Building Below the Water Line

Building Below the Water Line

The scene of sailboats on the water is always breathtaking to me.  As I watch these beautiful boats drift in the ocean, I remember a story about a man who built his own sailboat, and it reminds me of an important leadership principle.  I remember the story like this:

Every day, the sailboat builder spent several hours lovingly and meticulously preparing his boat to sail. He wanted it to look spectacular on the water! He had used the most beautiful and expensive wood he could find for the cabin, and he purchased the best mast and rigging money could buy. The man was thrilled when it came time to set sail. The sailboat was absolutely beautiful sitting on the water, and a crowd had gathered to watch its first launch. The man set out from the harbor, nearly bursting with pride as the sailboat slowly moved out. Suddenly, a wind came up … and this beautiful boat tipped over. The builder of the sailboat was in disbelief.  All of his work had literally capsized!

Has this ever happened to you?  You have worked diligently to make a project happen or you created something beautiful, but it crashed.  We recently built a website and learned after the launch of the site that the “back end” was incomplete; it looked pretty good, but it didn’t function as it was designed to do.   The sailboat builder had spent his time, energy, and money on the boat from the water line up. He forgot that below the water line was the most important part. Without heavy ballast, the boat could not remain perpendicular – even in the slightest wind the boat could not do what it was made to do – sail!  We are the same.  We cannot do what we were designed to do or weather storms without the transforming work to be done in us before we lead others. It is below the water line work. 

As followers of Jesus, we have been given the stewardship of our influence with the primary purpose of glorifying God. (click to Tweet)  We also have a specific purpose in how we complete our primary purpose.  There is a lot at stake — not just for ourselves, but for everyone we influence.  I wish I had the five easy steps to ensure we stay on track to complete our purpose even in the storms, but I don’t. 

What I do know is one step – just one. The personal work to be done in us to lead like Jesus comes through one step; it’s a step that no one else will see except in the results. 

Step one: We choose to set aside time for God. 

That’s it!  It is the one step that transforms you and influences all those around you and everything you do.  The truth is we will never do all the things we were created to do without spending time with the Creator.  The One who created us for a great purpose, Who loves us most, and Who knows our last day before our first began is the One who calls us to be with Him. In being with Him, we become more of who God created us to be – more like Jesus.  It is in being with Him that our best selves are revealed.

Those you influence may not know about the time you spend with the God, but they will see a different you because of it.  As we spend time with God, we come to know Him. We learn that He created us for relationship with Him and for great purpose.  We are reminded that we were “rooted and established” in love, and that it is in His love we live and can lead others.  The foundation of our leadership is built through His transforming work in us and we will complete the custom-made purpose for us even through the storms. 

When was the last time you intentionally set time aside to be with God? 



Phyllis Hendry Halverson

Phyllis Hendry Halverson serves as the inaugural President and CEO of Lead Like Jesus, a global leadership development ministry. Under her visionary leadership, the organization has grown exponentially since its founding in 1999, equipping and empowering thousands of people throughout the United States and around the world to lead as Jesus led. Phyllis radiates passion, warmth, authenticity and wit in every presentation, and as a result, she is a highly sought after speaker, regularly travelling across the U.S. and around the world. Prior to joining Lead Like Jesus, she served for 11 years as President of the National Science Center, Inc., in Augusta, a partnership with the United States Army. Phyllis enjoys spending time with her four children and nine grandchildren.  

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