It’s the week leading up to Valentine’s Day. It’s a big week for investing in expressions of love. According to a survey conducted by the Advertising and Marketing Association, the average annual Valentine’s Day spending tops $13 billion. That’s a lot of chocolate! In fact, the top five gifts include: candy, flowers, cards, jewelry and dinner out. After 180 million cards are received, the message of love is widespread.
What about the remaining 320 days this year? What kind of message does your life send? Move beyond the romantic theme of Valentine’s Day and consider the people within your sphere of influence. What kind of passion do they see in your leadership? Todd Henry is a proponent of the importance of daily practices that enhance our work. Our work encompasses a wide scope of activity. It includes our investments in vocation, relationships and parenting. And it is born out of love, not just for people, but also for the process. In Henry’s book entitled “Die Empty”, he advocates for the importance of contributing to the people and world around you. Such a contribution relies on daily investments. The fuel for such investments is a love of the process. According to Henry, “Cultivating a love of the process is the key to making a lasting contribution.”
What is the process? It requires you to answer the call to align your heart and mind and become the best person you can be. It’s an old adage, but it remains true. Leadership development is a process. Leadership is a daily process. Growing, giving, learning and living: These are the heart and soul of real leadership development. Every day is an important part of a bigger picture. Every day releases special gifts and rewards. Learn to love the process and recognize the rewards.
Realistically, it’s not always easy to love the process. Leadership requires great courage and resolve. If you are serious about giving and learning, you have already discovered that transformation comes with a serious price tag. When you need help to restore your love for the process, here are three reminders:
The process is personal. Leadership is relational. There are always people involved in your development. We never truly travel alone. It may be difficult to see the impact in the short term, but your diligence will reach into the lives of those around you. Learning is a team sport. When you cultivate a healthy team, you will contribute to and draw from those team members on your journey.
Celebrate incremental wins along the way. This is an easy way to infuse joy into a long journey. If you wait until the end of the journey, you will lose motivation and miss the beauty along the way.
Transform setbacks into learning experiences. You have the power to redefine failure and distill value from every experience. Remember, your experiences serve to shape your character.