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Is your heart helping or hurting you?

Josh Clark, CEO Richer Life

May 20, 2015

Leaders influence – nothing more, nothing less. If you have influence, you are a leader. Whether you are a CEO, a pastor or a parent, you have the opportunity to change the world around you. Sociologists estimate that even the most introverted people will influence an average of 10,000 people in their lifetime. Think about that. An introvert, who’s personality causes them to minimize their contact with others, still influences thousands.

“You can’t separate yourself from your influence. Like it or not, you are a leader.”

As a leader, you have influence over individuals and organizations. But the actual impact of your leadership is determined by how you lead yourself. Great leaders first lead themselves. Then, they move on to lead others, to lead leaders, and eventually to lead organizations and movements. Maximizing your influence means leading yourself. Great leaders know this and monitor the condition of their heart. So let me ask you, as a leader, is your heart helping or hurting you.

Over the years, I’ve encouraged hundreds of leaders to pursue their personal highest and best. As a life planner and leadership coach, I help individual leaders from Murrieta, San Diego, and all over the country create a Life Plan that will maximize their influence. During my two-day coaching intensives, we develop their personal mission, vision, values, and talents. We spend an entire day gathering perspective, looking back over a lifetime of influence to gain critical insights into the future. But the most significant construct is one designed to uncover their heart.

It’s the heart of a leader that beats out the rhythm of life. It’s the heart that defines cares, passions, dreams and impact. It’s the heart that ultimately determines whether or not a leader will be able to leverage their values and talents to achieve their mission and vision.And sadly, it’s the heart that most leaders choose to ignore. When’s the last time you checked in on your heart? What is the condition of your heart? This post is designed to help you determine if your heart is helping or hurting you?

Here are the four heart conditions I’ve observed in leaders and how they impact influence.

Hard-Hearted – Some leaders have lost their heart. Life is hard, especially for those who have a preferred picture of the future (vision) and are determined to influence others toward it. Machiavelli said, “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” Leading change at home, at work, in your church or community is hard work. Even more, it’s heart work. Many who attempt to lead change end up with broken hearts. And rather than continue to risk their heart for their vision, they let their heart grow hard.

“Hard-hearted leaders no longer believe. They have surrendered their vision in order to protect their heart.”

Faint-Hearted – Some leaders give up as soon as it’s difficult. They begin their leadership journey with great enthusiasm, but it doesn’t last. The faint-hearted leader lacks depth, in character and vision. They have no root. They are quick to believe and fast to act. But when the emotions wear off and difficulty arrives, they give up. The vision simply wasn’t worth the sacrifice.

“Faint-hearted leaders don’t go deep. Their enthusiasm is only a fad, and the moment there’s trouble it’s gone.”

Half-Hearted – Some leaders drop out for lack of focus. They have a vision, but they lack the perspective and discipline to bring it to fruition. The half-hearted may allow worries to choke their vision, focusing on problems to the exclusion of opportunity. Or, they embrace illusions of grandeur and overnight success. They try to lead, but nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow and chasing every opportunity that comes their way.

“Half-hearted leaders want everything under the sun. Their inability to focus crowds out their vision.”

Whole-Hearted – Whole-hearted leaders are those who steadily produce positive results. The first three heart conditions lead to great disappointment and sadness while the whole-hearted leader creates joy and fulfillment. Great leaders pursue their vision with their whole heart. Choosing to surrender the worries, opportunities, comforts, and hardships that would rob them of their ability to make their vision a reality.

“Whole-hearted leaders seize their vision and hold on – no matter what. Sticking it out until vision becomes a reality.”

You are a leader. Your life matters to those around you. It matters too much for you to settle for a hard-hearted, faint-hearted, or half-hearted approach to life. If you’re struggling with one of the first three heart conditions, you may lack a clear and compelling vision for the next chapter of your life. If this is the case, I’d love to help you discover your vision for yourself, your family, your career, your faith, and community. Contact me today and let’s talk about a Life Plan.

If you already have a compelling vision, one that wakes you up in the morning and drives your action. Don’t lose heart. Creating change takes sacrifice; unless you are prepared to give up something valuable you won’t be able to transform yourself or your world. Your life is worth living with your whole heart.

I pray that today finds your heart pumping life-giving energy. I pray that you won’t be discouraged by the disappointments along the way and that you won’t be defeated by the hard-hearted, faint-hearted, and half-hearted people around you. And most of all, I pray that one day you will find joy in seeing your vision become a reality.

Thanks for reading. Keep on leading.

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