Category Archives: courage

When it’s scary… don’t look down.

staying on Higher ground

Those on Higher Ground will make courageous decisions

Excerpt from: In search of Higher Ground

There are many lessons to be learned from individuals throughout history who have displayed great Courage. From the forefathers who founded this country as, “One nation under God,” they had Courage. To the many men and women in the armed forces who have given their lives for their country, they have had Courage. For the Firefighters and Police Officers who have given their lives to protect and serve others, they have had Courage. For entrepreneurs, dreamers, and  inventors who have shaped  our country’s free enterprise, they have had Courage. For the great leaders our nation has and have had in the past, they have had Courage.

Courage is a great thing! For anyone who has a personal Higher Ground, courage is not an option, it is a must. Whatever mountain you are climbing, whatever dream you are dreaming, Courage must be something that is placed in your backpack as you journey up to this place we have called Higher Ground. Courage is what causes you to blast through the obstacles and opposition you will face. Courage keeps you going when nothing else will. It is the antidote to your fear and the prescription to your insecurities. Your success in life will be marked by the amount of Courage you have. Without Courage this country does not have freedom. Without Courage this nation does not have peace. Without Courage, electricity would not have been discovered, cars would not be driven, and airplanes would be a word that would only be foreign to you and me. Without Courage television would not have been made, Disneyland would have never existed, companies would have never began, and a man would have never walked on the moon. Courage built our country and it will build your dreams and help you reach Higher Ground.

In my own life, Courage is what has kept me going when facing different obstacles and pressures. Many times fear grips my heart and uncertainty of the future causes me to doubt, but it is Courage that keeps me going. Courage at the very core is always the same. What I mean is that it does not matter who you are or what dream you are attempting to live out, there is a kind of Courage that is necessary for everyone. The kind of Courage I am speaking about is the same kind necessary to be the President of the United States in times of crisis. The same kind of Courage that an owner of a company must have when facing difficulty. The same kind of Courage necessary for you to reach your highest potential or for you to make a dream a reality. Let me break it down for you and show you how Courage is lived out for someone like you who is seeking Higher Ground.

As I have mentioned before, the church where I Pastor is in the middle of a building project. Anyone who has been part of any building project knows that there are several challenges that are faced each day. One of the greatest challenges is finances. A great deal of money is necessary to buy the land and to build. A church is a non-profit organization so raising funds can become very difficult. Finding lenders who will finance your project can become extremely difficult.

There have been many times that we have continued our journey even though we could not see the road in front of us. Hiring architects and engineers before we owned the land, because we knew that for various reasons we needed to move quickly. Moving forward with our permit process without having all the financing in place. The list goes on and on of various times in which the road was unclear, but we needed to move forward. That’s where Courage comes in. Courage to move forward even when things are a little unclear. Most people make the mistake of waiting until there is no risk involved before they proceed. They create the largest safety net possible and wait for all questions to be answered before continuing their journey up the mountain. I agree with President Lincoln when he said, “Good things come to those who wait, but only what’s left over by those who hustle.”

Every great leader, dreamer, inventor, founder or Higher Ground seeker has to have the courage to make the tough decisions. Sometimes we are blessed with the luxury of waiting, contemplating, and seeking advice. Other times the decision must be made immediately and you have to have the courage to make it. That is not an easy thing to do, because no one wants to be wrong. However, the reality in decision making is part of the process for anyone who is on the road to Higher Ground. It has been recorded that former President Eisenhower nearly blew it on D-Day because of his fear to make a tough decision immediately. Before his decision to react he was quoted as saying, “No matter what the weather looks like, we have to go ahead now. Waiting any longer could be even more dangerous. So let’s move it!” He proved himself a great leader when he made the toughest decision in his military career and he made it quickly.

Throughout my life there have been tough decisions that had to be made. Sometimes I was right but often I have been wrong. That’s part of decision making, you gather the information you can, seek the advice that’s available, and you make the decision with courage. I have found that the right decision can become wrong when it is made too late.

Edmund C. Lynch, the founding partner of Merrill Lynch, said, “If I made a decision fast, I was right 60% of the time. If I made a decision carefully, I’d be right 70% of the time, but it was always worth it.” You are not always going to be right. When you are wrong, admit it. Correct it if possible and move forward, but do not be afraid to make the next tough decisions that comes your way. T. Boone Pickens once said, “Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader. Don’t fall victim to what I call the ‘ready, aim-aim-aim-aim syndrome.’ You must be willing to fire.”

Years ago, I was put in one of those situations where I had to make a tough decision. The decision centered around the standards that need to be lived out by my staff and leaders. As I shared these guidelines with my staff and leaders, it was received well by most, however, there were one or two individuals who struggled with the guidelines. They met with me and shared their opinions, but I knew in my heart the decision I made was the right one. Looking back, I would have made the same decision, but I would have approached it differently. Unfortunately, one of the individuals left my leadership and the organization as a whole. I deeply regret this person’s decision because I care for them and enjoyed their contribution to the team. Tough decisions are part of being a leader and part of the journey toward Higher Ground. Bill Marriott Sr. expressed his view of decision making by saying, “Men grow making decisions and assuming the responsibilities for them.” Be willing to admit when you are wrong, but never lack the courage to make the tough decision.

David Mahoney said that the worst mistakes he ever made were because of the decisions he failed to make. In 1966 he was the head of Canada Dry. The stock was selling at a low price of $11 per share and with about 2.5 million shares outstanding, he could have bought the entire company for $30 million. About twenty years later, he would have been worth about $700 million.
The decisions a person seeking Higher Ground has to make will include:
• FINANCIAL,
• PERSONAL,
• STAFFING,
• VISION,
• MISSION,
• HIRING,
• FIRING,
• RISK TAKING,
…and the list goes on.

You gather the information possible, seek advice when available, but don’t be afraid to make the decision necessary. Courage to make the tough call will quickly mark you as a leader or follower, it will separate you from being a dreamer to being a doer, from a mountain observer to a mountain climber.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“If you wait to do everything until you’re sure it’s right, you’ll probably never do much of anything.”
– Win Borden

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