AMERICAN president, George W Bush Jnr, describes a defining moment in his life when he was 35 years old when he had a deep soul-searching and spiritual conversation with Bill
y Graham that caused him to make dramatic changes to his life, changing many things that were leading him down a path of mediocrity and pain which was threatening to jeopardise his private and political life.
According to him, everything that he has subsequently achieved is the culmination of events building up to that meeting and the conscious choices he had to make to change his life direction.
Every leader has a defining moment in his life, a specific point of reference, where two paths seemingly collide and choices have to be made on which route to take.
Business and politics
Every great political leader emerged out of a critical personal moment of decision; think of the Mahatma Gandhis and Nelson Mandelas of this world. Even infamous leaders like Adolf Hitler emerged out of definite moments of choice and reflection. As you explore the business and political landscape of your country, all the challenges that face you present opportunities for your leadership greatness to emerge. Do not shy away from the opportunity to lead, whichever way this may present itself. Every experience is knowledge gained and schooling completed.
Just like businesses, many families wallow in mediocrity, not only because of the inability of the head to lead as opposed to manage, but also due to a lack of capacity to deeply question what is and to make choices to change. Within the ability to question and think lies your ability to lead your family through a path of transformation from mediocrity to greatness.
I once consulted with a business leader from Port Elizabeth, South Africa, who had to accept the reality that his marriage and family were close to collapse due to certain choices and a way of life he had chosen. His ability to reflect and make these choices created a powerful man and a family that is highly influential in society today. True leadership emerges out of a visionary handling of pain and reality.
You may or may not have heard of Father Divine, a black American spiritual leader who rose from the depths of poverty to become a man of tremendous financial wealth and spiritual leadership to millions of followers. His organisation came into being when one day back-breaking in heavy toil he asked himself a few questions about the meaning of life and the power of that essence of the divine in his inner being. Out of this inner questioning and the subsequent answers came the drive to become someone of substance and so was birthed the vision to become a spiritual leader called Father Divine that has been a source of inspiration to millions.
I am a great believer in the school of thought that argues that leaders are developed and not necessarily born. Everyone, at one time or another, in their lives faces a critical moment of decision that if the right choices are made will see the emergence of a true leader that the world needs.
Let me add, however, that nothing catastrophic may happen to you if you miss your defining moment. Your life will just take its normal course. Also bear in mind that leadership is not just about the media limelight. It’s right where you are, with your subordinates, children, spouse and neighbours. It’s never too late to change.
Is today your day of decision? I trust you will make the correct one and emerge out of the pain of transformation as a leader.
* South African-based George W Nyabadza is the chief executive officer of Achievement Success Dynamics International. For more information on leadership development programmes please visit our website www.achievement-success.com or email George on firstname.lastname@example.org