My mentor Don and I had a great discussion recently. The question we discussed was, “Do you still feel valued and affirmed for what you are currently doing?” I value his opinions and I wanted to gain his perspective on this question, as it is something that I have pondered. I learned during this discussion that servant heart leaders are never done.
During our time Don and I share openly and genuinely with these kind of conversations. Over time our friendship has grown and our conversations continue to become deeper and richer.
As we continued to discuss the question my understanding of lifelong servant leadership became clearer.
Don is a retired pastor who emulates whatCraig Groeschelpowerfully shares in his talk about multi-generational relationships, “If you aren’t dead you’re not done.”
Don is definitely taken an enriching road since his retirement. He continues to make an impact and certainly influences me by demonstrating what it takes to be a servant leader. I have been so blessed to learn from him and tap into his wisdom.
What have I specifically learned to help me in my servant leadership journey?
- To continue to learn and stay current. Don has an insatiable thirst to read, research and study. We frequently share resources, discuss our latest learning and question each other. Our discussions are stimulating and challenging.
- To focus on and spend time building relationships. At church, community functions and with friends Don takes an active interest in people of all ages. He genuinely connects with them and you can always count on an engaging discussion with Don. I feel affirmed and valued when sharing with Don.
- To be a risk taker and move out of your comfort zone. In their late seventies Don and his wife twice ventured out on the mission field in Bali. While in Bali Don served as pastor in a church and was strongly supported by his wife. This is not an easy calling regardless of age let alone when you are approaching eighty years old.
- To have integrity and authenticity. Don has a moral compass always pointing to true north. “There is no gap between intent and behaviour,”as Stephen M.R. Covey points out in The Speed of Trust. Don walks his talk and you know he will keep commitments and remain faithful to his words.
- To be a mentor. Don spends a considerable time selflessly imparting and sharing his wisdom, knowledge and experience as a leader and influencer. He does this with seasoned leaders, growing leaders and aspiring leaders. It is obvious Don thrives in this role when he shares that he learns just as much as those he mentors. As he continues to mentor he continues to positively influence so many others.
The late Bob Buford in his book Half Time states, “That the second half of our lives should be the best half…. a journey to significance.” Buford explains, “My passion is to multiply all that God has given me, and in the process give it back.”
By exemplifying essential leadership traits like humility, persistence, wisdom, patience and genuine caring, Don is clearly on the road to significance and he is definitely giving back to others and building into their lives.
Now, at over 80 years old, Don is nowhere being “done”. In fact, he feels he is just beginning as he patiently waits in the waiting room for what God has planned next. He is a leader and a role model who has a generous servant heart.
I admire Don and I am honoured to call Don my friend and mentor. I am so glad this servant leader is not done.