MY BIGGEST MISTAKES AS A LEADER
God has blessed with so many good things things in this life, one of which has been a position as a leader in several capacities. The past two years, I have had the privilege of being a leader in a more formal setting and overseeing groups of people. In these roles, I have learned many good and hard lessons; things that I wasn't planning to share on a public level. But last night, God prompted me again to a new level of vulnerability. So today, I wanted to share with you all my top 5 biggest mistakes I've made as a leader. My hope is that as you read these, you learn from me, like you would a big sister on what not to do, and ultimately that the Lord would speak to you as you lead those around you.
5. LIVING IN CONSTANT FEAR OF MAN
As a leader, there was a season where I constantly was living in fear. I was afraid of what people thought of me, I was afraid that people wouldn't like me, I was afraid that if people knew who I really was, I would be cast out of community and leadership. Most of all I was afraid to be myself, because honestly I didn't know who I was. Leading other people from this state of constant fear and insecurity not only affected me, but it crippled those around me. My focus on fear was really a focus on myself, not the development of individuals around me. I wasn't leading people into who God called them to be, because I was so afraid of what they thought of me. As a result, my leadership and efforts were not driven by fear of God, but by fear of man. This fear of man and constant struggle to please, inevitably led to my next biggest mistake.
4. COMPARING MYSELF TO OTHERS
When you reach a certain level of influence and leadership, you find yourself constantly rubbing shoulders with other leaders. Even if you don't see them regularly, social media will remind you of those around you and what God is doing in their lives. As much I would like to lie and say this wasn't true; I would see these other women and instantly feel jealous. I spent so much time as a leader comparing myself to other women leaders in my industry. Am I prettier, am I smarter, do I have more influence, how can I do what they did, but better? I would get so lost in a world of comparison that I again, lost sight of the precious people God gave me to lead. Instead, I was focused on how they made me look instead of showing them how God sees them. This comparison led to my next biggest mistake.
3. PUTTING MY PRIDE ABOVE GOD'S GLORY
In my life I have not only had leadership, but influence within some of the roles I've been in. The hardest thing about being a leader for me, is having the influence that goes along with it. God gives us a choice to use that influence to glorify Him or to not. According to scripture, promotion doesn't come from the north, south, east, or west, but it comes from the Lord. My biggest mistake was not recognizing that the leadership and influence I was in, was given to me from the Lord. Instead I always felt I earned it. I didn't give credit where credit was due and it was evident through the way I lived my life. I constantly was thinking about how I could be noticed through the role I played as a leader, and how people would see me for all the work I did and praise me for it. The problem was obvious, my glory and fame was more important to me than the Glory of the Lord. Having a prideful attitude of self focus began to change me as a person. This led to my next biggest mistake.
2. TRYING TO BE SOMEONE I'M NOT
With this fear of man, constant comparing, and desire to praise my name, I began to realize that I did not recognize the person in the mirror anymore. She became a girl who now talked differently, dressed differently, lived completely differently, all to become someone that she didn't even know, AND all the while leading others to follow her! Talk about a recipe for trouble. By walking in those past mistakes, I realized that all along I was trying to be someone I was not. It was virtually impossible for me to lead and influence those around me to become who God made them to be because I could not walk in confidently who God said I was. All of these things stemmed from my ultimate mistake that once was identified, opened the door for freedom in every other area.
1. HAVING A LIMITED VIEW OF GOD & WHO HE SAYS I AM
The number one mistake I made as a leader was limiting God by not believing that I am who He says as I am. If I knew my identity as a child of God, I wouldn't have began to make mistake after mistake. I would have no fear of man, because I would know that everything I do would be in obedience to the leading of the Lord and not what man says. I would have no reason to compare myself to other women and compete because I would know that our God is big, and that there is enough room for everyone to flourish. I would not put my own glory above His because I would need to rely on Him to meet every need, instead of white knuckling things on my own. When people would see my success then, there would be no way I could do anything but glorify Him for it. And ultimately, I would realize that the way God designed me is exactly how I am meant to be, every characteristic and every detail, for such a time as this.
Ultimately, it always ALWAYS goes back to our identity. If we truly understand that, it changes everything. I share these mistakes to tell you that even now I am not a perfect leader. Perfection is impossible; but I now can and now do lead from my identity and confidence in Christ alone. From this place, I am able to take the focus off me completely & truly lead people to the only God worthy of all praise & glory.