Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword
In the Mesopotamian age battles were won daily with swords and spears. Kings and their armies would ride into battle with swords drawn. It was their weapon of choice – their strength. However, when the might and abilities of their opponents were greater and defeat looked eminent the King (rather than being captured and killed by the enemy) would commit suicide by falling on his own sword. Thus the meaning of the phrase
Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword
Thus the very strength that allowed Kings to win victories every day could also become the very thing that took their lives. As women leaders there is a similar strength that you possess that can be used in similar fashion. When you maximize this strength you can win victories daily but when faced with defeat or even the thought of defeat it can be the very strength that kills you. The strength I’m talking about here is – CAPACITY. Yes, capacity. Your ability to ability to perform, yield, or withstand. It simple terms your ability to do MORE.
In Bill & Pam Farrel’s book Men are like Waffles and Women are like Spaghetti explains the differences between how men and women handle tasks
Men process life like waffles. They think and act by moving from box to box. They enter a box, size up a single problem, and formulate a solution. Women process life like a plate of spaghetti. Each issue is like a individual noodle that touches every other noodle on the plate. They find it natural to multitask.
God wired women that way and you can find it at work in the recording of the first co-ed leadership meeting documented in the New Testament. While Jesus called his male disciples to leave their jobs, and their families to come follow him it was distinctly different for the women. It’s likely these women maintained their families because of the cultural norms for women of that day but they also maintained their jobs (which having a job in and of itself was out of the cultural norm). Yet these women despite family responsibilities, job responsibilities, and the disadvantage from lack of education (another cultural norm) were busy in Jesus University working along side their male counterparts. Perhaps this difference in male capacity is the reason God said in the beginning “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him.” LOL!
Regardless of why we were made with this supernatural gift of capacity, it can be to used to our advantage – we can LIVE by the sword (this strength). We also have equal chance to die by the sword (the very same strength). It is by our capacity that we can accomplish so much! Yet it is that capacity and our tendency to pile more and more on that can literally kill us. Kill our energy, our mental/physical healthy, and relationships.
Now let’s translate this information into the two categories we will look at regularly for women in leadership – Maximize Potential and Minimize Pitfalls.
Maximize your strength and your potential: In order to maximize your strength of Capacity (that God given ability do more) you must focus your capacity on doing more of the right things. What are the right things you ask? Well that is unique to you. However, regardless of whether you lead at home, at work or in the community you know you are working on the right things when you are fully utilizing your talents and gifts for the most good. You are energized by what your accomplishing – not drained! At home that might be using your talents of teaching to connect with your family in fun and creative ways; building strong, healthy and happy relationships. In business that could be using your ability to connect people inside and outside your company to maximize profits and reduce expenses; in the community it could be your ability to rally resources through your connections to serve more hurting and broken people.
Minimize your pitfalls: In order to minimize your chances of pitfalls you must always be cognizant of the fact that having the ability to “DO MORE” doesn’t mean you need to DO MORE. In fact, when it comes to tasks that are not in your area of gifts or talents, tasks that drain you of energy and enthusiasm, tasks that when held up next to your goals really don’t matter in the big scheme of things – in those things you need to actively pursue doing LESS! When I say actively pursue doing less – I mean looking at your to do list every day and ask yourself – What do I need to do less of today so that I can maximize my capacity of doing more of the great stuff I was created for?
And don’t forget to look at the team you are leading. Are they living by their swords or dying by them? Take a minute to encourage them to maximize their strengths and open their eyes to potential pitfalls. Help them accomplish more by doing less.
As a leader it’s your time to chime in. How do you maximize your strength of capacity? How do you minimize your pitfalls?