Do you recall a childlike curiosity and desire to ride up to the very last level of an elevator to see what was on the top floor?
Just when did you become so politely satisfied in merely going up to second floor? (Because that’s where you work, day in, day out). Do you ever have a thought of finding out what may be on the next level?
John Maxwell in his classic leadership book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership talks about the Law of the Lid. By this he means that we all have a capacity of influence tightly defined by the height of the lid (or cap) upon our potential.
Until we decide to lift it, by serving ourself.
Yes, I said serving ourself. By being all we can gloriously be as a person fully whole. Only then do we serve others fully.
What is this lid?
It could be a thousand and one different things, something uniquely frustrating and obstructive for each one of us. Just as our unique genius adds its distinctive characteristic to our creative potential, our unique lid is that combination of experiences, beliefs, values, mind sets and ultimately habitual behaviours that direct the course and impact of our lives.
However the Lid is a variable we can play with!
Back to that elevator.
Upon entering, you punch the button number floor level of choice and ride!
What decides your floor of choice? Your duty, obligations, time pressures, your needs or just possibly your curiosity, playfulness and aspiration?
Years ago there was a sitcom, very popular in the UK, called “Are You Being Served?”. Set in a the 1970’s, within an old fashioned haberdashery store of a department shop each episode’s opening credits were set to the “ching”of a cash register and the elevator tannoy as the doors slid apart.
In the first moments of each episode the regular shop attendants entered one by one through the sliding lift doors with a dramatic story to tell of their journey to work that day. Through the rain or on the bus or having dealt with a pet-related or boyfriend catastrophe before leaving home they all had an adventure to report.
For all their hapless escapades, this motley crew delivered a level of customer attention unmatched by todays’s standards. Whether a customer asked nervously for a “brassiere” sizing or an inside leg measurement, nothing was too much trouble!
Unfortunately, despite their very best efforts in customer care, each of these characters emitted a frequency that simply didn’t serve them, nor ultimately the interests of the lacklustre family business. They could not see that they were failing their customers because they were serving up a far inferior version of themselves.
All this reminiscence is simply to point out one thing. We are all “on hold” within our particular context and routine until we become curious, dissatisfied or outright frustrated with OUR own personal impact upon our lot.
And I suggest that unless you are utterly content with the way things are, the success or influence you enjoy, you might want to ride a little higher to the next level of life in this journey or elevator.
Are you or your clients being served by your current capacity in this journey of life?
As business people, in the service or ministry sectors it is vital to understand the power of servant leadership and the dynamic we release when we exude genuine interest and care for those we lead. However, I am a firm believer that “if it’s not IN us, it won’t go THROUGH us”.
Enlarging the capacity to inspire and attract the right people and resources has been a personal endeavour of mine which I feel is only just beginning to lift my own lid. It is coming about not because I am working harder or smarter or even being kinder or more generous. It is because I am finally understanding the counter-intuitive power of serving myself, investing in skills, gifts, comprehension and strategy.
Without serving our true, hungry, appetite for more of life we diminish ourselves. We continue to serve up an inferior image of ourselves. We are not actually serving others, we are doing themselves and ourselves a disservice. We remain at ground level with all the limited choices and exposure entailed.
I want to ask you today exactly what you are doing to nurture your sense of adventure and appetite, to lift your lid of life and to grow?
If you can grasp the importance of serving yourself, only then can you have a quality of life worthy of serving others.
What do I mean by serving yourself? I mean to take time to understand, attune to and then provide the nurture that you particularly need to be the best YOU you can then be for others. Only by this kind of self honouring can you export the quality your particular world needs from you!
As one of my favourite speakers says ” Be the BEST YOU you can be, everyone else is taken”!