We become what we think about. That is the strangest secret of life. In the 1950’s Earl Nightingale argued whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality. Its been proven throughout humankind, and my own life is a testimony to its truth.
When I wanted nothing more than to become a NFL coach, I made daily incremental progress toward that goal because it’s what I always thought about. However, that progress was at the expense of my relationships with people I loved. What I thought I wanted most was not aligned with what was best for them. The path I thought would fulfill my purpose and give me meaning was not the course my father in heaven wanted me to take. I was misaligned because my delight was misplaced. The desires of my heart needed to be recalibrated.
The recalibration was painful. Very painful. But I am grateful for it because of the resulting good. The lenses through which I now see life are much clearer. My mind and resolve are stronger. My heart is aligned with my heavenly father’s heart because I delight myself in him.
Here’s what I learned:
- I stopped thinking about what I think I want.
- Rather, I only have to think about pursuing a relationship with him.
- That pursuit becomes my chief joy, my main delight.
- I become so delighted in him that my wants become his wants.
- He fills me with right desires and then satisfies those desires in his perfect timing and in his perfect way. I only have to be patient.
- I trust him as my good shepherd to such a depth that I joyfully follow him wherever he leads me.
I am trusting him to lead me where I once was afraid to go. And by doing that, others are following me. Now I clearly see the particular race I’m supposed to run and I am running it with patience, calmness and resolve. I have not yet reached the finish line, and I am far from perfect, but I will keep on running and struggling to get the prize.
A byproduct of delighting myself in relationship with God is better relationships with everyone else: family, friends, colleagues and even enemies. I can do good to them without expecting to get anything back. I can be kind to all, even the ungrateful and wicked.
At home, I am a better role model for my kids and better equipped to shape them. My foundation is stronger for them. As I delight in my relationship to God, I see them delighting in their relationship with me. They are more willing to follow me and trust I have their best interests at heart.
At work and in my local community, I want to become a leader that everyone loves to follow. I believe when the leader gets better, everyone gets better. Here are seven leadership principles I’ve adopted:
- Thou shall not wait for permission to make things better.
- Thou shall not be afraid to make aggressive mistakes.
- Thou shall create movement, not coast.
- Thou cares, therefore thou shall persist.
- Thou has an edge because thou cares.
- Thou shall be scrappy.
- Thou shall demonstrate grit.
We become what we think about so search for delight in developing a relationship with God. Plant it in your mind and nourish it with repetition and emotion. One day, it will become a reality and you will get the desires of your heart. Then all of your other relationships will follow.