from the desk of…Excellence in leadership
By Tim Foley, Major
Someone once said that the difference between the impossible and possible lies in a person’s determination.
I have always felt my first year in any of my appointments seemed like an impossible task. During my first year on the staff of the College for Officer Training (CFOT), I felt I was just staying a half step ahead of the cadets. Attempting to write course lectures, learn the nuances of the system and life in community was challenging.
At CFOT we have no time for excuses as we begin this year with historic numbers in our population. Our staff is busy putting hand to the plow. Tilling the soil of the soul. Working the ground of the heart. Planting the seed of the word of God. Pulling the weeds of sin that have popped up. Pruning the branches that need trimming back. Maintaining the standards of both policy, procedure and theological sanctity while upholding the disciplines and rigors of training.
I am not normally a big fan of most of the Olympic events outside of the time in which the games are held. Recently my sleep pattern was interrupted as I watched the games with great fascination late into the evening. Even though I knew the results ahead of time, I would still marvel at the way all of these athletes have devoted themselves to their sport.
One of the commentators said that none of these athletes train to come in second place. They all train to win the gold medal. It takes discipline and a commitment to do their best, day in and day out. It also takes the support of family, friends, coaches and teammates to make it happen.
When I was watching the women’s marathon, a commentator mentioned how the woman running with the top qualifiers at the end was in fourth place just about 200 meters from the finish line. He said it will be difficult for her to live with herself for the rest of her life for coming in fourth place. She was committed but didn’t have what it took in the end to win a medal.
At Crestmont I have challenged our officer and employee staff to pursue excellence in their leadership. This must be shown to the cadets, day in and day out, in our commitment to the tasks at hand. We are not training the cadets to finish in fourth place. We are not training them to rise to the level of mediocre living. We are pushing them to godliness. We are guiding them to Christlikeness. We are showing them what it takes to be effective officers.
The Apostle Paul writes: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving (Col. 3:23-24 NIV).
We want to turn out a quality product. It’s easy to expect, and even demand, excellence from those we lead. But if you stop to think about this for a moment, where does excellence from those who follow us find its inspiration? Psalm 78:72 And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
The excellence falls back on the shoulders of every one of us. May God give all of us the strength not to settle for mediocrity in anything we do, but may we determine to be the leaders and followers of Jesus Christ who exhibit excellence in all that we say and do.