3 ABCs: Do You Have the Life & Leadership Keys?

Published on
March 15, 2024

I have written this post in different forms two times in the past. The content I presented in both posts is formative in thinking and reflective of the work I am doing in my book, Living the Connected Life: Soul-Rhythms for Purposeful Leadership. In the book, I lay out my four-part Life Rhythm Model:

  • Relational Rhythms
  • Spiritual Rhythms
  • Physical Rhythms
  • Emotional Rhythms

I am convinced these rhythms are the most essential for purposeful leadership, personally and professionally.

The way each of us live out these rhythms, and others you may find important, is a purposeful endeavor. For each rhythm, I suggest several practices. Some of the practices I suggest reflect my preferences and my personality.

Your pursuit of these rhythms and your practices should reflect who you are, this requires knowing ourselves at a deep level. Self-knowledge is a key to self-leadership, which is what purposeful leadership is about.


Marriage is a normal course of events in many people’s lives. It is traditional for the groom to offer the bride a diamond engagement ring as a token of his love for and desire to marry the woman who has won his heart.

In the diamond trade, the quality of the cut, color, and clarity define the value of the diamond. Clarity in a diamond is hard to obtain. Natural diamonds are created when carbon deposits deep within the earth (approximately 90 to 125 miles below the surface) are subject to high temperatures and pressure. Some diamonds are made rapidly; some are formed over long periods.

It is difficult to think too far down the road in the early parts of marriage. Young love has the clarity of feelings and desire. As the marriage progresses, clarity may become more clouded by life challenges, relational disconnects, and unmet expectations and dreams.

In recent weeks, someone I know asked me if I would explain the importance of premarital counseling to the one they think they love. Of course, I said yes. I am always happy to explain why it is important for prospective marriage partners to undergo a season of learning about each other and the potential pitfalls of marriage.

Over the years, I’ve had too many conversations with new couples who weren’t aligned. They had not done the work of understanding themselves at their deepest levels and considering how differences and challenges may affect their relationship.

Pre-marital counseling is sort of like an author before they begin the book. They will sketch out a storyline, maybe they contemplate how they want the story to end. The writer then goes into the book project with a sense of confidence.

Taking time for counseling allows a young couple to gain a sense of alignment, which leads to boldness and conviction. These three ideas form the framework of the conversation below. Having them in your life will not dictate how the story will end. Still, some sense of direction is helpful. We also need to understand that the end result will invariably be different than what we expect.


It is common in life to say yes to too many things. We live in fear of missing out if we say no. It might be a career opportunity we cannot afford to miss. Perhaps it is saying yes to a speaking opportunity that will allow us to rub elbows with the crowd we want to network with. Or maybe it is saying yes to coaching your kid’s soccer team or joining your neighborhood association.

Sometimes we forget that when we say yes to one thing, there is always something we must say no to.

Saying yes might mean saying no to more time with our family, no to the continuity of staying rooted in a local environment, and no to a deeper commitment to something we feel called to do. Sometimes, we say yes to something that may get us more exposure while also saying no to something that will have more long-term value.

I reposted a Facebook picture of myself in my Navy dress blues for the final time a few days ago. I saluted while being "piped ashore" after my retirement citation was read aloud. This is a long Navy tradition honoring those of high rank as they arrive and depart the ship, honors rendered between ships, honors to Navy war dead, and when a member retires.

Above the picture, I wrote, “I've known too many who sacrificed their families on the altar of their careers. Don't be a rising star whose success outpaces your character.”

Here is the bottom line: Say no more often. In fact, say no more often than you say yes. Saying no takes boldness. Boldness is showing or requiring a fearless, daring spirit. Boldness happens as alignment energizes us, leading us toward this bold spirit.

We can step out in confidence when we know who we are and, as Simon Sinek says, know our why. When I was young, I lacked alignment in my life and the boldness to decide the best direction for my future. I often said yes to wrong decisions and no to the right ones.

If we lack boldness, we say yes too often and take energy away from opportunities to make our most valuable impact. Alignment and boldness help us to say no to the wrong things and yes to the best things, meaning we accelerate our legacy. This leads us to conviction.


Alignment leads to boldness and drives us toward conviction. Conviction is a firm persuasion and belief in our abilities and actions, which is vital for healthy self-confidence and self-assurance. When we feel confident in our convictions, we can make the most significant contributions to the world around us.

Conviction is where we find our true purpose and passion. It helps us stay focused on our goals, even when faced with obstacles and challenges. With conviction, we can make important decisions and take bold actions that align with our values and beliefs. We can say no more often.

Moreover, conviction is contagious. When we are confident in our convictions, we inspire others to believe in themselves as well. We can lead by example and motivate others to take action and make a positive impact in their own lives and the lives of those around them.

It is essential to strive for alignment in our lives and leadership so that we can develop strong convictions and make a meaningful contribution to the world. When we are true to ourselves and our beliefs, we can achieve great things and inspire others to do the same.

Your Turn

Living with alignment, boldness, and conviction requires robust self-leadership. In his book Leading from the Inside Out, Sam Rima writes that many apparently successful leaders lack self-leadership. Said as Sam says it, they lead from a deficit.

Leading with this sort of deficit leads to a lack of flourishing and discontent in our lives.

We as leaders must seek to understand the inner world that drives us. This clarity allows us to move confidently toward a more profound unity at the crossroads of the inner world that guides us and the outer world of our career choices.

Consider this. Are you being purposeful? Are you living with:

  • Alignment with who you were made to be in all aspects of your life?
  • Boldness in the direction of your life?
  • Conviction in the deepest part of who you are?

If you answered no to any of the questions, what will you commit to doing about it?

The above is the sort of thing I am writing about in my book, Living the Connected Life: Soul-Rhythms for Purposeful Leadership.

I’d be honored to walk alongside you on this journey. And I’d love to connect with people who think about and are interested in similar things.

Send me a note or schedule a call. I’d love to hear your story and learn about your interest in my work.

I’d love to share a helpful resource with you. I’ve created a free guide called Your Path to Purposeful Leadership: Dismantling 12 Myths Leaders Face & Revealing Essential Truths.

Connect with me, and I'll send you my free guide.

I’m confident it will make a difference in your life and leadership.

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