Hey friends, welcome to the three by five Leadership podcast where we champion intentional leaders who create significant impacts.
In this show, we seek to share simple, practical strategies to help you live to lead and to learn more intentionally.
To learn more about 3x5 Leadership and to explore all of our resources to help you become a more intentional leader, go to our website at www.3x5leadership.com or check out the link in the show notes. I'm JJ Morgan, a member of the 3x5 Leadership team. Thanks for joining us today. In this episode we are going to discuss what it might look like for us to really embrace the concept of being a Servant leader, both at work and at home.
We'll discuss the change in mindset that this requires and unpack some of the small actions that can lead to big behaviors to enable you to be truly present and engaged wherever you are. Let's get to it.
Have you died today?
Sounds like an odd question, I know, but it's the same question that this past week a pastor at our church challenged the congregation with, essentially.
He asked have you died today? And then went on to explain this concept of dying at the door.
He talks about how when he gets home from work each day, he often has to remind himself that he needs to die to himself before he walks inside the door of his home.
Whatever it is that he's been working on that day, whatever he's been challenged by, whatever he's been focusing on and devoting his time, his attention, his energy to, while all of those are important, none of them are actually as important in that moment as being present and engaged with his family.
In order to be present and engaged and focused on his family, he says that he has, to "die at the door."
What does that mean? Well, for him that means that he deliberately and intentionally clears his mind of any work related things.
He turns off his phone and he makes it a point to set aside whatever his own agenda might be before he walks in the door so that he can be present, engaged and in the moment. And then he talked about saying how if he's not able to do those things before, he walks in the door?
Well, he just sits in the car in the driveway until he is.
And so all of this has led to the point where now, if his kids see the car pull up but they don't yet see him get out of the car, they joke Daddy's not coming inside yet because Daddy's not dead yet.
Well, it sounds funny. There's so much truth packed into this little analogy, and that's what we're going to spend a little bit of time together today unpacking.
So why is it that this stood out to me? Well, when we get rid of the shock value and the humor associated with the comment from a kid, Daddy's not dead yet.
It really causes us to pause and ask ourselves.
When I step into the door of my own home -
Am I prepared to be a servant leader? Am I prepared to die to myself in order to be able
to be present and be engaged with my family?
How about when I get home, I come home. I'm mulling over those seven different things that still need to get accomplished the next day. A mind mapping, the project that I was just assigned a lead. And I'm still churning over that. Come see me first thing in the morning. e-mail that I got from my boss right as I was leaving work that day.
I get home, I walk inside and while I'm physically present there and anything but mentally and emotionally present.
Can you relate to this?
As a result of me not being emotionally and mentally present with my wife and kids, I'm not actually listening to my wife as she recounts her day. I'm starting to get annoyed and frustrated by the kids asking me to wrestle them yet again, and honestly, I feel like I'm just ready for some time to collect my thoughts, to clear my head and to focus on me.
Hmm, it doesn't sound like that's an inherently wrong thing. In fact, you might even argue, wow, that sounds like a really self aware leader.
But I'd also argue, while not inherently wrong, it's not exactly embodying a servant leader mentality either.
In short, what's happened to me is I didn't die at the door.
Can any of you relate to this?
So if this is now our realization, what are some practical ways that we can practice dying at the door?
First and foremost, I would argue we can demonstrate humility.
Whether I'm at home or I'm at work or wherever else I am, whatever else it is that I'm doing, am I really seeking to internalize that it's not about me?
This takes humility as a leader to recognize that my work has hired me not to be about me, but has hired me to be about the organization and about improving the organization and its ability to deliver value for its key stakeholders. And that a massive portion of those key stakeholders is comprised of my fellow coworkers, of my team members whom I've given the privilege to be able to lead in that endeavor. It's not about me. It's about them. This requires humility.
The second key step is to prioritize the actually important things. Now you might say that's a weird play on words. Why wouldn't you say the things that are actually important? I would say prioritize the actually important things because the reality is, many of the things that I allow myself to devote my time, my efforts, and my affections and tension to aren't the actually important things.
What are the actually important things? I'd argue that's the wrong question. It's who are the actually important things. You see people matter far more than tasks and to do lists.
Whether it's my coworkers, my teammates, or my family.
They are far more important than any tasks that consume my energy and thoughts so easily.
How do I show them that? Well, I show them that by giving them my undivided attention.
And being able to give my undivided attention to my teammates, my coworkers, my customers, my family.
Well, that starts with building in a rhythm within my work, where I can leave my work at work, so to speak, and where I can leave myself at the door. Where I can die at the door.
And then the third practical way that we can practice dying at the door, in addition to demonstrating humility and prioritizing the actually important things, is to remember that little actions can lead to big behaviors.
So what are some of the little actions that I can take to facilitate my ability to die at the door?
Well, for me, when I get in the car and I get ready to head to work, I typically put on a podcast on the way to work. This helps wake my brain up. It helps me start thinking and doing if you will, so that I can get to work primed and ready to get after the things that I need to get after.
Now let's flip that and look at the commute home.
When I'm on my way home, that podcast will probably come on again.
And this helps me to transition my brain space from work to something else.
When I pass the 1st House at the entrance to my neighborhood on the way into work, I visualized taking things off of the shelf.
That list of seven tasks that I need to complete? Well, I start to visualize organizing them by order of priority out on my desk. That e-mail from my boss, the one that says come see me first thing in the morning. That project mind map that I've been working on.
Well, I visualize as I'm headed to work where in my day I can best work that in.
But I also now try to visualize the "interruption" that I might have from a colleague or a client.
And in my visualization, instead of viewing that as an interruption, I seek now to frame it as an opportunity. That's an opportunity to help them accomplish something great for themselves and for their team.
And then on the way home when I pass by that same house at the beginning of the neighborhood.
I go through the visualization exercise again of now putting things back up onto the shelf.
My tasks for the project that I'm working on that might not have been accomplished that day put it back on the shelf.
The emails from the boss.
Put it back on the shelf. That'll be a tomorrow thing.
Whatever it is that might be impeding me from walking into the door of my home ready to serve.
Needs to go back onto the shelf.
And it's by taking in these little actions that I'm able to build in and condition myself for the big behavior shifts that will help me unlock my ability to be present, engaged, and available for those who really need me for my family, the most important team that I'll ever have the privilege and opportunity to be a part of.
So again, as we look at this concept of being a servant leader, we have to remember that servant leader is a leader who puts their team in their organization first, who doesn't prioritize their own objectives first. We have to remember that in order to be a servant leader practically, we must demonstrate humility.
We must prioritize the actually important things and more importantly, the important people. And we have to remember that little actions can lead to big behaviors. It's when we embrace these three principles in our pursuit of being a servant leader that we are able to truly and effectively die at the door so we can truly be living the life of a servant leader. Thanks for joining us for a discussion on the importance of practically living as a servant.
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