Last Saturday, I had the privilege and honor of speaking at the LEAD Conference at Gaba Community Church. This was at the invitation of my good friend Apollo Kaggwa and the team that put the event together. Before I go too far, I’d like to celebrate Pastor Peter Kasirivu of Gaba Church and Africa Renewal Ministries. These guys have taken the Church Begins On Monday (CBOM) concept to another level! They have planted more than 400 churches, run several schools plus a university, operate medical facilities and take care of close to 10,000 vulnerable children! Whoa!
Back to my speaking at Gaba, my topic was, Exceptional – why average won’t change your world. Average has become a disease that’s sweeping across our nation, and if you’re not careful, you might catch it! Average people accept their world as it is and that’s why they are average. Exceptional people refuse to accept their circumstances and work hard and smart to turn them around to their advantage and the common good.
When we hear Ronaldo, we think football. When we hear Usian Bolt, we think athletics. When we hear Bill Gates, we think computers (and money, and fighting disease, and…). When we hear John Maxwell, we think leadership. When we hear TD Jakes, we think preaching. When we hear Adele, we think music. When we hear Oprah, we think media. And the list goes on and on. The question is, what should we think when we hear your name? What is the value and values behind your name? Does your life have a Five Star rating?
Then one of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.” (1 Sam 16:18)
Just look at the credentials David had:
- Skillful in playing – SKILLED
- Mighty man of valor – CHARACTER
- Man of war – PROFESSIONAL
- Prudent in speech – LEARNED
- Handsome – WELL GROOMED
- The Lord is with Him – GODLY
Hopefully by now, you are reflecting on your own life and thinking, “what is Jesus saying to me, and what am I going to do about it?” You may not be where you want to be, but thankfully, you can do something about it. I warn you though; a name is not built overnight. Becoming an exceptional person requires a long obedience in the same direction. When you hear, “overnight success”, just know it was a loooong night!
Here are seven things you can do over time to become exceptional:
- Excel at something – Practice, practice, practice and practice, until you become a maestro at something; anything good. one of the challenges of our generation is that we want instant stuff, and do not invest the time it takes to become great. Become one of the greats; whether that’s music, accounting, communication, cooking, whatever – just pick a passion and excel at it. Doors will open for you!
- Become a lifelong learner – Study, study, study. Most people stop learning when they graduate! Unfortunately, that’s when most of the learning must actually begin! Learn from books, courses, people, experiences. I read about 25 books last year (including some audio books). Leaders are learners. You stop growing when you stop learning.
- Get into a growth environment – In the Law of Environment, John Maxwell states that growth thrives in conducive environments. Very good seed won’t bear fruit in harsh environments. Average players excel in great environments, while great players struggle in non conducive environments. Have you heard of Harvest Institute?
- Travel and seek exposure – Get that passport and get on the move. Any direction you take away from home is going to result into growth. There’s a Luganda saying that those who’ve never traveled/visited think their mum is the best cook! It’s a small world now. Go conquer it. The description of an experience will never be as good as the experience!
- Take up the toughest tasks – The road to greatness is full of roadblocks manned by opposing giants. It’s those fearless fellows who are willing to take up the tough tasks that get promoted. Everyone will usually be looking for the easy task. Be exceptional. When David showed up on the battlefield, there were commanders there who had served in Saul’s army for years, but they all feared Goliath. He took him on and in 24 hours, he went from taking care of his father’s sheep to being the commander of Israel! That’s called rapid promotion! Don’t just pray for promotion, earn it.
- Invest yourself in others – “One is too small a number to achieve greatness”- John Maxwell. What distinguished David later on is that he took all the losers in life – those who were discontented, distressed and in debt and turned them into Giant Killers. He invested himself in them. The most important thing a leader will ever do is invest himself or herself in others.
- Spend time with God – “Without me you can do nothing”, said JESUS! Need I say more?
Go and be exceptional, for average won’t change your world!