I wrote this for my children (18 months to 18 years old) as they navigate the trail of life. While we traverse the trail together, we chat about life and apply "the dozen" during teachable moments. As they grow older, the more ingrained it becomes.
As many of us live and learn, hindsight will often become ingenious. How applicable this may be to the leader in all of us... I pray it blesses you.
For my incredible kids as you navigate...
Christian, Kaya, Sunny, Bella and Autumn: If you press into Christ and His guidebook and remain "others focused," you will live a fruitful life. Below is a simple formula - one I so wish I had learned long ago. Be excellent in... "A Daddy's Dozen."
1. Always lead yourself first, then others, with humility and righteousness. (1 Tim 6:11; John 3:30)
All leadership begins here.
2. Celebrate and have gratitude in ALL good things.
From the smallest to the largest, be exceedingly grateful and thankful – create memorial stones in your lives that you can use to share, encourage and celebrate with others.
3. Smartly "select" your calling – then stick to it...
Identify something you enjoy (we're typically very good at things that bring us joy), then stick to it and become an expert... from the ground up. Then and only then, strike out on your own should the opportunity arise. (Resist any temptation to wander unless you hear God's unequivocal prompting and have confirmation of the same.)
4. Be practitioners of excellence in everything you take on (Col 3:23)
Give everything you have to give to the task at hand.
5. Be of value... always (especially to others – Philippians 2:3-4)
Be of service. Never begin your discovery with "what's in it for me?" Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"
6. In all things, keep Christ at the center... He loves us first. He loves us unconditionally.
Be salt and light - love Him and love others in your behaviors (regardless of circumstances). Always.
7. If you do the right thing, don't be surprised or caught off guard if some don't like it.
Let excellence and righteousness be your conscience. Feelings and emotions rarely provide a trustworthy guide.
8. Never forget the value of the written note to the hearts of others...
Always write a note of thanks or encouragement when the opportunity is there. (See #5.)
9. Be curious, ask questions, think critically and commit to a lifetime of learning...
Read, read, read and read.
10. Find a mentor/be a mentor in every season...
Surround yourself by wise counsel (Prov. 15:22). "As iron sharpens iron, so one will sharpen another." (Prov. 27:17)
11. Be strong and courageous...
Face obstacles with a courage that defies the circumstances you face - because you are NOT your circumstances... in Christ, you already know who you are before circumstances came along.
12. You alone control your attitude and effort...
Whether things are going your way, according to plan, or not so much... always have the best attitude in the room and give the greatest effort - no matter what.
13. (The "baker's dozen") Get outdoors (and away from devices).
The outdoors are one of God's greatest statements of His glory in creation – it will sustain you in quiet times and muster greater closeness to Him - Jesus modeled this perfectly. And assuredly, your mind will refocus, your blood will pump and your hearts will be full!
Regularly remind one another of these things! I love each of you more than you can describe or imagine.
Jack Kemp leads the Atlanta, Georgia office and is former military, an attorney, business leader, non-profit executive, organizational coach, connector and collaborator. He presently serves as Managing Principal for PrimAscend, LLC, and previously as Divisional President of a large US non-profit. He has also served on church leadership, for-profit and non-profit advisory boards and committees. Jack’s degrees include a B.S. and J.D., and he brings experience in organizational assessment, strategic planning, leadership coaching, risk mitigation and crisis management.