“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ― Winston Churchill
No one has ever said that leading people would be easy. Leading all kinds of people to a compelling vision and direction can become messy and challenging at times. Whether it is conflict, misunderstandings, disappointments, or failures, there are countless ways that a leader will have to navigate through difficult times.
For me personally, it has often meant that I have had to face my own deficiency in my skills or leadership abilities. In times like this, it is easy to become a pessimist and see the personal errors or the roadblocks of difficulty. However, over time I have been learning to ask four crucial questions that help me to discover God-given opportunity when I face leadership difficulties:
What Is God teaching me? Perhaps one of the hardest things a leader can do is to look in the mirror honestly. Being a pessimist is quite different from being a realist. The first step to finding opportunity in the difficult times is to honestly assess ourselves and the situation. What is the reality that God is asking you to accept?
What is God calling me to do? Once we have faced our reality, it’s essential to ask God what we need to do about it. Many people are good at pointing out problems and identifying the issues, but can be slow to act on the reality. It’s essential that godly leaders ask God for the bravery and strength to make a decision in the tough times. Personally, this is challenging for me to do. The only answer I have found is to become utterly dependent on God and humble enough to ask for God’s strength and leading.
What do I need to let go of? Being a pessimist can mean it is easy if I hold onto hurts, grudges, and disappointments. Therefore, it’s essential as a leader to seek God once again and ask Him to expose those areas that we are holding onto and allow Him to help and heal us. An optimist is quick to recognize the ‘dead weight’ of pessimism and to throw off those areas that are weighing them down. What is weighing you down? What is slowing your journey? Ask God to heal you and help you let go today!
What good can God bring from this situation? In my opinion, this is perhaps one of the hardest things to do in the midst of a stormy leadership season. It is times like this when we must seek God’s Word and see the countless times that He has been faithful to His people to bring good from the worst situations. If you are someone who journals, perhaps there are times you can look back on and see how God has brought good from a bad situation. Ultimately, this is where faith can be activated. It’s essential we ask God to help us trust Him despite our circumstances. It’s imperative that we ask God to give us a vision for what He could be doing in our lives during challenging times.
Are you a pessimist or an optimist? What is God calling you to do in the midst of your stormy seasons? How is God working to bring about growth in your life as a result of you challenges? What opportunities is God giving you in the midst of a adversity?