Are leaders made? Are they born?
Or, is it a combination of the two?
These questions came to mind recently while I was driving to work a day or so after attending Leadership Centre County’s Community Leadership Skills Day.
While I was mulling these questions, the song “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts came on the radio.
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“Life’s like a road that you travel on,” the song began. “There’s one day here and the next day gone. Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand. Sometimes you turn your back to the wind.”
The timing seemed perfect as I reflected on my Skills Day experience.
Before gathering that day, the LCC Class of 2014 was asked to complete Gallup’s StrengthsFinder online assessment ( strengths.gallup.com). There, participants can complete the assessment and receive a report indicating their top five strengths out of 34 possibilities.
During the morning portion of the Skills Day program, the class, led by Paul Hilt, discussed how we as leaders can utilize our identified strengths professionally, personally and when working with others.
Immediately after lunch, Tom Songer, of The Torron Group; Lam Hood, former board chairman of Habitat for Humanity; and Jennifer Shuey, executive director of ClearWater Conservancy, shared their StrengthsFinder profiles and provided examples of how they used their strengths to accomplish complex and nuanced public/private partnerships.
This was a very enlightening experience — one that has encouraged me to focus on my new position and on using my strengths to help generate sales for my new company.
Peter Montminy, a local clinical child psychologist, mindfulness teacher and father of four, then spoke to the class about “time choicing.”
Montiminy has been devoted to enhancing the emotional well-being of youth and families for the past 25 years ( www.themindfullvillage.com).
My summation of time choicing is that, in essence, many of us focus so much on how busy we are that we often forget to be mindful of the choices we make and how much time we devote to the things we are “too busy” to do, such as our personal exercise programs or learning something new.
When we do take time to sit down, reflect and focus on our actions, we actually can appreciate life more and realize we have the time to enjoy the things that are important to us.
We just tend to lose focus sometimes on our priorities.
I’m busy; you’re busy; everyone is busy. Though we may share similar things that demand our time and attention — work, marriage, children, aging parents, friendships, to name a few — our priorities may be different.
When you take the time to focus on your strengths, persevere through challenges and be mindful of your choices, you may be surprised at how “free” you can be.
I have taken the time to stop, reflect and remind myself of what my priorities are in life and try to focus each day on what is within my control.
Not only has that tempered my nervousness in taking on a new job, but it has helped me focus on what is important beyond that role and helped me realize how I can rejuvenate myself to do an even better job tomorrow.
Jennifer Stephens is manager of Fullington VIP Limousine Service and a member of the Leadership Centre County Class of 2014. Learn more about Leadership Centre County at www.leadershipcentrecounty.org.