Challenges You Never Expected: The Lie of More

I never thought this before I became a leader, but here’s what I have learned: getting more never solves your problems.

When I think right back to the start of Hope for Justice, I remember saying to our small team - “If I can get just ten more staff, more donors, more projects running, then we will have achieved what we are setting out to.”

It’s the lie of more.

When I started, I thought we need more. We needed bigger. We needed better.

But I’ve realised, once I got to ten staff, I then needed twenty. When we got twenty, we needed fifty. When we got fifty, we needed one hundred.

But the number of staff we have hasn’t resolved anything.

It’s the same for you, some of you may be thinking “I want a bigger house”. I’ll tell you what, when you get a bigger house, you’ll soon be thinking “I want an even bigger house”.

 

The lie of more.

We buy a new car. Then after a few years, the new edition comes out and we want that one.

When we buy an iPhone and the new model comes out. We want that one.

It’s the lie of a generation, that we will be satisfied with more.

Something I have learned is that happy is the man who wants what he has.

The art of being content where you are.

If you are a visionary leader, you are always living in the next. You are always communicating the next.

But your team are living in the now. The reality.

As a leader, there is a danger that in continually living in the next you are constantly perpetuating the need for more.

I remember thinking if we could have two offices in the UK, we will have arrived. We now have six. I am now thinking about fifty. And when we get to fifty, I’ll probably be looking for one hundred.

But the danger is that I don’t celebrate the six because I want the fifty and I don’t celebrate the fifty because I want one hundred.

Do you see this? There are so many visionary leaders who want more, and ambition and vision are also to be celebrated, but not at the expenses of genuine contentment.

You may want a better house, a better partner, a better job, a better life.

Happy is the man who wants what he has.

 

The art of being content.

Great leaders don’t just strive for more but they are able to stop and look around and be thankful for what they have.

They can enjoy the moments.

It’s like going on holiday and spending the whole time talking about what the next holiday might be.

Enjoy the moment.

Enjoy the organisation you are working for now. See the value in the people around you now. Enjoy the kids being young. Enjoy the puppy tearing the carpet to shreds (true story).

It will be different in five years time and you will have missed that moment.

Be a leader that learns to enjoy the moments. A leader that celebrates and cherishes those moments.

This does not mean you can’t be ambitious. But wise ambition enjoys the now and plans for the next.

I believe one of the key ways of unlocking the next is by celebrating the now.

Enjoy the journey.