I grew up in a home full of reminders of the brevity of time. My father, a collector and restorer of antique timepieces, filled the walls with clocks of every shape and size.
As a child, I quickly learned the meaning of tempus fugit. As a leader, I embrace the awareness of its reality in every moment.
Time is a non-renewable resource; a fixed asset. If you’re diligent, you can earn more money—but time, once it’s spent—is gone.
Each of us is allotted the exact same amount every day. We either pass through it, or it flows around us—and how we choose to interact with it determines the impact we have.
Which brings me to the point of investing time in work that matters.
Ecclesiastes speaks of a “time for everything under the sun.”
We must invest our time in these four dimensions of leadership:
Invest In Time To Be Strategic
As a leader your vision for the future is what enables you to plan for the success of your endeavors. The Book of Proverbs reminds us to “Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herd.” Even if you’re not a shepherd or rancher, you can take this to heart and be keenly aware of the intentional choices that guide you to your goals in business and in life.
Take Time To Inspire & Be Inspired
It is easy to get into the routine of activity, to the neglect of our heart, mind and souls. We pass up opportunities to be reflective with an eye toward guiding those whom we lead.
The heart of leadership is inspiration and influence; the words and actions that flow from our values express our character and motivation. Take time to nurture your heart and mind, so that when the opportunity to act and lead arrives, you’re prepared.
Identify key opportunities during your day to lead by example. Intentional, day-to-day experiences are the source of stories that will help you amplify your influence as you remember the lessons you’ve learned, and share them with others.
Make Time To Nurture Relationships
Don’t network— build relationships. Invest in your team; spend meaningful time with your clients. Be intentional with serving your clients and leading your team with excellence.
Be transparent and trustworthy in every interaction; and take responsibility for managing the expectations of yourself, your team, and your clients. Follow through on your intentions with action.
The trust you place in your team amplifies your leadership, and enables you to lead well. When you lead your team well, you make it possible for them to manage your client’s expectations.
Know When It Is Time For Action
Well-formed strategic choices, inspirational and influential leadership, and meaningful relationships are validated in the crucible of life.
Once again, Proverbs 24:10 has a lesson: “If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.”
In a deadline-driven environment, there is pressure to act, often with little time for consideration of all possible outcomes. Time creates pressure; unknown expectations and ambiguity create open loop scenarios where we are paralyzed by possibilities of direction.
When we are unclear of our direction and the path to take, we can fall victim to cranial interlock: the inability of our mind to make a decision; to take the next step; of which path to follow.
Plan with an eye for clarity: know when it’s time to act, and when it’s time to reflect and reconsider your options. The leader who masters these principles perceives the pressure of time as a challenge rather than an opportunity for failure.
Tempus fugit. Time flies. Where you invest your time is evidence of what matters to you. Where are you going to spend it for the greatest impact and return?