FAB FOUR!

... 4 quick leadership bits for your Friday ...

ONE
No money, No team?  Likely all of us at one point or another.
Check out these great words from Carey Nieuwhof.

TWO
“Never play the hero in the story. Play the guide.
The purpose of the leader is to be the guide, not the hero.”
– Donald Miller
#leadercast17

THREE
Have time to sneak in a great October conference?
Check out this family ministry conference!

FOUR
Do you ask for help?  Most of us try not to at all costs (that’s for another post …).
Here’s a great read with some practical help-asking encouragement.

FAB FOUR!

... 4 quick leadership bits for your Friday ...

ONE
Want to challenge yourself?
Here are 10 questions to reflect on.

TWO
Something special for Sunday!!!
The 27th is National Just Because Day.
Think of a fun way to celebrate your team … just because!!

THREE
Annual Volunteer Training is in full-swing in many places.  Thinking past the “big event” in August or September, here are other ways to train year-round.

FOUR
Anyone else guilty of this or is it just me?!!?

FAB FOUR!

... 4 quick leadership bits for your Friday ...

ONE
Jason Young’s web site is a great one to check out … he’s all about leadership growth and shares much encouragement as well as challenge.

TWO
What are your plans for Monday?  The Great American Eclipse is happening!  A local meteorologist put together some great info … be sure to be in the know, enjoy the experience and stay safe.

THREE
Say what??
Listening is not an option in leadership.
Here are 4 dangers of choosing not to listen.

FOUR
You may be one friend away from a better marriage.
You may be one confession away from overcoming an addiction.
You may be one conversation away from getting in better shape.
You may be one introduction away from climbing out of the doldrums.
You may be one mentor away from becoming a better leader.
It’s not too late to connect with someone who will change your future.
– Craig Groeschel

FAB FOUR!

... 4 quick leadership bits for your Friday ...

ONE
How secure are you in your leadership?
Here are some ways to measure that

TWO
Anything that we INTEND to do requires us to be INTENTIONAL!

THREE
A suggestion to add to your leadership listening library.
The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast is a great one!

FOUR

FAB FOUR!

... 4 quick leadership bits for your Friday ...

ONE
“I’m so busy” … 5 great reasons to avoid that phrase!

TWO
To handle yourself, use your head;
to handle others, use your heart.
Eleanor Roosevelt

THREE
Read this week & definitely recommend!

FOUR
Desire to be an exceptional leader?  Here are 7 traits to reflect on and use as growth areas.

My Top 5 Reasons for an A.M. Walk

... vs. later in the day ...

A (big) part of leading myself well is taking care of this one and only body that God has given me. I’m the only one who can. I’m the only one who will.  So, I MUST!!  And, at the top of my self-care list is regular Monday-Friday early morning walks with my neighbor.  (and, just like that, I’ve combined some exercise with some social time!)
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As much as I love my pillow and dislike my alarm clock, I have proven to myself why I really do prefer my 45-minute walk to be in the early morning rather than later on a summer day.
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  1. The sun in the South is very hot later in the day.  The a.m. cool(ish)ness is much preferred!
  2. In the morning, I haven’t consumed several glasses of tea.  By the afternoon, I almost need a potty break mid-walk!!
  3. The neighbor’s dog walks with us.  In the afternoon, she really wants to lay down multiple times in the shade … I almost would have joined her. Did I mention that sun is hot?!?
  4. I prefer to “get ready” (shower, make-up, hair) just 1 time per day.  A walk later in the day creates the need for a 2nd of everything and I just don’t like spending that much time looking in the mirror.  Pre-shower in the a.m. with a hat is definitely my first choice.
  5. An A.M. walk helps me wake up … better yet, I’ve walked over half of the hills before I’m fully awake and not as aware of the incline.  Later in the day, awake and watching every approaching hill with dread!
  6. (bonus!) My Fitbit showing high step count early in the day is very encouraging.  Some days, when combined with early morning yard work, I have most of my 10,000 steps in by 8:30!
How about you?  How are you leading yourself well in the area of physical care?  What are some of your exercise preferences?

FAB FOUR!

... 4 quick leadership bits for your Friday ...

ONE
Are you a healthy leader?  Check out these 25 signs to know areas you’re doing great with and areas that need to be worked on.

TWO
“The highest calling of leadership is to unlock the potential of others.”
– Carly Fiorina

THREE
Just finished!  Angela Duckworth’s Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.  Good read and highly recommend.

FOUR
If you need consistent doses of humor in your week, you really should follow John Crist.
H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S!!

Here’s a little sample for a Friday chuckle … and seriously, y’all, the sports clips are too funny!

FAB FOUR!

... 4 quick leadership bits for your Friday ...

ONE
If we are actively seeking to grow & learn every single day,
we can say with confidence:
“I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.”

TWO
Do you hire staff or recruit volunteers with their EQ in mind?
Here are 4 great questions to ask during the interview process.

THREE
Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast is a great one to consider adding to your listening learning & growing time!

FOUR
Annoying habits?  Me?  Surely not!  Well, yep … we all have them.  The key is to identify and eliminate as often as we can.  This article is a good prompt for that.

When I Say I Read …

Readers are Leaders …

I’ve heard that for years.  It’s true.  As part of my personal self-leadership, I am always in a book.  I will share these with you from time to time and give honest feedback.  But, I also want to give a disclaimer and an explanation …

When I say I “read a book,” 95% of the time I will have actually listened to the book!!  Without apology, that is my preferred reading style during this season of life.  It hasn’t always been and may not continue, but for now, I’m loving my audio books.

For the past 4 years since becoming an avid book “listener,” I have averaged over 40 books per year.  That’s a lot of reading.  I can guarantee that it is way more than if I had solely relied on consuming books in their paper version.

It’s interesting the occasional criticism that I receive.  Some believe to their core that listening to a book is not really reading and that it is somehow cheating.  I was told once that I had misrepresented myself and my reading habits.  Without being (too) sassy, I kindly asked the person how many books he/she had read in the past year.  Enough said and that was the end of the conversation!

My goal in reading a book is not to highlight important lines or take notes or dog-ear the pages.  If any of those were important to me, listening would not be such a good idea.

My goal is exposure and consumption.  My goal is to absorb all that I can from each book and figure out if/how it applies to my life.  My goal is to learn and grow and to keep on moving.

The very practical way that I accomplish this is through Amazon’s Audible and my iPhone.  I have a subscription to Audible for credits.  I keep my wish list full (currently 47) of “next reads” and add titles whenever I hear great ones recommended.  Adding a book to my cart, making the purchase, and having it sync to my phone happens in just a matter of moments.  And, just like, that I’m reading my next book.

So, how about you?  What’s your preferred method of reading?  Paper copy?  E-book?  Audio?

Most importantly, what are you currently reading???  Leaders are Readers!

Serve.

... one of the best ways to develop as a leader

SERVE.

Leaders who strive to be life-long learners are constantly ready for the next great book, anxious to hear the upcoming podcast, available to attend the new conference and always looking for ways to grow.

An often overlooked ‘best practice’ for leadership growth is through serving opportunities.  Seriously.

This particular “serving” that I’m referring to involves the leader putting herself in the position NOT to lead.  Just by virtue of the way leaders are wired, this can be a challenge to find such opportunities.  I promise they exist because I am committed to finding them and have involved myself in many.

I specifically look for situations where I can truly be the volunteer, be the one who asks the questions, be the one who doesn’t know the answers or have the plan or have the lists.  On one level, there is a very personal motivation to give of myself.  There is also such a huge potential to learn as a volunteer how to better equip and communicate with volunteers.

Here are just a few examples from my personal experience:

  • Mission Trips.
  • Conferences.
  • Disaster Relief Call-Outs.
  • Local Food Pantries.
  • Town-Sponsored Events.
  • Elementary School Reading Programs & Events.

What are other situations you’ve been able to serve in (without being the one in charge)?

 

FAB FOUR!

... 4 quick leadership bits for your Friday ...

ONE
Do these 10 traits of a high character leader describe you?
Which one(s) do you need to strengthen?

TWO
Today is the Friday before the 4th of July … hope you’re planning some downtime of some sort.  Whether a large gathering with friends/family, a quiet day at home, fireworks or the beach, I hope you enjoy the day!  If you’re on Pinterest, here’s my board of red/white/blue food & fun.  Happy 4th, y’all!!

THREE
I often scribble down quotes and such when I hear them.  I failed to note the source of this one, but it is a current favorite and one to ponder!
……….. If you are a leader & not self-aware, you are an accident looking for an intersection………..

FOUR
A leader works at keeping all areas of life in check … finances is a biggie for many.  Whether you are struggling, needing some suggestions or simply want to stay the course, Dave Ramsey is the guy!  We regularly listen to his daily show (via podcast) and learn answers to questions we didn’t know we even had.  We stay encouraged and challenged and focused.  Watch or listen here!

FAB FOUR!

... 4 quick leadership bits for your Friday ...

ONE
Conference Time!  Planning to attend Global Leadership Summit 2017?
Here’s a great word on 6 themes you can expect this year.

TWO
Shipwreck.  Not a good thing.  Watch out for these 3 lies in leadership.

THREE
Another great podcast to add to your regular learning-on-the-go:
Craig Groeschel’s Leadership Podcast.

FOUR
Small things add up and become big things!

FAB FOUR!

... 4 quick leadership bits for your Friday ...

ONE
A good reminder!
Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today. (Will Rogers)

TWO
A word on finishing well may be just what you need in this
season of life.

THREE
Are you unintentionally killing your momentum?
Here’s a list of 8 things to avoid.

FOUR
Need suggestions for that summer reading list?
Check out the Read to Lead Podcast.

School’s Out!!!

Remember the last day of school in an elementary grade?
Excitement about carefree summer days, a family beach trip, a week at grandma’s house …

What about the last day of an upper grade?
Dreams of time with friends, extra late nights, summer jobs …

Regardless of the grade, the last day of school typically meant no more homework!  No more studying!  No more tests!  No more school … in essence, summer-mode would equal no more learning!!!  Freedom.

Then (finally), graduation.  From high school.  From college.
Moving on to Real Life.

Somehow, in all the efforts our teachers made to instill learning as a life-time process, most of us came out on the other side with the mindset that we were finished with learning.  Afterall, we had been tested on absolutely everything we were supposed to know.  We would no longer be tested.  We must be done learning, right??

How very wrong.  And, how very sad.

Real Life.  Leadership.  Let the MOST LEARNING EVER begin!!!

Earlier posts have referred frequently to the concept of self-leadership.  And, in a nut shell, that is speaking to the life-long-learning process that each of us must monitor for ourselves.  Life is our teacher.  There will be tests of all sorts.  We must manage our learning, our growth, our progress to be ready for all that life and leadership will send our way.

So, as children everywhere are plotting and planning a summer full of lazy days with toes in the water, let us be just as diligent.

Here are a few great summer questions for leaders:

  • What is on my summer reading list?
  • What area of my own communication do I need to strengthen?
  • What local leader do I need to have lunch with to learn from?
  • What podcast should I begin listening to?
  • What are 2 practical ways I can be more generous?
  • What do I need to delegate?

Make it fun!  Summer doesn’t have to be boring just because we are in Real Life & Real Leadership … go put your toes in the water as you ponder these questions.  Take a hike in the woods as you listen to that new podcast.  Try a different restaurant when you meet with that local leader.

Model margin to your team and enjoy these extra warm months called summer as you continue learning & growing!

 

FAB FOUR!

... 4 quick leadership bits for your Friday ...

ONE
The Global Leadership Summit 2017 is happening all over the world on August 10 & 11.  There is a site near you and this is a conference that you don’t want to miss!  Register before 5/23 to take advantage of the early bird savings.

TWO
5 phrases to avoid that are potentially killing your leadership.

THREE
Would YOU want to attend the meetings you lead??
Take a look at these tips that may give a breath of fresh air to the next session with your team.

FOUR
If you’re married, consider taking this challenge over the weekend.
Your spouse will appreciate this more than you can know!

A Job (not!) Well Done

… there’s the clean floor … and then there is stuff under the rug!! 
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First impressions are not always correct.  On this particular day, if you stopped by for a visit, you would find a fairly clean and tidy place that we live in.  But, please don’t look under my rug.  Not only do I not clean under it regularly, I may have been known to sweep a little extra underneath from time to time.  Reason?  Laziness.  Just too plain lazy to walk in the other room and grab the dustpan so that I could do the job completely.
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The same thing can happen with our leadership … particularly in the manner we lead ourselves.
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What is currently under the rug of your self-leadership?
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Have a book only half-finished?
Need to follow-up with a mentor?
Been meaning to listen to that great podcast someone recommended?
What about that journal that hasn’t been updated in 6 months?
Wish for deeper time in scripture?
Need a personal retreat?
Been saying yes to the wrong things?
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The fact is that my floors under the rug will not clean themselves.  I must choose to make it happen.  So, I tell you what!  I’m going to sweep under my rug today.  I am deciding that for this day, for this task, I shall fight with Lazy and I shall win.
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What about you?  What choices will you make today? What step toward leading yourself better are you going to tackle on this day??
Make it so.
Those you lead are counting on you and need you to do this.

FAB FOUR

ONE
Today is Good Friday.
This Passion Medley by Sandi Patty provides for 10 minutes of special worship on this day.  Personally, listening rather than watching was most impactful.

TWO
Whether or not you are one, we all work with them!!
Here are 6 tips to working with extrovert leaders.

THREE
“I become the best version of myself when I must give my very best each day.” (Tim Elmore)

FOUR
Ladies!  The next Take Five experiences are happening in May.  This unique leadership conference for women in ministry is designed with group and individual sessions containing great content as well as ample time to process and relax.  Details here!!

How Sweet Is Your Lemonade?

We’ve all heard the phrase: When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.  It can seem trite, even callous in the moment, but is a statement of encouraging truth.

A question comes out of that phrase though – How SWEET is your lemonade once you’ve made it?  I’m not sure what your taste buds are like, but mine definitely appreciate sweetness.  Anything from M&Ms to Rocky Road Ice Cream to Southern Sweet Tea makes my taste buds smile in a big way.  Tartness just doesn’t work well in my mouth.

Tartness doesn’t really work well in leadership either.  When we are given lemons, which can be very frequently, we all end up making lemonade.  We all deal with the situation in some form or fashion.  The great part is that we get to choose the level of sweetness of that lemonade!!  How freeing is that??!?

I get to choose my response to that lemon-y situation or email or person or decision.  I get to decide the tone of my words, the look on my face, the conduct of my body language, and the way I move forward in the moment.

Will I be curt or kind?

Will I spout off the first thing that comes to mind or ask a clarifying question?

Will I think of only myself or consider where the other person is coming from?

Will I wince and fold my arms or keep open palms and a pleasant face?

Will I say ‘no’ automatically or will I hold my response until I have considered all the options?

When life hands me lemons … and there are lots of lemons in all of our futures … I choose, to the best of my ability, to make sweet lemonade.  Life and leadership are just better with more sweetness and less tartness.

How about you?
What are you going to choose to do with those lemons?

Going Deeper

Current book I’m in:  Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success In A Distracted World by Cal Newport … oh my goodness!!!  Not quite at the half-way point and it is rocking my world.

According to Newport, deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.  No doubt I could use more focus and less distraction!

From my reading to this point, there are several things I know I must decide:

  1. If I want my life to matter (and, I do!), am I willing to do deep work to make it happen?
  2. What shallow work is currently in my life?  And, am I willing to make adjustments in those areas?
  3. How am I going to practically pursue deep work in my weekly schedule?

So, for starters, I am certain that there are multiple Social Media habits that fall into the shallow work category that I will adjust.  I am choosing to quit Twitter before I even begin … this was something that I honestly thought I had to do for business purposes.  I’m choosing otherwise.  I’ll also be evaluating Facebook time – not eliminating it, just scaling back the hours.  yes, hours … 🙁

On purpose, I have used the words “decide” and “choose” multiple times.  I’m thrilled that pursuing things like deep work are totally in my control.

Now I’m headed off to increased deep work … off to strengthened leadership … off to finish that book!!!

Unspoken Thank-You’s

Gratitude is an area that all of us should work to strengthen … whether it comes naturally or not!!
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I am soooo guilty of having way more gratitude in my heart than I take time to express.  I may even be the world’s worst in this area. (not kidding!)
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There have been dozens of times that I have literally written an entire thank you card in my head and never stopped to write and send those words.
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May I confess something even worse than that?  While cleaning out a “stack of papers” a few years ago, I discovered a really great thank-you card that I had written.  The words said perfectly what I intended.  I was even touched by my own words of thanks!  And, yet, there it was in a big bunch of papers … never sent.   For all that I believe about the value of expressing gratitude, that is an ultimate fail.  My sweet friend never knew how very much I appreciated her.
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What’s my problem?
» I have plenty of cute cards.
» I have a ton to thank others for.
» I have a heart overflowing with love and gratitude.
» I have words formed in my head.
» I have a zillion purple pens to write with.
» I have addresses at my fingertips.
» I have stamps ready for the occasion.
» I keep a list of folks that need to receive a card.
» I even have fairly decent handwriting!!
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My goodness, just really slack in this area.  No excuses.  Maybe I should even classify it as lazy.
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Because I believe that we are never finished products (thank goodness!), I have a new determination to grow in this area.  My goal for the next few months will be to write … and MAIL … one note of thanks per week.  I’ll let you know how that goes.
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What about you, fellow leader?  How do you do in this area?  Do you have any great tips for the rest of us??