These days essential oils are all the rage. Whatever ails you – there’s an essential oil for that. While essential oils are incredibly popular right now, they are not new. In fact, the Chinese, Egyptians, Indians, Greeks, and Romans all used various forms of aromatherapy thousands of years ago.
Essential oils are touted to improve depression, anxiety, stress, infections, circulation, mood, sleep, migraines, immunity, and so much more! Even more surprising, scents like lemon, jasmine, or lavender can increase productivity, concentration, and help you make fewer mistakes! And they smell good too! Some of my favorite essential oils are vanilla, tangerine, and eucalyptus just because I like how they smell!
Even though our sense of smell pales in comparison to animals, humans are able to detect one trillion different scents. Did you know that women tend to have a better sense of smell than men? And you might be surprised to learn that you can smell fear and disgust and that your scent cells regenerate every 30 to 60 days!
Smells have the ability to reconnect us to memories, both positive and negative, evoking powerful emotions. Smells like baking cookies or bread might trigger happy memories of baking with grandma, while the sterile hospital smell might bring back memories of a time you’d prefer to forget.
And of course, there are those downright offensive smells -think skunk, sweaty humans, or your house after baking fish -that we naturally want to avoid! After all, scents tend to linger!
Essential oils are super concentrated scents. It takes a whole lot to produce a small amount, which is one reason they can be a bit pricey. Did you know it takes…
50 pounds of eucalyptus leaves to produce 1 pound of eucalyptus oil
150 pounds of lavender to produce 1 pound of lavender oil
250 pounds of peppermint leaves to produce 1 pound of peppermint oil
500 pounds of rosemary leaves to produce 1 pound of rosemary oil
1000 pounds of jasmine flowers to produce 1 pound of jasmine oil
4000 pounds of Bulgarian roses to produce 1 pound of Bulgarian rose oil
75 lemons to fill a 15 ml bottle with lemon oil
28 cups of peppermint tea to equal 1 drop of peppermint essential oil
Leaders are a lot like essential oils. Leaders are highly focused goal minded individuals – concentrated. And because of that concentration, their scent lingers. In the same way that scents trigger powerful memories, leaders often tap into the memories of those they lead by reminding them of someone in their past in a positive or negative way.
So, that begs the question: as a leader, how are the people you lead experiencing you? The aroma you leave behind either enhances or hampers your leadership. It doesn’t matter if you lead at home, work, or in ministry, your character, what you stand for, and how you make others feel in your presence is important.
Over the years, I’ve worked with some amazing leaders who vividly conveyed vision, believed in me, and gave me the freedom to explore innovative ways of doing things. Moments with them left me inspired and excited about the possibilities.
I have also worked with leaders who successfully conveyed vision, even believed in me, and yet working with them was frustrating and discouraging. Moments with them left me pretty unmotivated!
Almost four years ago, I had the opportunity to hear Michael Hyatt speak while attending a CCI Coaching conference in North Carolina. For those unfamiliar with Michael, he was the former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. He is a professional blogger, New York Times best-selling author, speaker, and an expert on social media. His blog consistently ranks in the top three for Productivity, Leadership, Publishing and Social Media Marketing. His credentials are impressive, and the aroma he left behind was delightful.
Leading up to the conference I looked forward to hearing Michael speak. I regularly follow his blog and have read his book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. Still, there were questions in the back of my mind. How would this noteworthy man reflect his faith? Would I still appreciate his expertise in the same way him after meeting him? The answer: a resounding YES!
Here are six sweet qualities about Michael that lingered with me:
1. He makes God a priority
To lead well, you must consistently take time alone with God and be in His Word. In order to do the big things God has called us to do, it is essential to diligently seek Him for direction, courage, help, and wisdom. When we don’t, the scent we leave behind gives us away.
2. He treasures his family
Leaders often devote more time and energy to their work than they do to their families. As Michael talked about his wife and five daughters it was clear this was not true for him. Michael’s wife Gail was with him at the conference. It was obvious by their interaction that they adore each other, are committed to each other and support each other. He described how over the years when they faced difficult times they were in things together – even if they had to “live in a cardboard box.”
3. He was willing to admit failure
Leaders make mistakes. It takes a confident leader to admit them and take responsibility for them. Two things he shared about failure:
- You must fail your way to success.
- Accepting responsibility for failure allows you to see the possibilities for a different outcome.
4. He was generous
He strongly encourages others to start with “Wow” and to over-deliver. That’s just what he did. He was generous with his time and with his content.
5. He was humble
Michael took the time to mingle with the coaches during breakfast, signed many books, graciously answered questions, and shared vulnerably as he spoke. He did not shy away from sharing how slow the path to success was with his blog.
6. He believes in coaching!
Over the years, Michael has worked with several different coaches who have helped him in significant ways. In his words, “If you want to go further faster you need a coach!” That was music to my ears! How can a coach assist you in getting “further faster?”
What lingers after time spent with a great leader should motivate you to be a better leader. It should challenge you and open your eyes to new possibilities. Four years later, the scent that lingers is still an energizing and inspiring one! A little like a blend of some of my favorite essential oils -that’s the kind of lingering aroma I’d like to leave!
What lingers as you lead at home, at work, or in ministry? How do people feel after spending time with you?
© Can Stock Photo / Olyina