Traveling the world for over forty years in business, ministry and compassion works, I’ve met thousands of highly successful men. A few have captured my attention by their ability to influence and lead people simply by the largeness of their life. Their success was not based on their position or popularity, those were just results of their influence…for many, they were not recognized men by much of the culture around them – but they were highly successful men in their personal lives.
Their success was not based on their position or popularity, those were just results of their influence.
After many years of building businesses and charities I have come to a fuller definition of what success is…one that I believe is modeled on the life of Jesus, the most successful man in world history. Success is to fully realize your personal design. To become why you were placed on the earth, your God given purpose. To fully engage your purpose is not about money or applause. It is the deep satisfaction that you have given your all to become all that God put in you.
These are my observations—not a comprehensive list of character traits, but the key ingredients that make up the outward expression – seven attributes that will help you full realize the purpose of God in your life – to be a successful man.
Godly character is revealed when a life is examined
Men and nations are not great by virtue of their wealth, but by the wealth of their virtue. Character is always the issue—in family life, marriage, profession, and in our success or failure as a man.
Character is that quality of faithfulness that is most easily seen in what a man will do when he is all alone. Or, what he does when he knows the human consequences are negligible and the options legally permissible, even though they may be immoral, unethical, particularly unrighteous, but he has the choice. That choice is the difference between men who rise to greatness, or men who just live a life.
He keeps his word
This may be the toughest thing to do in business and relationships. Circumstances sidetrack us, other priorities crowd our thinking, we hear negative reports. We trust God because He has always kept His Word…His name is good, because His Word is good. As God’s Word is to Him, our word is to us.
My dad taught me, “A half truth is a whole lie.” And, therein sits the largest issue for us – shadows of truth. Our world operates on shadows and nuances of truth – the Kingdom operates on bright, fully exposed truth. Truth is the result of being fully exposed to His word, so that His truth leans our hearts into truth. The Word of God is not just a guide for living, but a living, breathing exposure of His presence – and the life contained in it will feed your soul, enlarge your heart and calm your mind. It is in the calmness of His presence that truth will gain its deepest roots…then becoming the center of who you are. The Bible says in Proverbs 4, “From your heart will come your life…so guard your heart.” Truth will not only make your heart healthy, it will guard your heart.
Strength comes from a righteous life
Most often we can see this shown in the way a man uses his money. His center compass controls his wallet. The Word says a man’s heart follows his money—that where his money is, his heart is. The focus of his resources is the result of his moral foundation. In contrast to the myopic self-serving spirit of immoral men, the moral spirit reduces stress, produces focus, holds on to convictions and looks outward.
Morality is not based on the standards of a local culture, but on the standards of the Word of God. Raising a standard will most often confuse those around you – cause many to revile you because your standard shows their compromises. But, there is no option.
A moral compass is derived from fully engaging the life of Christ – and engaging His life in you, the presence of the Holy Spirit. A Spirit-led life will always guide you to the right path.
4. Focused Identity
Behavior follows beliefs. Identity produces passion.
Your passion comes from your identity. Identity comes from vision, which is based on beliefs. Your passion will inspire others…but it is your vision that will motivate them. It is your identity that is most under attack. Because from your identity comes your passion for the vision placed in your heart by God.
Every attack on Christ was an attack on His identity – Satan accused, “If you are the Christ…” From identity comes involvement, investment and increase – true in business, true in your family, true in the Kingdom. Knowing your identity produces a heart full of peace. Conflicting messages are resolved. Intimidation is defeated. Distractions are discarded.
Peace is produced by thought patterns that are set in place by prayer. Intimacy with God produces peace in the inner man. Then, the thought becomes father to the deed. A man’s actions come from his heart. A man of peace produces solutions that contain truth. Solving problems for yourself or others produces influence. God has influence with us because He solved our sin problem.
Peace does not panic, so wisdom has a place to land. Wisdom will not come from strife. Wisdom has space to take on momentum when peace is ruling a man’s heart.
Discipline & Focus
The “will to win” is not what wins the game. The game was won long before it was played. It’s the will to prepare to win that wins the game. The willingness to discipline one’s life is the key to a successful life.
The great boxer Muhammed Ali said, “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses—behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” Focusing your life is not about great intensity, it is about living with greater intentionality. Focusing your life is about saying “NO” to opportunities that would distract you from your goals. Not every opportunity is a good one.
Men who take advantage of opportunity are the men who were ready when the opportunity arrived. Preparation is proof you trust God. The great coach John Wooden said, “Failure to prepare is preparation for failure.” Most men who fail, fail because they are not ready when the opportunity came – not because they never had an opportunity. The man who is not moving forward, getting ready – is the man who does not fully trust God.
Maturity doesn’t come with age but with the acceptance of responsibility. In government, what we can’t control we decriminalize. In the church, what we can’t control we rationalize and psychologize…that’s immaturity.
The Highly Influential Man doesn’t need to be recognized or esteemed in public. He acts righteously because it’s what he believes. He is a consistent man… Men of God’s Word are consistent, decisive and strong.
This is a man who everyone knows where he stands. He doesn’t change with the blowing of the wind. He’s consistently the same in heart, spirit, mind and actions. If you make a deal with him, it’s done. His kids trust him, his wife honors him, his friends come to him for wise counsel. Why? His heart is solid. This is a product of a mind centered in the Word of God.
7. He is a FRIEND
Jesus was known as a “friend of sinners.” There is a wide gap between being a friend and just being friendly. Being friendly accepts no responsibility for the other person’s wellbeing. Being a friend accepts the bonds and context of being someone your friends can depend on. A friend is life’s shock absorber.
The power of the life of Abraham, the father of faith, is that he was known as a friend of God. Men who will take on the responsibility of being a friend, of being there to help, of being concerned with another’s well being…they are men of influence.
Being a friend is the core trait of a man who serves…the principle is that you are qualified to lead only to the degree you are willing to serve. Serving is the foundation of influence.