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Tough Times and Turning Points

When we get to think about things that really matter.

We all go through tough times, and often it’s in these times when we learn about ourselves and those around us.  It’s said that marriage, moving house and moving jobs are three of the most  stressful activities to endure, so I wonder why it is that we put two of these, or even all three together so often, and I guess that of all the things we want forget there are the most difficult.  

I remember one of my toughest times.  It started with a phone call telling me that my father had had a serious heart attack, and was on life support.  This was followed by a frantic dash to the hospital, and our family stood around his bed as he breathed his last. Then through the silence, my brother-in-law said quietly “Roger, could you pray for us all?”It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but as a Christian, as a leader, and as the eldest son, I felt it my duty to see that Dad left well. I owed it to Dad, and I owed it to my family, just as I felt that I owned it to Dad and my family to read Dad’s eulogy at the funeral service and play some of his favourite tunes at the committal.

Looking back, this turn of events also brought me to the start of a journey into a new season in my life and career.  A transition from majoring on sales for other people and minoring on and training, to the new season where I am majoring on speaking, coaching and training and only engaging in sales for the newly formed “Leadership for Business”. 

In life and in business, leaders will regularly face tough decisions, although hopefully not quite to that extent every time.  If you don’t want to face tough decisions than this quite simply isn’t the best career path to take. However, it’s in these tough times, facing these tough decisions that are the mark of a great leader.  Winston Churchill once observed,What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.”

In his book “Leadership Gold” John Maxwell suggests that we’ll know when we’re facing a tough call and we’ll need to be at our best as a leader when the decision is marked out by the following three things.

We all face and address risk in different ways, and that can depend on many factors including our personality, our training, our skills and our experiences.  When studying the decisions made by leaders oftentimes we turn to politics and military engagements to find our examples.  We have s splendid example of tough decisions being faced in the UK in this season as we navigate the seemingly impossible journey out of the European Union.  

One thing that has become quite remarkably evident in observing some of the country’s elected leaders is that their decision making seems to have so little in common.  Every political leader has a different opinion on what we should have done, could have done, and ought to do.  

“The most striking things about highly effective leaders is how little they have in common.”

~ Larry Osborne

On reflection that seems to be evident in all spheres of leadership, it’s not just confined to political leadership.  However, history seems to show us that an imperfect decision made in a timely manner and carried through with determination yields a better outcome than a perfect decision made too late and carried out with a lack of passion. 

After all the advice, discussion, and opinions are aired, the final battle is one that a leader faces alone.  Having weighed all the available information and competing views there comes a time when the leader has to make that call, and that can be the loneliest of times, when even the best of motives will be misunderstood.  

“All the significant battles are waged within self.”

~ Sheldon Koop

Finally, it’s precisely for these tough times, making these tough calls, where a leader discovers the reason they are there – to lead.

‘To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing, unique to them, and fitting their talents.”

~ Winston Churchill

About Roger Fairhead

Roger is a leadership specialist delivering Leadership for Business Achievement through Speaking, Training and Coaching to business leaders and entrepreneurs.

“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.

Leadership for Business also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.