Do you remember the story of the princess who kissed the frog? On the surface, it appeared to be a simple kiss. But in reality, it was anything but simple. Regardless of what she thought, when her lips touched the frog, a transformation took place. The frog was transformed into a handsome prince. The prince was liberated to become all that he could be.
Are you aware that you do the same for the people around you? I’m not talking about kissing frogs, but I am talking about helping people become all that they can be. Brene Brown writes, “A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes and has the courage to develop that potential.” She continues, “Leadership is not about titles or the corner office. It is about the willingness to step up, put yourself out there, and lean into courage.”
You are in a unique position to make a lasting impact as you help people reach their full potential, as you help them become who God created them to be.
Sending the 72
In Luke 10 there is a story of Jesus sending out seventy-two followers to make an impact upon their communities. When he sent them out, he did more than give them a message. He invested himself in their lives. Through instructing them on what to take and not take with them, training them on where to go and what to say, he set in their hearts and minds a purpose that led them into a plentiful harvest.
When the seventy-two returned, they were filled with joy and shared stories of success. Not only did their leader, Jesus, listen to their reports, but he also praised them and their efforts. If I may say it this way, Jesus took responsibility for finding the potential in the seventy-two followers and stepped up to develop their potential.
How are you discovering the potential in the people with whom you live, work, and associate? How are you developing their talents, skills, and helping them become who God created them to be?
The Lasting Impact
Several years ago, a college professor had his sociology class conduct a study on the effects of poverty in the city. He sent his class into the inner city of Baltimore to get case histories of 200 young boys. They were asked to write an evaluation of each boy’s future as it related to their lives in the impoverished neighborhoods in which they lived. In every case, the students wrote something like, “He does not have a chance,” or “He doesn’t have a future.”
Twenty-five years later another sociology professor came across the study. He had his students follow up on the project to see what had happened to those 200 boys. Except for 20 boys who had moved away or died, the students learned that 176 of the remaining 180 had achieved more than ordinary success as lawyers, doctors, and businessmen.
The professor was intrigued by the findings and decided to pursue the matter further. He wanted to find out what made the difference. What happened to move the boys to success?
He found that even though it had been twenty-five years, all the men were still living in Baltimore. With the help of his students, the professor was able to ask each one, “How do you account for your success?’ In each case the reply came with passion, “There was a teacher who took a special interest in me.”
The professor, wanting to discover what had taken place, found that this teacher was still alive. He sought her out. When he found her, he asked to meet with her. In their conversation, he asked, “What did you do to pull these boys out of the conditions in which they were living? What did you do to lead them into their successful achievement?”
Her eyes sparkled as she broke into a gentle smile. “It’s really very simple,” she said. “I planted hope in those boys. I loved them by showing them what was possible.”
How are you planting hope in the people around you? Show someone what is possible simply through love. How are you helping them become who God created them to be?
Make a Lasting Impact
To make a lasting impact, here is what I want you to do.
Identify one or two persons in whom you are willing to invest your life.
- God has invested great potential in you. Now you invest in others. Step up and put yourself out there as you come alongside the persons in whom you are invested.
Discover and develop the potential in their lives.
- Develop a relationship of trust and compassion. Use Clifton Strengths to discover your strengths and talent. Use Bible studies to develop character and purpose.
Model integrity and love in all you do.
- Paul wrote to Titus, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about you. Titus 2:7-8.
Invite the people around you to invest their lives in one or two persons.
- Mother Teresa might have said it best, “Spread love everywhere you go: first of all, in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next-door neighbor…Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.
You do not have to kiss a frog to make a lasting impact. But you do have to intentionally identify persons, develop relationships, model integrity, and love. Then, invite others to do the same.
What greater gift could you give yourself, your family, your co-workers, your community, or the world? Your investment will make a lasting impact!