The Law of Sacrifice is the 18th of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. It states that a leader must give up to go up.
Leadership comes at a cost.
The history of great nations shows that behind their greatness are men and women who are willing to pay the prices others won’t pay.
Some few names have become synonymous with the Law of Sacrifice: Jesus Christ, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Arland Williams, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, to name a few.
The Law of Sacrifice sets Nelson Mandela apart
Six years before Nelson Mandela was born, the African National Congress (ANC) was founded in 1912.
Their goal is to realize a non-racial and democratic South Africa and unite the African people against white minority ruling.
Although ten leaders had led the ANC before Mandela, today Mandela has become synonymous with the ANC.
But what sets Mandela apart from his predecessors? Arguably, his obedience to the law of sacrifice.
He gave up 27 years of his life to free South Africa from Apartheid rule, and end the racial segregation that had lasted for 300 years.
Prior to his release in 1990, he was offered a conditional release from prison, but he refused.
For Mandela, it’s no use to be free if his people will still be in bondage. He will not settle for anything less than an unconditional release.
What Mandela’s captors did not know was that “jail could not capture him, no more than release from jail could not set him free, for he was always free.”
How about you? What are you willing to sacrifice for the people you are responsible for?
As a parent, do you eat first and then think about your kids later?
As a teacher, do you go above and beyond the call of duty to give your students the best?
If you are a clergy, are you living a flamboyant life at the expense of the laity?
If you want to go up the next rung in the ladder of leadership, you must be willing to give up something, it is the law of sacrifice.
Sacrifice is the heart of leadership
On January 13, 1982, Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the freezing Potomac River just outside Washington, D.C., killing 78 people.
Six people initially survived the crash, but one man later drowned after helping the other five to escape the sinking plane. That man was Arland D. Williams.
Arland was neither a politician nor a public figure. He was not a C-level executive or a commander in the army but he was a hero.
About twenty minutes after the crash, a U.S. Park Police chopper came to the rescue.
It dropped a life ring right into the hands of one of the survivors and plucked him from the water.
Arland Willimas was the next person to receive the life ring, but he handed it over to someone else instead of using it himself.
He repeatedly handed over the life ring until all the other five survivors were rescued from the ice-choked water.
When the chopper came back seconds later to get him out of the water, Arland had vanished beneath the ice.
This is what true leadership is about. It is not about your title or your position, it is about your sacrifice.
Start practicing the Law of Sacrifice
The problem today is that we have leaders who want the gain but not the pain, they want the position but don’t want the opposition, they love the perks but not the pangs, and they want to be at the top but don’t want to be the topic.
So, what can you begin to do from today to practice the law of sacrifice?
- Understand that life is a series of trades. For everything you gain, you lose something; for everything you lose, you gain something. It’s how the law of sacrifice works, you cannot have it all.
- Start sacrificing more than others. When you become a leader, you lose the right to think about yourself. Start putting others ahead of yourself. You must be willing and ready to sacrifice more than the people you lead.
- The higher you go as a leader, the greater your sacrifice. If you have ever been to an auction, you will realize that as the price of an item goes higher and higher, the bidders get fewer and fewer. In the end, only one person is willing to pay the highest price to win the bid. It is the same in leadership, the higher you want to go as a leader, the more you must be willing to sacrifice.
- Learn to eat last. Jesus Christ sets an example for his followers that they should be eager to serve others and not wait to be served by others. You become great by counting how many people you serve, not how many people serve you.
The world needs great leaders that are worth following, you can be one of those leaders if you can start practicing the law of sacrifice.