A number of years ago, Monica and I took a trip to Italy. We traveled with two other couples and visited Florence, Rome and a few other great cities.
If you have ever traveled anywhere in the world with a rich history, you want to make sure you don’t miss a thing while you are there. As we prepared for this trip, we spent some time reading up on this history as well as some of the most popular sites to see. As great as the books were on information, they could not help us much once we got there… seeing everything in a book is much different than being there in person.
What made this trip come alive for us and provide us with a memorable experience, was servant leadership of one of our friends on the trip. She became our guide and she was great. She guided us through the entire trip, making sure we didn’t miss anything, and introduced us to much more than the book ever could. As our guide, she became a part of the journey and the experience – it simply would not have been the same without her guidance.
This is what servant leaders do for us in our life – they help guide us in the journey. My good friend Tim Elmore calls great leaders the ones who are “guides on the side.” How can we become effective guide on the side servant leaders?
Servant Guiders are Prepared. On our trip to Italy, one of the things that made our friend such a great guide is that she had done a lot of preparation for the trip. She had been there before; she knew where to go and what to avoid. Great servant leaders who help guide others are always more effective when they are growing and learning themselves and can help to serve as guardrails in our life, keeping us from going over the edge.
Servant Guiders Share a Passion. Great guides who serve others are passionate about the same “macro” things we are. For example, they share the same worldview, values, or mission in life. Our friend was passionate about travel and the experiences just as we were, as a result she knew what we would connect with and connect to. That’s what great servant guides do – they connect to each other’s passions.
Servant Guiders are Pushers. Great servant guides push others to see what they may not see in themselves, and thus create experiences they may never have experienced on their own. For us on our trip, we would have been fine staying in Florence and Rome. These two areas were familiar and popular, but our guide pushed us into other towns during day trips – ones that were less popular but created some of our most memorable and magnificent experiences.
Servant Guiders are Pullers. Finally, servant guiders not only push, but many times will pull you in the journey. When we visited Italy, we could have moved at our own pace, which would have been slower, based on our limited knowledge of what there was to experience. Our guide was great at pulling us out of our pace, so we could experience as much as possible in the limited time we had. Great servant guiders have to pull us out of comfort and self-imposed limitations in order for us to flourish.
- Are you a great guide on the side? In what ways?
- Who are the great guides in your life? Have you told them how much you appreciate their servant guiding?