If a mirror could talk, what would it say? Each and every day we roll out of bed and face the reality of what the mirror possesses. It stares right back at us and through us.
One of my favorite songs of all time is Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson. The song can generate emotions and stir souls. Its lyrics challenge us to start with us, change our ways, and make the world a better place. The chorus says:
I’m starting with the man in the mirror,
I’m asking him to change his ways,
And no message could have been any clearer,
If you want to make the world a better place,
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change,
Mirrors have great discernment. If they could speak, here are four things they would tell us:
You Are Burdened
A mirror tells us that we are burdened. When we look deep into our own reflection, we see the burdens we carry. Most of those burdens are the burdens of others. Our eyes peer into the depths of our souls and our shoulders are tense with the load they carry.
Throughout the song Michael Jackson references burdens, “I see the kids in the streets, with not enough to eat…that there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan…a willow deeply scarred, somebody’s broken heart…a washed-out dream.” The song tugs at our hearts and then asks the question, “Who am I to be blind…pretending not to see their needs?”
Great leaders love and care for the people they lead. This means not only professionally, but personally.
Leaders cannot be, “Be blind…pretending not to see their needs. When our people struggle, we struggle. It’s the nature of prioritizing people and being an empathetic person. Choosing to love and care for our people increases our burdens, but lightens theirs. It’s what Human Leaders do.
You are the Lid
John Maxwell developed a concept called the Law of the Lid. It says, “Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness.”
The mirror reminds us that we are the lid to our own personal growth, which also becomes the lid to our organizations. We all have the ability to grow, the question is do we still have the willingness?
Great leaders take every opportunity to increase the height of their ceiling. Graig Groeschel frequently says during his Leadership Podcast, “When the leader gets better, everyone gets better.” This is very true.
You Are Resilient
Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from adversity. When we walk through dark valleys in life or leadership, we feel like that season will never end. Standing in the midst of the circumstance, it’s hard to believe things are going to be okay in the end.
A mirror produces a simple affirmation…you are still standing. There are people that have walked through more than I can ever imagine in life…abuse, addiction, financial ruin, tragic loss of loved ones, divorce, and some have walked through several of these. I have great admiration for their ability to put one foot in front of the other and keep walking.
We must be resilient in our leadership. People depend on us to not only bounce back from adversity, but do it quickly. Each and every day we see our reflection is a testimony to resiliency.
You Got This
For me, the mirror can be extremely critical. I look at myself and see my faults, my failures, my weaknesses, and my struggles. Mirrors can amplify those deficiencies.
Mirrors can be equally encouraging though. There are many days that I’ve leaned into that mirror, stared the critic in the face and said, “you got this!” Those three simple words can ignite a fire that can carry you through any storm that brews.
Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy used to ask the question, “How do you know if someone needs encouragement?” He would answer it this way, “If they are breathing.” As much as we may think we don’t, we all need encouragement. It’s great when it comes from others, but extremely powerful when it comes from the person in the mirror.
I don’t know about you, I desire to be a better leader. As I read books, listen to podcasts, watch videos, or attend an event, it is extremely easy to apply those lessons to others. My mind can drift into how others can be better and do more.
Here is a valuable lesson. That book, podcast, video, or event was not intended for them. It was meant for YOU, the person in the mirror. If we want to be great leaders and leave a legacy that will carry on for generations to come, pay attention to the person staring back at you. Invest in them, take care of them, and encourage them. That person needs it badly.