When is my chance on stage? When will people look to me for advice and consult? Heck, “Why won’t people listen to me?” Have you wondered any of these things?
Imagine you are going to a major conference to hear from the experts in your industry. You arrive to the main auditorium early (because you are a leader), and you sit down quietly to check your smartphone. As the time for the speaker’s address nears you look up and the seats around you are empty, but the stage is almost full. Eventually, a shoving match breaks out due to lack of space on stage, and punches begin to be thrown between those closest to the microphone. Crazy, right?
This scenario would be crazy, and yet, some of you feel like that’s happening at work as people try to get face time with your boss. Some of you are jealous of a peer who has started a business or received a great promotion. Some of you are amazed at a buddy who has tons of followers on social media. The Internet provided a stage of sorts. A stage without guidelines as to who qualifies as an expert and without security guards surrounding it to remove those who threaten to drown out or interrupt those that are ready to speak tested truths or display well practiced talent.
When will I know I am called to the stage?
Speakers on stage need an audience. In many situations, we would be wise to be the audience. After all, we’ve got two ears and one mouth.
Men, sometimes we can confuse our pride in our existing knowledge as a calling to leadership. However, the best speakers, authors, and leaders I’ve ever been around have a mentality that they are always learning. In fact, study the great leaders and you will find their ego takes a back seat to their effort.
Great leaders are crazier about their cause than they are about hearing their name called. Common advice is to take charge of your own destiny. An Uncommen approach would be to spend your time amassing knowledge, proving diligent to the little tasks, and serving others. If you can bring the energy to learning, diligence, and serving, you will be tapped for leadership or advice at the right time.
If not now, then what?
First, appreciate a season of preparation. According to most historical scholars, Jesus died in his thirties and had a ministry that lasted approximately three years. Do you ever wonder what he was doing for 30 years prior? John Wooden, the famous UCLA basketball coach who won 10 national titles, coached high school for 11 years! You too can wait for the right timing.
While your waiting, focus your energy on crushing every task assigned to you and not having to be asked twice for something. Learn with vigor and accept responsibility with class. Engage your colleagues with encouragement; there are things you can learn from each other and when you are given a platform to lead, those relationships will benefit you most if you have practiced being approachable and servant hearted.
You need to be quiet and listen to be surveying for opportunity. When you stop worrying about how much you need to be heard, you will start seeing voids of leadership that you might one day fill. You will see an unfulfilled need that will be the start of your business. You will find out what your bosses biggest challenge is and solve it, leading to the promotion. You will hear mounting misinformation and be prepared to be the voice of tested truth.
If right now, then what?
If you have the stage right now, approach it with humility. Practice servant leadership and be approachable. Invest in a leader in waiting. Speak genuinely so you aren’t part of the noise. Elevate your cause more than your name. Bring maximum effort.
When your ego takes a back seat to your effort and when your helpfulness outweighs your need to be heard, you will undoubtedly be tapped for advice and leadership. Get crazy about your cause and stop worrying about hearing your name called.
This week’s post written by UNCOMMEN contributor, Bill Hawks.