Four Virtues of Leadership as a Hero’s Journey
Here is a brief overview of each of the virtues.
Focus: Focus answers the question, “What am I creating?” We are always creating, either intentionally or unintentionally. As a leader you are to be intentional, purposeful about what you, your team, and your organization focus on. Your thoughts and beliefs and, by extension, the beliefs and thoughts of your team and organization, are reflected in your creation and behavior. This power of focus is what draws you and your organization toward results. It is this power to intend, to deliberately reach for specific outcomes, that pulls you away from the known and familiar and into the journey; the journey of discovery, creation, and results.
- Focus allows you to explore the relationship between self-awareness and achievement.
- When you focus, you apply the wisdom that a thought is a thing, you are what you think, and you become what you think about most.
Courage: This virtue answers the question, “What am I avoiding?” The journey is initiated by purposefully setting out to create something new and challenging. By intending, stretching out toward a goal, you form a gap between what you have and what you want. That gap is filled with potential as well as uncertainty; uncertainty invites anxiety and fear. As a leader you are bound to feel excitement in the presence of uncertainty. You recognize in uncertainty the potential for innovation and growth. You will also know fear.
- Courage is not the same as fearlessness.
- Courage allows you treat fear as a gatekeeper of power, and empowers you to retake your power from the clutches of fear.
Grit: Grit answers the question, “What am I sustaining?” Grit, more than any other factor, is the most reliable predictor of achievement. Very few leaders are overnight successes. Your dedication and perseverance are predictive of achievement, and focus takes passion and perseverance to sustain the practices and disciplines that turn potential into reality. Grit is the virtue that you apply in order to overcome the addiction to comfort; an addiction that will pull you and your team right back into old patterns.
- By applying grit you rise to the challenge and persevere even when your inspiration and motivation have waned.
Faith: This virtue tackles the final challenge of awakening the heroic spirit, “What am I yielding?” The label hero cannot be self-imposed. The hero title is bestowed upon those who have made great contribution at some personal cost. Paramount among the requirements of heroes is sacrifice. When you sacrifice, you give up something of value in order to gain something of greater value. You sacrifice in order to serve, or to avoid calamity or evil. Effective leaders sacrifice daily. They give up time with family, personal time, recognition, and freedom from responsibility and scrutiny. Yet, often overlooked, the most demanding leadership sacrifice is giving up comfort.
- Faith is an ability to surrender without feeling weak.
- Faith emboldens our heroic spirit of leadership.
Choose an area to apply, and stretch your presence and mind beyond your comfort zone, and into growth.