“Equip (v): supply with the necessary items for a particular purpose; prepare (someone) mentally for a particular situation or task.”
Have you ever shown up for class without a pen? The professor begins to lecture, and there you are frantically digging through your backpack hoping that one has found its way to the bottom just like keys in every woman’s purse. You pull out all of the books, binders, and folders hoping for a better view of a pen that just is not there. Finally, amidst all of your scrambling, rummaging, and panicking, you feel a light tap on your shoulder. “Need one of these,” the person next to you says offering you the Get Out of Jail Free card you so desperately sought to find hiding away in your backpack.
Leadership is not unlike this scenario. When we are called to lead, we have undertaken the responsibility of handing out our extra pens to those rummaging through their backpacks. It becomes our duty to equip them with the necessary resources to thrive in a given situation or circumstance.
From a coaching perspective, we offer training, pre-game/practice speeches, post-game/practice speeches, encouragement, tough love, knowledge, feedback, time, and data to our players to equip them with the skills necessary to compete at their highest potential. Oftentimes, we receive players who have been equipped by previous coaches with skills, and we work to refine and enhance those skills to take them to the next level. Motivational speeches or rally cries also serve as a method for equipping our players with the requisite mental toughness and mindset to handle adversity or pressure that the game may provide.
From a teaching perspective, we offer time, knowledge, supplies, assignments, assessments, evaluations, lectures, tough love, grades, reassurance, and explanations to our students to allow them to gain as much understanding and mastery of the material as possible. We seek to help them grow as intellectuals through trial and error, shared learning, discussion, debate, persuasion, description, storytelling, compare and contrast, and self-evaluation. We are there to build them up, and we are there to offer guidance after they have fallen down. Through it all, we are equipping them mentally and physically for the rigors of life so that they may not only survive, but flourish.
From a parenting perspective, we offer knowledge, compassion, patience, comfort, nurturing, care, forgiveness, discipline, perspective, encouragement, explanation, reassurance, guidance, love, and time to our children to assist them in shaping the beliefs and values with which they will tackle the world. We model the behaviors that we will want them to emulate and instruct/correct them when they have strayed from that path. We are giving them a guiding hand as they develop their own perceptions and views on the world in which they live, so that they are able to grow independent and create their own legacy.
Even if we do not coach, teach, or parent, we are all called to be leaders in some capacity. Our hope is to empower those we influence to make the decisions that lead them to be their best on a daily basis. But, before we empower them, we must equip them with the requisite tools and resources to be prepared to handle any situation or task.
That all starts with giving them your pen.
That pen takes many different forms throughout our day, and as leaders, we should seek to find ways to offer our extra pens in any way possible to make sure all those we lead are properly equipped to go be their best daily. Look for opportunities to lead by recognizing opportunities to serve.
To whom will you offer your pen today?
Bring your best today!