Momentum Is a Leader’s Best Friend
As we reach the end of yet another year, the time has come for many, including myself, to pause and reflect on the past year. For some, this end-of-year appraisal will be a time of rejoicing over many successes and victories, triumphs and glories, joys and celebrations. If that is you, well done and congratulations are in order! I am truly happy for you and applaud your hard work and success.
For others however, this end-of-year appraisal might be a time of deep introspection over what went wrong, what didn’t work, or why your life or business didn’t go forward as planned. It might also be a time where you may or may not border on self-pity or self-loathing as a result of your perceived ‘bad year’. In short, it might be a time where you try to gather yourself to toss back this last year and kick-off the new year with what you lacked most in this past year: Momentum.
So, this post if for those among you who, this past year:
- Worked your butts off
- Sweat it out day in and day out
- Reached out to more people than you care to remember in order to build your network
- Invested time, money, and resources in your endeavors
- Sent more e-mails, made more phone calls, and offered more ‘freebies’ to potential clients
- Gave it their all and never looked back…
Only to find that at the end of the year…
You were exhausted, frustrated, and came to the conclusion that in spite of it all… you still hadn’t attained your goals or gathered no momentum whatsoever. This, indeed, can be extremely discouraging.
Momentum, according to John C. Maxwell, is a leader’s best friend. To that I might add that it is also the athlete’s, the entrepreneur’s, and for that matter, the human being’s best friend also.
Maxwell puts it this way:
“Many times momentum is the only difference between winning and losing. With it, everyone is expectant and energized, and people tend to perform at their peak potential. Without it, people lose heart and have difficulty finding motivation.”
– John C. Maxwell
So, if you have lost heart and are having difficulty finding motivation after a bad year, this post is for you.
Recently, I had the pleasure of listening to a teaching by John C. Maxwell on how to regain lost momentum. This speech of his was different because it was addressed to a Church gathering. Also, it focused on how to regain momentum after a tragedy all but destroys a congregation of believers through scandal. He based his teaching on the experience and conversation he had with a pastor who took over a Church that had once been all over the news because of a case of pedophilia within its walls.
It was a very delicate and difficult subject to teach on. The wisdom through it all came from the pastor himself who successfully brought this church back to respectability and confidence after years of hurting, trials, and challenges.
The pastor candidly gave John ten steps to rebuild (or simply gain) lost momentum along with the permission to share with others. Although these were shared in a religious/vocational context, I believe these points apply just as well to life or business.
I will now share with you those 10 Steps that can enable you to gather the much sought-after best friend of a leader… MOMENTUM:
1- Address the issue
Oftentimes, the problem persists just because we dare not address it. We think that if just ignore it long enough, it will disappear. WRONG! Actually, the opposite is true. Until you address the problem, it will only be a thorn in your side. And yes, it may well grow bigger. So don’t delay, grab the bull by the horns and deal with it!
2- Acknowledge a desperate need for God’s assistance
Don’t let your ego get in the way of you asking God for help. Ego, by the way, spells E-G-O, which can translate: Edging God Out. God’s solutions begin where yours end. Your lack of momentum might just be because you need a bigger boat. God is bigger than you. He’s your bigger boat.
3- Develop a mission statement
It isn’t uncommon when we lack momentum to lose our vision as well. If you never had a mission statement, now is probably a great time to write one down. On the other hand, if you already have one, now is probably a great time to revise it and see if it still connects with your vision and goals.
4- Provide safety and security
If you’re in a family or business setting, other family members or your employees/partners will need to feel re-assured in this time of fruitlessness. Nobody likes to feel like they’re going nowhere. This is a leader’s responsibility. No matter how bad things get, the leader has to step up and reassure his family/team/organization that there is still hope and a future.
5- Offer help to the hurting
In the case of the church where the scandal happened, there were a lot of people who were deeply wounded in the process. Depending on how bad the situation is, some team members may need more help than others and perhaps even longer than others. Loss of momentum due to a crisis situation will often break people in the process. In those types of settings, it is the leader’s responsibility to offer a caring and helping hand.
6- Make hard choices
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Avoiding hard choices may actually be the reason why you have no momentum right now. So, persisting in avoiding those hard choices is hardly an option anymore. Do the things that scare you. Chances are those are the very things you need done in order to build momentum.
7- Continually communicate
Open the channels of communication more than ever before. Make everybody feel free to say what they feel and think while always maintain an atmosphere of humility and mutual respect. You and your team must be on the same wave length in order to generate forward motion in the same direction. You can’t write a book together if you’re not on the same page.
8- As a leader, lighten the load
It is the leader’s role to take on more responsibility in difficult times. Lack of momentum means a bigger shouldering of the load for the leader. It it the best way to build trust and to ensure that everybody will want to give more. A leader who takes a heavier load always energizes his team to do the same. This will result in a bigger team effort which can result in the lift-off you so desperately need to get momentum going.
9- Build a leadership team
Good leaders know how to surround themselves with good leaders. Nothing of significance was ever accomplished by an individual acting alone. Build up team members and invest in those who show more resolve, imagination, and ability. The best teams are always those with the strongest leaders.
10- Make prayer the number one priority
When you hit a wall, or when you’re stuck in neutral, you can never pray too much. Prayer will unlock solutions you have never though about, people you have never met, and circumstances you never dreamed of. Prayer is the grease on the gears of momentum.
As we reach the end of one year and get ready for the beginning of a new one, I do hope that these words you just read will encourage you to re-cast your vision, renew your efforts, and renew your hope of a fruitful destiny for you, yours, and your plans.
One bad year doesn’t mean it’s over for you. One year of missing momentum doesn’t amount to a forever standstill. One year of failures doesn’t mean you are a failure.
So, roll up your sleeves and Thrive On!