Never Give Up

I watched college basketball’s championship game tonight between Kansas and North Carolina. North Carolina had a 16 point lead after 15 minutes of play. They were stomping Kansas who was highly favored to win. At halftime, North Carolina was ahead by a whopping 15 points. No team in the history of College basketball has ever come back and won in a NCAA championship game when 15 points down. But Kansas came out after half time and erased the lead and won the game by three points.

I wish I could have been in the locker room at half-time and heard the speach that the coach gave to his players. At the start of the second half of the game Kansas was a different team. Something ignited in each player an incredible will to win that drove them to play exceptional basketball. Words have almost supernatural power, and really good leaders have discovered that fact, but they have also discovered how to communicate those words to those they are leading.

It has been said that everything rises and falls on leadership. John Wooden was one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time. He started coaching UCLA when I was born in 1948 and he retired when I graduated from college in 1975. In those years, he won ten national championships, and an even dozen books have been written about his leadership philosophy, practice, and skills.

There are a few people who are gifted leaders, they lead intuitively, but most have to learn the art and the skill of leading. The most significant barrier to most people in leadership positions becoming good leaders is their pride; they think they already know how to lead well and have the skill when in fact, they are total novices.

The best way to learn how to lead well is from those who obviously do, but again pride keeps most from seeking counsel and input from others, no matter how good they are.

Husbands, look around and see what men have great marriages and ask for them to give you counsel. Fathers, look around and see who has raised champions and ask for them to mentor you. Wives do the same; Pastors do the same; Youth group leaders do the same; employers do the same, and on and on. God is particularly impressed with those who humble themselves to learn from others. He blesses them and uses them.

Leadership success is to important to let our personal pride keep us from learning and growing in this skill. When we lead well, everyone we influence benefits.

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