In honor of the scout moms and dads (and grandmas and grandpas) who will be sending their youngsters out for an adventurous trek in the great outdoors this summer, I was thinking maybe we could learn a few lessons about life and leadership from those adventurous souls.
1. Be Like a Boy Scout.
You know the motto: Be prepared. Think ahead.
Now, quite frankly, I’m much more at home on the streets of New York City than in the wilderness of Colorado, but I do know that if I were to go hiking in the mountains, I would definitely be prepared. I would try to think of every possible scenario, and I would have:
a. A map (to gauge where I am and see the destination).
b. A compass (to keep me heading in the right direction).
c. Proper clothing and shoes (to protect me).
d. Plenty of food and water and Starbucks coffee (to nourish me).
e. A few essential tools (to resolve any unexpected issues and overcome obstacles).
So why is it that we will go to this extent for a hike, but we miss these elements in life? Maybe we’re wandering through the wilderness of life with no direction. Maybe we’ve lost our bearings and have no guidance system. We would not venture into the mountains without good hiking boots and warm clothing for higher altitudes, yet we go through life on a financial shoestring so thin we could trip over the edge of a cliff at any time. We push ourselves to the limit and don’t take care of our physical needs. And we don’t keep our skills sharpened so we have the proper tools to climb the ladder to our best success in our work. Indeed, I think we could all benefit from being like a boy scout.
As leaders, there are other people looking to us for direction and they need to see our preparations so they can use that model for themselves.
2. Be Like a Girl Scout.
Years ago, the Brownies sang a song, “Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver, and the other is gold.” I’m not sure if they still sing it, but it’s actually pretty good advice for life. Having the kinds of friends who will venture out into the wilderness to find you if you’re lost is priceless. Relationships matter…immensely! True friends are life’s treasures.
Leaders build connections and those relationships can last a lifetime.
3. Be a Talent Scout.
A talent scout has a really great job. They get to travel around and identify folks who are using their strengths to do phenomenal things. They see how that person would be an asset to their team, and they see ways to develop those strengths even further. As leaders, we need to actively recruit these kinds of connections. We need to help develop them to their fullest potential – and we also need to learn from them so that we become stronger as well. When you hit a snag in life, they might just be the ones to pull you out. There are times when your unique strengths alone are just not enough. You need the strengths of others as well. None of us is as strong as all of us.
4. Find an Indian Scout.
Indian scouts helped the early settlers of our country push the boundaries of the frontier. Why? Because they had walked those paths before us and could safely lead the way. Isn’t that what a great leader does, they push the boundaries and walk ahead. Going it alone can be gravely dangerous at worst and much more difficult at best. It just makes sense to engage with someone who has walked the path before us. So maybe that means getting involved in a community, joining a mastermind group, or getting one-on-one coaching in order to get past an obstacle. Don’t be afraid to look for your Indian scout when you’re facing a new frontier.
Which of these 4 are you focused on this week?
As John C. Maxwell says “a leader is one who knows the way, shows the way and goes the way.”