There are signs we use as a benchmark to see how well we are doing in life. One of the best examples of this is what is called a pilot’s six-pack. There are six key instruments that all aircraft have in one form or another. These instruments tell a pilot how fast or how slow the aircraft is flying, its altitude, whether it’s climbing or descending, turning, going straight and level in relation to the horizon, and in what direction the aircraft is going. Given the variability of weather and cloud conditions a pilot is able to use these instruments to keep the plane on course and flying correctly.
Whether one is flying a small single engine plane or a jumbo jet they contribute to this thing called situational awareness. The pilot cannot rely on his or her own senses. Some type of outside determination is necessary that looks at all variables and makes an assessment.
The same holds true in our lives. Before my feet hit the floor in the morning I will think about the three areas on which I need to focus to be the best I can be, i.e. the intellectual, the physical, and the spiritual. The intellectual? How will I expand my base of knowledge and, more importantly, how will I exhibit wisdom to others? The physical? Weight translated to BMI, resting pulse upon waking, blood pressure before and after a workout, and overall energy are some of the indicators of the physical. The spiritual? Time spent in meditation communing in prayer and actively looking for opportunities to exhibit what is stated in Galatians 5:22 for the fruit of the Spirit, i.e. love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Through experience I learned that if I fall short in any one of these three main areas I typically don’t have an optimum day. The only question that requires resolution is how will the three be maintained for personal growth throughout the day/week and what that looks like.
In leadership we need to look at the signs that present themselves to assess the condition of our organizations and ourselves as leaders. It makes little difference if people have been to the best management schools or seminaries in the nation or whether they were voted the most likely to succeed or whatever. The proof of good leadership is in longevity because we all know the simple axiom, life is a marathon not a sprint.
Leaders need to identify those areas they can measure themselves. Going back thousands of years there are many attributions of the phrase, “Know thyself,” but the main thrust of the saying is that individuals need to exhibit self-awareness or what I would term situational awareness of the self. Like the pilot’s instrument “six-pack” if you can read your personal leadership signs you can be assured to stay on course and flying right.