Steadfast and Focused

November 2022

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘Bullish’?

Maybe Big Black Angus or Hereford bulls you see at the fair, or the massive Water Buffalo bulls of Africa and SE Asia or maybe the great American Bison. Maybe Teddy Roosevelt. Maybe the stock market.

Several years ago, we had some cattle on our small ranch/farm. Once in a while we’d have a bull around and I always looked for the bull with the best ‘confirmation’, which meant good bone structure, tall, but not too tall, and overall alignment, but most of all he had to be able to ‘put meat on those bones. We needed the most meat in the shortest time. They were impressive animals and I enjoyed having them around (For a while).

The bulls we had were ‘huge’. Some were over 1500lbs and epitomized the meaning of ‘Bullish’. When it came to getting them to move from one pasture to another it was like trying to move a railroad car unless they saw some advantage in it for them. If they got out of the corral or pasture, (which they could do any time they wanted because fences were just something to play with) it was useless to try and pull or push them anywhere. One casual ‘swoosh’ of their head could send you flying. It basically came down to deception and trickery to get them to move if they had decided they didn’t want to change where they were at.

I loved having them around because they were impressive and productive (but could turn destructive in a matter of seconds), reliable (for the most part) and confident (If a bull can feel confident). But they were also scary and unpredictable, especially when they were forced to deviate from their perceived mission – things could go wrong in a hurry.

It may be a longshot, but I think there’s a lot of similarities to those traits and our traits as leaders.

The concept of being ‘steadfast and focused’ in our leadership is critical for us in our business as well as our family, social, and spiritual life. Whether we’re men or women, we exhibit key traits as a leader.

Those traits are innate strengths for us and some are easier to ‘live into’ than others. To access the potential of those others, takes intentionality because although we have them as part of our innate hardwiring, they’re more challenging for us to step into.

Taking the image of the bulls I referenced above; we can look pretty impressive in our leadership role and the folks around us might initially (within the first year or two) think they’ve got a leader they can follow. But what do they experience when we’re challenged in one way or another as their leader? Either by them or by issues that arise with clients or vendors or the leadership team (And yes, they’re a lot more aware of what happens in those closed-door meetings than we think).

Do we start ‘swooshing’ our head around like the proverbial ‘Bull in a China closet’, tossing people around (metaphorically speaking)? Or do we just walk away and disengage by hunkering down in our ‘remote office’? Or maybe they see us doubling down and coming in earlier and staying later in our attempt to maintain control.

I discovered that even though my bulls were productive to a point, their power and strength could turn destructive in a matter of seconds, and it would take a lot of effort to clean up the mess. As far as reliability is concerned, the only thing I could rely on was their unreliability. Then there was their confidence. I began to realize that they had some significant fears that drove a lot of their ‘confidence’ and posturing.

But there’s good news for us as leaders.

We’re not Bulls!

We’re men and women made in the image of God.

We’ve been given the ability to reason and to choose. Paul encourages us to examine ourselves – to take stock in who we are or are becoming – rejoice in the good stuff we find and make some changes if we find some not so good stuff.

Our teams, our families and our friends all need us to be Steadfast and Focused which results in leadership that’s markedly productive, reliable, and confident. But the trick is to learn how to be Steadfast and Focused.

That’s going to be the emphasis of our 360 Leadership meeting next week.

We’ll look at it biblically and then discuss how to integrate what we discover into our process of growth as a leader intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Here’s a hint . . .

“Whole and holy. The two go hand in hand. Oh, how important this is. You can’t find the holiness you want without deep wholeness. And you can’t find the wholeness you want without deep holiness.”


Into the Word

‘Steadfast and Focused’ will be the subject of our time in the Word. We’ll examine a number of scriptures that challenge us to clarify just what it is we’re supposed to stand firm in and focus on.

Take it to Work

We’ll transfer the principles we find in scripture into our life and leadership at work and beyond. We’ll align those with other key Leadership Principles to give us a strong and accurate template as to how we want to lead our teams and families into next year.