In leadership, as in life, there really aren’t any surprises. As God makes clear in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
Yes, there are surprises in the details. We can be surprised by the specifics of who, when, where, what, and how of what happens. But, if we understand people and the reality of life and leadership from a big picture perspective, we will never be surprised that certain things happen with regularity. In fact, we should always be living and leading in full expectation that these predictable things will happen.
For example, Jesus made it clear that “trouble” will happen in our lives and leadership, (John 16:33). It’s a predictable certainty, and we can and should expect it. However, He also told us that we could be “of good cheer” when it does because He has overcome it and, in Him, so can we. Through Paul and James, He also made it clear that God uses the predictable “trouble” we’ll face to shape our lives and to bring about ultimate good.
Now, for the “So what?!” From my experience, I’ve learned that there are three things we can always expect in life and leadership. In reality, I’ve found that they form the template for what we should expect.
Crisis – events or circumstances will erupt that have the potential to deter, damage, or even destroy us
Challenge – we will face new obstacles and roadblocks to our vision, purpose, values, and goals
Change – successfully dealing with crisis and challenging demands, not only embracing change but that we intentionally create appropriate change
When we understand the predictable certainty that these three things will play in both our lives and leadership, it gives us a huge advantage. We will be ready and prepared for them. We won’t be thrown off course or stride, but we will be able to adjust appropriately to stay on mission. Though the specifics involved in these areas have the potential to cause pain and grief, knowing that they are inevitable realities can help us to live and lead well through them.
I’m curious, what would you add to my thoughts and/or list of predictable certainties?