“Courage teaches us what should be feared and what ought not to be feared. Only by taking action do we gain that knowledge. And from that comes an inner strength that inspires us to persevere in the face of great adversity – and inspires others to follow. In the most difficult of times, courage is what makes someone a leader.” John C. Maxwell.
In his book The Right to Lead: Learning Leadership Through Character and Courage, author, speaker, and internationally recognized leadership expert John C. Maxwell underscores the foundational principles you need to become the type of person others will want to follow. One key element is to demonstrate you possess the courage to step forward and take action.
The most difficult aspect of your entire project or personal ministry journey is often taking the first step outside the security of your normal routine. Maxwell explains, “The basis of courage is individual initiative. If we cannot act alone, we cannot act together.” When you exercise the resolve to overcome your initial reluctance you will be in a position to draw others.
You want to make a difference in the lives of those in your community. You were given spiritual gifts, experiences, passions, skills, and personality traits that uniquely prepare you to reach other people in a positive, enjoyable manner. All you need do is start. Learning and growth will continue along your way.
In The Right to Lead, Maxwell guides the reader through seven key elements of leadership: action, vision, sacrifice, risk, determination, service, and integrity. He expertly weaves together stories, quotes, and a lifetime of experiences to paint a vibrant portrait of the accomplished leader as found in historical examples.
The starting point is the courage to act. He states,
“Leadership always requires courage. In fact, the word courage comes from the French word Coeur, meaning heart. A leader must have the heart to communicate his vision no matter how absurd it may sound to others, to risk defeat in the face of bitter odds, to put himself and his reputation on the line, and to reach out to others in order to take them on a journey. After all, a leader’s courage is ultimately not for himself, but for all the people depending on him to lead.”
Our concern for others is what initially compels us to take personal ministry actions. We have been taught to love one another in the same manner we have been loved. This is true even to the point of putting our lives on the line for our friends. Maxwell expands this concept. “You’ve got to love your people more than your position.”
Demonstrating the courage to step forward in action is a key moment in establishing your project or personal ministry. Through your individual initiative you will draw others to you where you will find the opportunity to serve them through your gifts and passions. Maxwell has written a practical guide through the attributes you will display as you become the accomplished leader your undertaking will require. Pick up a copy when you can. It will both inspire and instruct.