There’s nothing quite like proven, reliable experience to help a leader navigate through the toughest of challenges.

But at a recent gathering of the board of The Leadership Centre Willow Creek Canada, I was reminded of an important quality that ‘older leaders’ may need to work at; but which comes naturally to younger leaders.

It’s the ability to see the world through ‘young eyes’.

As our meetings concluded one of the board members closed in prayer by asking God to bless each of these seasoned leaders seated around the table by granting us young eyes with which to view the world.

By this he meant the ability to balance experience with a youthful outlook.

The Kingdom certainly needs wisdom and experience. But just as importantly, it needs the contributions of leaders like you who see the world through young eyes.

If you are a young Kingdom building leader, my plea to you is that as you mature and gain experience that you never lose the fresh outlook that comes with youth.

Because if you can maintain an ability to see the world with young eyes you will have three distinct advantages:

1. You will retain an exuberant optimism. Along with wisdom and perspective, longevity in leadership can also sometimes bring with it a certain jaded cynicism. But when you see the world through young eyes you continue to see possibilities in any situation.

2. You will retain endless curiosity. Years of experience can have the unfortunate side effect of causing a leader to view certain outcomes as inevitable. But continuing to see the world through young eyes creates within you an insatiable curiosity to understand why things are the way they are, and then a refusal to believe things have to stay that way.

3. You will retain stubborn resiliency. Spending years in the trenches of leadership can yield invaluable perspective and understanding. But with young eyes you can add to this an uncanny ability to rebound from failed attempts.

The paradox is that the more experience you attain in your leadership, the more discipline may be required to maintain this youthful outlook.

But right now, as a young leader, you know what it is to see the world through young eyes. Don’t ever forget this. Continue to embrace a sense of optimism, curiosity and resiliency in your leadership.

And as you grow in your leadership, add to these qualities experience, perspective and increasing wisdom

As you do, the Kingdom impact you’ll be able to contribute will be huge.


scott_wpScott Cochrane is Vice President- International at Willow Creek Association.