I Googled you when I heard that you were coming to Nigeria!
I would admit, I am guilty of “googling” people to learn more about them. Especially when I initially meet people, I find myself spiraling down the black hole of the internet – LinkedIn, Facebook, news articles, even Wikipedia if they have a page. But when you discover that someone has googled you, it seems strange and a little intrusive…I know, double standard. But that’s the age we live in…
A few weeks ago, I was traveling with some IRI colleagues, two from Washington, D.C. and one from the Nigerian office when somehow, we got on the topic of leadership. My Nigerian colleague said, “Sentell, there was something you recently said about leaders serving others and building relationships and it really stuck with me.” I was amazed that she was quoting me but I did not remember having the conversation with her. After she finished, I asked, “When did I say those things because I don’t remember it.” She looked at me and smile and said, “well, maybe you didn’t say those things directly to me but when they announced that you were coming to Nigeria, I googled you and ran across an interview you did and you were talking leadership.” I laughed because I was surprised that she had googled me but I confessed that I often google people too. She continued on to say that she was impressed with what I had said because especially after working with me for the past eight months, she could see that I was a man that put his words into action. I was honored by what she was saying and what stuck with me from the conversation was people are always watching you and looking to make sure what you say is how you live your life.
Like many people, I have read numerous leadership books and followed the lives of successful people. But Moses is one of my favorite examples of a leader. He was chosen by God to lead God’s people out of Egypt and eventually to the Promised Land. You would initially think that if God called Moses to leadership, God would ensure that the people leaned on his every word. However, Moses encountered unruly followers, survived an attempt to overthrow him as a leader and never fulfilled the vision of reaching the Promised Land.
Exodus 17:2 “So they quarreled with Moses and sad, “Give us water to drink.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”
Exodus 32:1 “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, makes us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
Numbers 14:1-4 “That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in the desert! Why is the Lord bringing us to his land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
In today’s terms, Moses would be considered failed or at least an inept leader. People would not be lining up to purchase his book on leadership, he would not be invited to share his advice on CNBC and he would not be cutting the ribbon at his new leadership institute. But in God’s eyes, he was the right person at the right time. There is so much we can take from the life of Moses. Moses was an unorthodox leader, especially when compared to today’s criteria for leadership. I was once told that God does not call us to be successful but to be faithful. Moses was a man of faith and even when he realized that he would not be the one leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land, he kept the faith and followed God’s instructions.
I also have to thank my dear friend Carlos for providing me with the platform to express my leadership principles. He also made me feel young by referring to me as a millennial. Carlos is an enterprising and entrepreneurial individual and I am sure God has great things in store for him and his family. He was a stable and insightful voice during a difficult time in life and I am delighted to call him friend.
The link to the interview… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orsLVooY7_U