After Hillary Rodham Clinton clinched the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States, she noted that her victory was a landmark in American history. She stated that she was standing on the shoulders of many women and men who for many years tried to open the door of equal opportunity for women in the highest levels of leadership in the land. I thought of Secretary Clinton’s comments as profoundly laudable, and then I began to reflect, seriously on what more it takes to be victorious. Six things quickly came to my mind. They might not reflect the path that Secretary Clinton has followed, but I suggest that any leader desiring to make an impact over the long term would do well to think of them:
- Perspective – This is the capacity to focus on a goal with clarity, without distractions. I appreciated a point that Mrs. Clinton made early in her campaign when she said that her intent was to spread love rather than hate. I hope she can recite it often. As a Christian, I daily take note of Jesus greatest words to his disciples “Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44).
- Patience – When other persons are getting agitated the person who can best maintain calm and poise is the person most likely to win.
- Persistence – It is not the lack of ability that many individuals have why they fail, but it is their lack of persistence. Persistence is that capacity to overcome discouragement, opposition, and obstacles of all sorts. Persistence is that capacity to drive ahead, regardless.
- Perseverance – Perseverance is like persistence, but while both words carry the same shades, perseverance allows a person to think of the forward push that goes along with the tenacity that is reflected in persistence. I am not a philologist and not trying to make a dictionary, but I take note of the fact that on the road to victory one is not to give up because one faces hurdles from time to time. If one gets knocked down one needs to get up and go again.
- Pain – Yes, anyone who seeks to lead must understand that pain comes with pushing forward. It has been said, “If you cannot take the heat get out of the kitchen.” In speaking of pain here, I am not so much focused on the physical, l am thinking of mental and emotional pain. In thinking of such pain, I am reflecting on what is felt in the heart of a leader for the conditions that are all around. I am thinking too of the pain that is cause by people who seek to hurt you. Yes, pain comes with leading, but if one can tolerate pain one can stay on the road to victory.
- Prayer – Yes, lets include prayer in the list as tools of victory. I have heard it said, that a person has “won by a prayer,” meaning that they just win “by the skin of their teeth.” And some of Secretary Clinton’s wins were like that, but this is not what I mean, by prayer. I am speaking of the need to turn one’s heart to God like Jesus did when he was under the greatest pressure to turn aside from his path. Prayer is powerful and those who have been some of the most effective leaders in history have confessed of its power. Daniel knew how to pray while he was in the palace of Babylon. The arrogant Nebuchadnezzar was driven to his knees to lift up his eyes to the God of heaven. Queen Esther knew how to pray for the salvation of her people. President Lincoln was evidently a most powerful president because he spent much time on his knees in prayer. Yes, prayer is most important on the road to victory.
My simple question is, what are your tools for victory?