Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Choices We Make... we can make the right choices.

Yesterday, I asked you what motivates you. I appreciate your responses (as always) and I want to talk more about this for the next day or two. Today, I want to focus on the motivation of someone who overnight became a worldwide hero...

"For 42 years, I made small, regular deposits of education, training and experience. And the experience balance was sufficient that, on January 15th, I could make a sudden, large withdrawal." Capt. Chesley "Sulley" Sullenberger, Pilot of US Airways Flight 1549

When I heard "Sulley" say this on television, I was riveted! I threw away years of my young life goofing off. I know what it is to have a surplus of time, energy or money and just throw it away. One of the attitudes that had to change in me was that a moment. Or a dollar. Or a day...doesn't count.

Because it does!

I have been taught this in so many ways. I remember, as a young man, hearing the answer a guy about 20 years my senior gave. He was offered a donut. He refused, and said, "A donut in here (his mouth) becomes a donut here (his mid-section)." It took me decades to put his wisdom into practice.

John Maxwell helped me understand that leadership is something one gains by making "small, regular deposits of training and experience." The leadership graveyard is full of talented former leaders who didn't pay the price.

It took a pastor named Tom Wolf to make me understand, "You can lead a growing church -- if you can stand the pain."

I know the temptations. Well. Far too many mornings I have rolled over in my warm bed. I still do sometimes. But it can become a habit that is nearly impossible to break after a while. Those chilly, dark mornings of feet pounding pavement are usually not fun -- until I get back home and experience the joy of doing the right thing.

Life can be long preparation for just a moment of response to sheer terror. Usually, though, it's small preparations for small acts.

But, over the years, those small acts comprise our lives.

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