In a recent good conversation with a media guru, we had the opportunity to address a group of aspiring leaders. My friend, who is prominent in the media world said unequivocally, “Before you can lead others, you must be able to lead yourself.”
Many are trying to lead at different levels in the vacuum of their own personal deficit. The best leaders I’ve followed knew who they were and where they were going.
Thanks to a recent book I’m reading, here’s a quote from the 12th Century that backs this up quite well. (“An Unhurried Leader: The Lasting Fruit of Daily Influence” by Alan Fadling)
Bernard of Clairvaux, a twelfth-century reformer in the Benedictine order of monks, offered this insight into life and leadership as overflow:
The [one] who is wise, therefore, will see [their] life as more like a reservoir than a canal. The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water till it is filled, then [offers] the overflow without loss to itself. . . . Today there are many in the Church who act like canals; the reservoirs are far too rare. . . . They want to pour [this stream] forth before they have been filled; they are more ready to speak than to listen, impatient to teach what they have not grasped, and full of presumption to govern others while they know not how to govern themselves.