuates like the market, and everytime I believe I’ve made it, I’m quickly humbled. By focusing on my real and personal goals, I can push through those times when I get too comfortable. Motivating a team and inspiring others will continue to push me through times of contentment. I do set learning goals for myself, but the key is to start them and stick with them.