If you could ask a successful leader one question, what would it be?
I found myself with that opportunity recently, riding in the passenger seat of a car next to a highly renowned businessman. Just the two of us, and 25 minutes of highway between us and our destination.
You wouldn’t know his name. You wouldn’t recognize his face. If he passed you on the street, there’s no real reason he’d ever catch your attention. But he’s a venture capitalist – a real-life Shark Tank – and he’s made more money (and given more away) than anyone I’ve ever hung out with.
He’s also a Christian.
And while his gifts in business have brought the dreams of countless upstart entrepreneurs to life, his generosity has brought life and hope to countless numbers of people across this globe. I was fascinated, and outside of a few crazy morning drivers, I had his undivided attention.
“Obviously, you’re skilled at what you do,” I brilliantly noted. “But lots of people are good businessmen. What’s your edge? What makes you special? What’s your ‘secret sauce?’”
He paused, took a deep breath, and let the awkward silence hang in the air just long enough to make me uncomfortable. I fought the urge to fill the void.
Finally, he began:
“A number of years ago, my wife and I were watching one of those old, cheesy Bible movies. It was at the point in the Old Testament where God asked Moses to lead his people out of Egypt. I watched as the actor playing Moses argued with God, as he wrestled and toiled in the tension of what God was asking him to do. And as I watched Moses pray and beg God for help, something hit me:
Moses didn’t know the end of the story. He had no idea what was about to happen!
We read the narrative knowing the outcome – the plagues, the people, the leaving, the chase, the Red Sea’s miraculous parting, the provision of daily food in the desert – we know how it all turns out! Moses did not. All he had was that God had spoken and his trust that God would lead.
I decided that was a pretty good way to run my business.
I start each day by asking God to speak, and then I trust He will empower me to go wherever He leads. If I have any kind of secret, I guess that’s what it is.”
That’s some simple, solid advice. I wonder how all of our journeys might change if we committed to do the same?
“Moses answered God, ‘but why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
“I’ll be with you,” God said.
This article was originally posted at The Stone Table, a resourcing community for faith, work, and missions.