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He who has a why can endure any how. Knowing your why is an important first step in figuring out how to achieve the goals that excite you and create a life you enjoy living (versus merely surviving!).

This quote from German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche seemed appropriate given the topic of purpose has been on my mind quite a bit lately.  To some degree all of us yearn for a sense of belonging, to know our strengths are being brought to bear, to know we are adding value or making a difference.

Several factors recently have me revisiting this, and yesterday’s passing of Billy Graham is one of them offering a fantastic example of someone who was singular in his belief, in his passion, in his vocation.  Put aside any religious biases for a moment … what leadership lessons can we take from his legacy?

I was fortunate to be exposed to an environment over a decade ago where one of the exercises was to be intentional about defining purpose. During the exercise, the concept of thriving was introduced and described as the intersection between your passion, your skills, and your point of purpose/impact.  Aristotle put it this way … Where your talents and the needs of the world cross; there lies your vocation (purpose).

As I was reading a bit this morning on the life and legacy of Billy Graham, it was clear this was evident. Over the course of his career spanning SIX DECADES (wow!), he developed strong relationships with every president since Harry Truman, influenced more than 200 million people worldwide through his speaking, and wrote 30 books. This article in particular had some wonderful insights into how he viewed leadership and several associated qualities:

  • Integrity has to do with soundness, completeness, unity and consistency … when we speak of integrity as a moral value, it means a man is the same on the inside as he claims to be on the outside. There’s no discrepancy between what he says and what he does; between his talk and his walk.
  • Personal security includes a sense of inner peace, peace with God and peace with yourself (e.g. – understanding purpose).
  • Priority is the ability to separate the important from the unimportant, the critical from the trivial, the vital from the insignificant, the eternal from the temporary.
  • Vision is the quality of seeing what can be and ought to be done and how to get there. When there’s no vision, the Bible says, the people perish.

I may never achieve the same level of influence Billy Graham did, but he certainly provides a solid example of a leader I would like to emulate!