Stop Six Thieves Before They Rob You

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How do you prevent yourself from being robbed of important leadership traits?

Today I want to do something a little different. As the new school year launches, it’s so easy to get sucked into the rat race again. Vacations are over, and the hectic fall schedule begins soon. I was musing about this recently, bracing myself for a fast-paced August and September. I often find I “lose” myself during this busy season.

I actually believe there are thieves that steal from us, when we get busy and don’t live our lives intentionally. May I remind you of the greatest thieves, the ones who sneak into our day and steal our passion for the work we do with students? Beware of these thieves in your life; in addition, warn your students about them as well:

 1. Procrastination is the thief of Opportunity.

Opportunity comes to everyone one of us; it may look different but each person faces some potential for good. Sadly, most of us miss that good because we delay preparation and action. Abe Lincoln wisely said, “Good things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

 2. Comparison is the thief of Contentment.

An intern told me that she lives a relatively contented life—until she gets on Facebook—and then, discontentment sets in. Why? Comparison. It robs us of being satisfied with what we have. Benjamin Franklin noted that if all our neighbors were blind, we would want neither fine clothes or fine houses. The same is true for them.

 3. Complacency is the thief of Love.

I no longer believe hatred is the opposite of love. Many times hatred can reverse its passion. Complacency is the culprit robbing us of acting on our compassion or generosity. When I’m complacent, I may feel something, but don’t possess the resolve to initiate anything. Note: the secret of getting ahead is getting started.

 4. Jealousy is the thief of Joy.

Thanks to my mother and my personal faith, I usually experience days full of joy and fulfillment. It’s that wicked emotion called jealousy that thwarts it. When I become jealous, I’m suddenly aware of what I lack, not what I possess; what I still need, not the blessings I enjoy. The jealous know nothing, suspect much, and fear everything.

 5. Self-absorption is the thief of Empathy.

Research tells us that empathy is dropping measurably in our culture. It’s not due to ignorance; we know the needs of our world instantly. It’s due to a narcissism that’s crept into our lifestyles; we care about others but not nearly as much as ourselves. I lack empathy for others’ needs because I’m too busy taking care of my own wants.

6. Fear is the thief of Commitment.

Finally, the greatest reason we fail to commit ourselves is fear: fear we cannot keep the commitment; fear that it’s the wrong commitment; fear that we might miss other options by committing ourselves. The fact is, the quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to a cause, regardless of their chosen field.

May you fasten a lock on yourself to prevent these thieves from stealing from you. Have you spotted any other thieves in your life?

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