You might have heard it said, “Readers are leaders” but I prefer the quote by Harry S. Truman who said, “Not all readers are leaders but all leaders are readers”. So, what’s the difference?
You can be an avid reader—a person who reads as much as they can, whenever they can but it may or may not make you a leader. I have an old friend who once told me that she is so addicted to reading that she even reads at stoplights. Though this doesn’t seem to be a safe practice, nobody can doubt that she is one avid and possibly obsessed reader! But does it make her a leader?
It depends. What is she reading? Is she is reading in order to learn? Does she apply the principles she is learning to be a better person? And does she impart her gained knowledge to others in order to lead and help grow them in new ways?
You may also have heard it said “Knowledge is power” but I prefer the quote by Dale Carnegie who said, “Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied”.
In today’s world, in addition to reading, we have other great resources that allow us to expand our minds and hear from experts by listening to good books, podcasts, sermons, etc. And the benefits of reading or listening are many—unless it is false information or if the good is going in one ear and out the other.
If we are applying the good knowledge we are reading or listening to, we have the ability to become better thinkers, gain new perspectives, communicate better, learn from experts, acquire new skills, and become more humble and compassionate people. And as we learn and grow, we are then able to share the knowledge we’ve gained with others and lead them well.
Have you ever considered who you are leading? Perhaps you lead the little ones who call you “mom” or “dad”. Perhaps you lead a small group. Perhaps your reach is even greater and you lead hundreds or even thousands of people. No matter who you lead, you have the opportunity to make a positive or negative impact on the lives of others. Are you doing all you can to better yourself so that the impact is great?
Years ago, when we opened our business, I never dreamed I would be a leader past the walls of my home. Our original plan was that I would help establish the business and “make it pretty” and then return to being a stay-at-home mom. What I didn’t know is that God had a different plan—a plan that I felt completely unprepared for.
In the blink of an eye, I went from being a stay-at-home mom—the leader of four children to the co-owner of an auto-repair shop with eight employees. Talk about a fish out of water! I blew up the engine of my first car because I didn’t know I was supposed to change the oil, for goodness' sake! And leading others—how was I to do that when my only real leading experience came from mothering my young children and leading small church groups?
Over the past eleven years, I have failed on so many levels. I’ve cried rivers of tears, had mountains of stress and had many sleepless nights. I have wanted to quit more times than I’d like to admit. But the thing is, when you own a business, quitting is not an option. And to be honest, I am glad for it because of the success I now have.
Albert Einstein once said, “Failure is Success in Progress”.
Oh, how true that is! It is in our failing moments that we learn and grow and do better next time. It is in our failing moments that we get a big helping of humble pie that keeps our pride in check and allows us to ask for forgiveness and do better next time. And it is in our failing moments that we gain new perspectives and a desire to seek out resources to learn from in order to do better next time.
If moments of failure are the rungs on a ladder that we climb in order to reach success, I wonder, what is success? How would you define it or measure it? Is it the goals you’ve achieved? Knowledge you’ve gained? Amount of money you’ve made? Number of people you’ve influenced or helped?
Just last week, our Service Manager, Ben came into my office to discuss something with me. At the end of the conversation, he said, “you have made me a better person”. Remember the river of tears I’ve cried? When he left the room, new tears threatened to spill over—only for a different reason—a joy-filled reason. Though I feel successful with every satisfied customer who feels cared for as we’ve helped with their vehicle, beyond that, ultimate success was in that moment. You see, I love our people and I work hard to pour all that I can into them, including the knowledge I have gained over the years, in hopes that they will learn and grow. In the past four years, I have seen Ben grow in tremendous ways and watched him then pour into the lives of others. But to hear him say those words was the ultimate feeling of success.
Here is where we go back to the “leaders are readers” part of Truman’s quote. Instead of feeling unprepared for the job God had for me, I continued to learn from Jesus and His ways (and prayed constantly!) and also began reading and listening more and more—not only to be a better leader in business but better in all of my roles in life.
At any one given time, I have a plethora of resources that I am learning from, beyond my Bible, in order to gain new understandings and be a better person. Some resources I am reading with groups of people like “I’m Waiting, God”—a Bible Study by Barb Roose that I am doing with a group of women and “The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle: How to Become a Servant Leader” by James Hunter that I am reading and discussing with our business management team. Others, I am reading on my own like “Empty Nest, Full Life” by Jill Savage, “Holiness, Truth, and the Presence of God” by Francis Frangipane, and I am even reading a book my son loaned me called “Breath”—apparently it is beneficial to breathe better and I am at the beginning stages of learning how.
I also listen to podcasts and sermons—while hiking, working out, cleaning, driving, or doing just about any chore. Some of my favorites include Craig Groeschel, Chip Ingram, Tony Evans, Huberman Lab (my sons got me hooked), and the many great pastors from Eagle Brook Church.
As I learn new things from various sources, I also consider how I might apply the goodness to my life, into the lives of those I lead, and also into others I may reach beyond my everyday scope—like you, my readers.
I have been told that the article I wrote in July called “We the People” was one of the most educational and inspirational articles that I have ever written. In it, I spoke about the freedom we have in America, how it came to be, what our responsibilities are as “we the people” and how, we must, as a nation do our part to keep the Republic in order to continue to enjoy the liberties we have.
Did you read my article? Have you considered how you are included in “we the people”? Did you read the book I recommended by Eric Metaxas entitled “If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty”? Are you prepared to do your part in keeping the Republic for which our nation stands?
Since writing that article, other books and podcasts have further alerted me to what my responsibility is as an American and what failing to do my part may mean for all of us—you, and me, and our children, and our children’s children.
Eric Metaxas’s newest book called “Letter to the American Church” is exceptional. In a way, it is an extension of his previous book by imparting knowledge of what may happen if we choose not to do our part to keep the Republic for which our nation stands.
While in the process of listening to this book my beloved mother-in-law, Snooks sent me a text to tell me that Eric Metaxas was also on Family Talk (October 3rd & 4th). His two-day guest appearance was a recap of his previous book—and a great reminder of what I had already learned.
During the same time period, I was doing a painting project at the shop and wanted to learn while I worked. Since I hadn’t listened to Tony Evans in a while, I hopped onto his app and found the most incredible series called “Returning God to Government”. Because it had started in September, I was able to download and listen to all of the related sermons.
In the very first sermon, Dr. Evans speaks of “The Concept of Kingdom Voting” and states, “If you are a Christian and name the name of Jesus Christ, you don’t get to leave God out of your vote … Kingdom voting is the opportunity and responsibility of committed Christians to partner with God by expanding His rule in society through civil government.”
How do you vote? Do you agree with a certain party and therefore vote for all the people, at all levels of government, that coincide with that party? Or do you look into all of the candidates, learn about them and what they stand for, and make a decision based on their values and how closely they compare to your values?
Have you ever stopped to really consider what your values are? Do they align with God’s values? Is what you believe true and honorable and noble?
In his book, “Holiness, Truth, and the Presence of God” Frangipane writes, “There are so many things to occupy our minds: so many books, so many examples, so many teachings that deserve our attention, that say, ‘Here is a truth’. But as I have been serving the Lord these past years, He has led me to seek for two things and two things only: to know the heart of God in Christ and to know my own heart in Christ’s light.”
Do you know the heart of God in Christ? Do you filter everything you read and hear through His Word to know if it is true? Do you agree with what God says is true—thereby knowing your heart in Christ’s light? And if this is what you know and who you are, then is it the way you live your life? And is it the way that you vote?
With one of the most important elections in American history just around the corner, have you done your research? Have you considered all of the candidates and what they stand for? Do you know the heart of God and your own heart in Christ’s light so that you can be a “Kingdom Voter”? Do you understand the importance of bringing God back into our nation?
We have ten short days before we head to the ballot box. My friends, it is imperative that you educate yourselves before that time. Read and listen. If you have the time, read Metaxas’s book “If You Can Keep It”. If you don’t have the time, read my article “We the People”—you can find it at BabcockAutoCare.com/blog/we-the-people. To learn a bit more, check out the Family Talk episodes from October 3rd & 4th.
If you have the time, read or listen to Metaxas’s new book “Letter to the American Church”—so that you can be aware of what is at stake. If you don’t have the time, I urge you to try to make time. And while you are painting or doing any other brainless activity, get Tony Evan’s app and tune into his series “Returning God to Government”. Both resources ultimately instruct us as “we the people” in what we should know and what we need to consider before we vote.
Let us end with some words of wisdom from a great leader who was an avid reader, a man who applied his knowledge, and an American who loved his country.
“All I have learned, I learned from books.”
“Get books, sit yourself down anywhere, and go to reading them yourself.”
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them real facts.”
“Nations do not die from invasion; they die from internal rottenness.”
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.”
“The ballot is stronger than a bullet.”
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
“Be sure you put your feet in the right place then stand firm.”
“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
“Whatever you are, be a good one.”
And finally …
“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and bury their behinds, then they will have to sit on their blisters.”