My brain seriously feels like it’s going to explode. But that would be really messy and let’s be honest: Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’m overwhelmed. It’s Summit week across the nation and I’m kind of sad that a lot of you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. The Global Leadership Summit is a massive conference executed by the Willow Creek Association. It is held at Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois and there are over 300 satellite locations streaming the conference live today and tomorrow. It is PACKED full of awesomeness.
Last year was my first GLS and it seriously changed my life. That is not an exaggeration. It is truth. 100% absolute truth. Speaker after speaker gets up on that stage and they each blow my mind and ignite a fire of passion in my soul. Sometimes I’m laughing and sometimes there are tears streaming down my face. But I’m always overwhelmed by possibility and this deep yearning to live my life intentionally. Every single moment of it.
At the end of last year’s summit, I promised myself that I would go again this year. In May I checked with my boss to see if I could get that Friday off (Thursdays are already my “official day off”) and she said of course. But then life happened. We took a spontaneous vacation in June and I had surgery in July. I had taken so much time off of work this summer that I didn’t even want to ask to have August 15th off too. The ministry team I work with at my church said that I could go for just Thursday, which was awesome. I was so excited. But I knew myself. I knew if I went on Thursday, it would nearly kill me to miss out on Day 2 of the summit. So I sucked it up and asked my boss for one more Friday off. She said yes.
All of this happened less than a week ago and it has been a whirlwind of a week. I haven’t really had a chance to prepare my mind and heart for the GLS this year. The anticipation wasn’t built up like it was last year. But the excitement…oh. my. gosh. You have no idea. Last night I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve. I knew how much the summit impacted me last year and I was ready. I was expectant.
I am raw right now; it took me quite some time to even dial myself down enough to sit and think. I do my best reflecting when I’m writing, so I’m going to give you a quick recap of…
Top 5 Things That Have Impacted Me During Day 1 of the Global Leadership Summit:
- Bill Hybels talked a lot about vision and the importance of making a “Legacy Play.” Um, can we back track to my blog post 2 months ago when I talked about developing a vision and my desire to leave a legacy? God didn’t miss a BEAT and spoke straight to my heart first thing this morning. Bill talked about how, when we leave this world, a gravestone is what represents our lives: 2 dates with a dash in-between (he’s never seen a U-Haul in a graveyard). He asked a simple yet challenging question:
- Carly Fiorina boldly proclaimed that human potential is the only limitless resource in the entire world. She explained that the role of a leader is to build a framework consisting of vision, organization, metrics, and culture.
- Jeffrey Immelt is the President and CEO of General Electric and he had lots of insightful points to offer during his interview with Bill Hybels. He talked about how it’s not your supervisor or the people you manage who determine where you go; it’s your peers. Your supervisor has to “like” you because he hired you and your employees have to “like” you because you’re their boss. But you have to earn the trust and respect of your peers.
- Susan Cain spoke on challenging the extrovert ideal by revealing the power of introverts. Her talk spoke to me in a unique way. She wasn’t exactly an especially eloquent speaker, but she knew she had something important to say and she knew that she was the best person to say it. So she did. Our culture values extroversion and equates it with “good leadership.” She challenged us to see the strengths in both extroverts and introverts and to create an environment and culture that caters to the needs of each. Group work has its place, but solitude can lead to equal (if not greater) degrees of success.
- Patrick Lencioni was tied for my favorite speaker last year and he made an even more impressive appearance today (the GLS faculty changes every year but they keep asking Patrick back…he must be doing something right). He talked about the most dangerous mistakes that leaders make and he did so with humor that only he could pull off respectfully. One of the mistakes he spoke about was becoming a leader for the wrong reason. The right reason for becoming a leader is the desire to sacrifice yourself for the good of others, even when you know there won’t be a return on investment. He said he’s tired of hearing about servant leadership.
I know it probably doesn’t sound or look like it, but these are just a few tiny snips of what one day of the GLS contains; the nuts and bolts of some very compelling and thought-provoking topics. This won’t be the last you hear of the summit from me. I was hoping to do a “live blog feed” during the lunch break today, but maybe I’ll be able to pull it off tomorrow. Regardless, I can pretty much guarantee you that I will do a more in-depth post about one or more of the speakers over the next few weeks. There’s so much good information and it needs to be processed and shared. Attending the GLS won’t make you a better leader; intentionally applying what you learn will.
My question for you today is the same question Bill Hybels asked me at 10:00 this morning:
What will you do with your dash?
Linking up with Oh Hey, Friday!