Here is a guest post by Matt McWilliams. Matt is an author, motivator, and thought leader.
He writes daily at MattMcWilliams.com on life, leadership, love, and more. He has learned everything the hard way and sees failure as a catalyst to success. You can follow him on his blog and on Twitter.
God, grant me the serenity…
Those are famous words from the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr. I was praying this prayer a few days ago and halfway through it hit me that this prayer was made for leaders.
So I rewrote it and out came the “Leader’s Prayer for Serenity.”
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As leaders, we often worry about the things we cannot change, like the economy, our team members’ personal lives, or what the competition is doing. This worry is crippling. So much so that we cannot focus on the things we can change (ourselves, our company culture, our modeling to others).
This prayer is all about asking God to allow us to focus only on what we can change, even while the world around us may spin out of control.
If you are a leader, you would do well to prayer this daily.
34 thoughts on “The Leader’s Prayer”
Thanks for this Matt & Chris! I’m definitely humbled by reading this.
“remembering always that my team comes to work each day with problems of their own…weaknesses…strengths.
It’s so easy to forget that everyone’s got their own baggage (including myself). If people don’t express their hardship, we tend to think it doesn’t exist. It’s just not the case.
Our teams and our leaders all deserve some grace. I will try to bring a cup of it to work today. Thanks!
Love it Bob!
Not only grace, but also the ability to best utilize them.
I have to share something with you. Today, the first thing that happened to me is that a co-worker came to me in rage.
He wasn’t mad at me, but at several other departments failure to perform. This guy usually keeps his cool, but came to me first with his anger because he knew I could help guide him.
I’m sure this prayer helped me this morning. It would have been easy for me to tell him to express his rage. Instead I told him to approach them expecting the best and help the team to learn from the experience, remembering that we don’t know what they are dealing with.
I tempered my response with humility and grace. Something I’m not always good at. God was with us today!!!
Bob, that is awesome. Thank you for sharing!
Wow, powerful stuff. I think the idea of “taking, as Jesus did, people and events as they are, not as I would have them” speaks most loudly to me. It’s not a perfect world, so I need to just accept what I’m given for the day and work with that. Great thoughts Matt!
It’s hard because I want everyone to be like me. It would be easier that way…but also incredibly boring.
I’ll always be short of being like you Matt, by about a foot.
You and Skropp.
I’m not as short as Lilly….
Wow, Matt. That was brilliant. That really speaks volumes, not only for leaders, but for team members alike. Accepting each other’s downfalls for the individual talents and strengths is a great first step for any group of people who want to move toward and succeed…together!
The original prayer is excellent. I never thought about it but it’s very QBQ-esque…accept others and don’t try to change them, focus on myself, rely on God. Yeah, that should work. 🙂
QBQ on the brain this week?
You’re exactly right, we can only be successful when we focus on ourselves, not others.
In lieu of CLo, BAH!
Love this, Matt. I especially like the message to not judge and be understanding.
Very rarely does anyone come into work without something going on in their lives, good or bad. We can either wish that weren’t the case or accept it as a reality and do what we can with it.
“… taking people and events as they are, not as I would have them…”
“Trusting my business to your care…” is my favorite part. Thanks for this Matt. Very inspiring!
Like most of my prayers, hard to accept, but true.
“enjoying the process of improvement and growth” – This is so evident as a visual artist!!
Thank you for this, Matt!
Glad you got something out of it Jana…pray it daily…it works!
I like the whole thing, but this is the part that spoke most to me:
“taking, as Jesus did, people and events as they are, not as I would have them,”
So true, we seem to naturally project our own views, interested, and priorities on others…and all that does is set up us–and them–for failure!
As I said elsewhere, that is my favorite part, but also the hardest. Kind of like praying for more patience…we want it but do we really want to be tested?
For me living one day at a time is the most difficult. I get so caught up in either worrying about what is to come, or being frustrated about what has happend that I miss whats happening right now. Im gettin better at it, but that’s the part that stuck out to me. Its so important if we are going to be good leaders and successful.
Well said Mark!
Being present and future-focused is hard, but a big win.
the reminder,”living one day at a time” we plan so much, we tend to forget to enjoy today and people that are in it!
“people and events as they are, not as I would have them.” Truly a beautiful prayer. Thank you for sharing it!
Thank you Dale!
Until the recent death of my daughter and as as a visionary, I used to live 5 years out and sometimes forget that God has tasks for me today. I still make plans and vision/dream, but now I wake up everyday and ask, “What do you want/need me to do today, Lord?”
We are not guaranteed tomorrow (or even this afternoon for that matter!). So I grab onto “Living one day at a time.” Thanks again! Todd
I just read about your daughter Todd. I am so sorry.
But you are totally right that it reminds us of the fragility of life. One day at a time is the only to live.
Have you heard of Steve Berger? He is a pastor in Franklin, TN at our old church, Grace Chapel. He and his wife wrote a book about their experience with their son Josiah going to heaven after a car crash. It is a powerful book.
Here is the link to the book. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1936355035/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1936355035&linkCode=as2&tag=legalearsyst-20
Todd – my thoughts and prayers to you – nothing – NOTHING compares to the loss of a child. My husband lost his son a few years ago – and you are so right – it wakes you up to the reality that you only have NOW – the precious present – and if there is something you feel God wants you to do, say, write – do it now. Because that is all we have. Thank you for sharing – a stirring reminder to me of this truth.
This is great! Thanks, Christ and Matt. I read this last week when this was posted, but then when I was reading it again today, I began seeing that this can apply to families as well.
What a beautiful prayer – and what speaks to me? “The courage to change the things I can – MYSELF….” and remembering that my team “comes to work each day with problems of their own….” Thank you for sharing .
One more thing – At one of our team building events, a business coach asked each of the team to share about the worst day of their life. I can tell you there wasn’t a dry eye in the room – some of the team heard things about their teammates that they had no idea they had gone through – just reaffirming what you said – everyone has problems of their own. Recognizing that and showing grace to the team. But the team has been closer since that exercise – thanks again.