In Part 1 of The Leadership Journey series, we mentioned a series of actions that we call the Hero’s Journey. This is the journey that every leader goes through. For simplicity sake, we’ll just refer to it as the Leader’s Journey. The journey is divided into 12 steps. In today’s post we’ll talk about step 1 of 12.

Along the way you’ll find questions to think through, journal about, and pray over. The path to leadership always runs first through self-awareness. We’d encourage you to utilize these questions as a guide.

Over the next 12 posts we’ll use the classic story of Moses as an example of how the Leader’s Journey plays out.

Below you’ll find a diagram that lays out the roadmap of the 12 steps. Feel free to refer back to this as a resource going forward.

Stage 1 – The Ordinary Life  This stage refers to the hero’s normal life at the start of the story, before the adventure begins. Ordinary means “with no special or distinctive features; normal.”

In this stage you are comfortable with the status quo.

The hero exists in a normal world, yet he often doesn’t feel he fits in. He is somehow different, possessing characteristics that make him feel out of place, or out of the ordinary. At this point let’s start give some attention to Moses’ journey.

Exodus 2:11 One day, after Moses had grown up,

This is his today, but what about his yesterday that got him here? Psychologist have debated the issue of “nature vs. nurture” in influencing who a person becomes.  For the most part I believe they have settled about “50-50” split.

Nature is often defined in this debate as genetic or hormone-based behaviors, traits, and dispositions, while nurture is most commonly defined as environment, culture, and experience.

In leadership the question is reframed to, “Are leaders born or made?” Let’s look at how Moses’ life and future leadership was influenced.

Moses was the son of Amram and Yochebed of the tribe of Levi, a tribe dedicated to the Lord’s service.  He had a sister named Miriam and a brother named Aaron. Moses was born in Egypt during the period in which the Israelites had become a threat to the Egyptians simply because of their large population. The Pharaoh had ordered that all newborn male Hebrew children be cast into the Nile to drown.

Take a few minutes to think about what your family and your culture was like growing up. This could be forming you as a leader in ways you may not expect.

In order to save his life, Moses’ parents took their newborn son and placed him in a waterproof basket and hid him in the tall grasses of the Nile. Meanwhile, his sister Miriam hid and watched over the baby from a distance. A group of women and servants were bathing nearby. The Pharaoh’s daughter, hearing the baby cry, found and rescued him. She named him “Moses,” meaning “drawn from the water.” Moses, adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter, was brought up and educated as an Egyptian and had a comfortable life growing up in the Pharaoh’s palace.

This was a significant event in Moses’ childhood. It changed the trajectory of his life forever. No longer was he the son of a Hebrew peasant, he was under the care of the most powerful family in the world. 

Take a few minutes to think about some significant moments you experienced as a child. They could be encouraging or affirming moments. They could be difficult or traumatic moments. 

We find out a seemingly obscure piece of information about Moses in the book of Hebrews. It tells us that Moses’ parents hid him for 3 months before they put him in the river. The reason it says, is “because they saw he was no ordinary child.” Moses’ parents recognized something about him. They saw some sort of potential in him before anyone else could.

Maybe someone has seen that in you before as a leader? Maybe you see it in yourself? Has there ever been a time that you felt you were made for more than the status quo? 

It’s not just what others see in us that matters. Its what we believe deeply about ourselves. On the Leader’s Journey you have to learn to deeply believe in your gifts, your purpose, and your calling.

Tomorrow we’ll continue with the next stage in the Leader’s Journey where God begins to push us away from comfort and into a deeper calling.