Great leaders tend to be busy people. If they are not busy in “doing”, they are probably busy in thought. Their time and wisdom is at a premium.
Success principle for today: make the most of the time you have with a leader when the opportunity arises.
They say the opportunity of a lifetime must be seized — as in arrested, capitalized upon, stopped! — in the lifetime of the opportunity.
So, there was this guy I just had to meet …
A few years ago, I flew to Colorado to meet a high-profile leader. At the time I was in vocational ministry, and this guy was really influential.
I sent this man an cold-contact email (we had never met or spoken before) and told him I’d be willing to take the cross-country flight for just 30 minutes of his time at any point he would be available. Yes, that’s right … I valued his expertise and wisdom that much.
I knew he could potentially change my life in 30 minutes.
Long story short, he invited me out west to attend a conference he was hosting, our 30 minute talk went on for nearly an hour, and I got the opportunity to speak to him an additional time towards the end of the conference. I received more wisdom in that near one-hour of personal time than the entire conference.
I received much from that small block of time because I prepared to maximize it. A few things to consider:
1. Have good, no great — questions.
This allows you to make the most of an impromptu meeting with a leader. You need them more than they need you, so it falls on your shoulders to ask questions that draw out the wisdom in them. If you could sit down with ____, what would you ask? Figure it out now so you’ll be prepped when the opportunity comes.
One of the questions I asked this leader, “If you could start all over again, what is the one thing you would do differently?” He said, “Wow! No one’s ever asked me that before! That is so good!”
2. Get writing.
Use your iPhone, iPad, notebook, anything–it shows the leader that you honor their time and wisdom. They can impart something to you in just a few words that can revolutionize your life.
If you don’t take notes with a particular leader the first time around, chances are there won’t be a second.
Failing to document makes the leader feel like their wisdom is falling on deaf ears. Make sure you demonstrate your attentiveness through action.
3. Show gratitude.
You can never go wrong in showing thanks. After my meeting out west, I purchased a $50.00 Starbucks gift card for this man. Though I verbally thanked him after our meeting, I wanted to show my appreciation in a greater way (without being stalker-ish!).
This is not sucking-up, it’s honor.
I needed that one hour of his time more than he needed me. $50.00 was a small price to pay because the principles I learned from that meeting will affect the many people that I work with.
Question: What are some lessons you’ve learned from 1-on-1 time with a leader?
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