Do you tap into all the offerings of your public library?
What other resources are at your fingertips that you could re-engage with?
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.
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.
Listening is not an option in leadership.
Here are 4 dangers of choosing not to listen.
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
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!
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:
What are other situations you’ve been able to serve in (without being the one in charge)?
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 …
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:
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!
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?
Most days I don’t feel old enough – or smart enough – or wise enough – to handle various situations..
There are folks who will not trust anyone until the trust is gained and proven, often multiple times.
Then there are those of us who automatically trust everyone fully and completely until the trust is broken and lost, often multiple times.
I trust until the message is loud and clear that I should not trust. Even typing these words makes me feel uncomfortable. And, for this reason, I often linger in situations where the trust is broken time and again before I’ll step back and create healthy boundaries.
I have countless hard lessons in this area with personal relationships & friendships as well as work situations. Each time I find myself learning this lesson over again, I wonder how I can possibly be so blind to what is happening and why I am so hard-headed in this area.
My mind tells me to protect myself, harden up a bit, be a little more guarded. My heart tells me to step in, to believe the best, to trust. This is a constant battle within to be vulnerable to others while maintaining a healthy respect for myself.
So, my friends, where do you fall on the trust spectrum? Do you need proof to trust? Or, do you need to face the difficult situations to give less trust? What are you intentionally doing to grow in this area?
Being misunderstood is inevitable. These words from Carey Nieuwhof passed my eyes and resonated deep in my heart at a particularly challenging time. Note to self: I’m not the only one who feels this way!!
At some point, every leader will be misunderstood.
People will say things about you behind your back (or to your face) that aren’t true.
People will judge your motives and get it wrong.
Sometimes you’ll only be allowed to say certain things in public,
not because you’re being secretive, but because revealing all the information
would make others look bad or would be breaking confidence.
So instead, you look bad.
That’s just the territory of leadership.
Leadership is a bit like parenting.
You have to do the right thing even if it’s not the popular thing.
Our phones open a world of information and opportunity for us … let’s not miss the world that is right in front of us. Our spouses, children, extended family, friends, neighbors, teams – the people God has blessed us with – let’s give them the actual face time they need. Let’s nurture our in-person relationships.
Sunday. Such an important day on so many levels in church world. It’s not fun beginning the day already tired.
Such was today. As I was getting ready this morning, I was reviewing the list in my head of all the things that would take place over the next 7 hours. The many details I needed to tend to, people I needed to check in with, questions that needed to be answered and extras that this day was to hold … all the while leaving room for unexpected requests and situations. I was exhausted just thinking of these things and really wanted to crawl back under the covers.
‘Tis the season for allergies to kick in so the cough, puffy eyes and scratchy voice made starting the day extra challenging. And, oh by the way, remember you are doing the announcements in first service – can you turn the mic up, please?!?
My Internal Dialogue went something like this: Are you sure you are feeling well enough to go to church today? No, but I have to. Do you want to go to church today? Honestly? Not really, but I have to. If you weren’t on staff, would you go to church today? Probably not. Then why are you going to church today? Listen, self, it’s time to switch gears! I GET to go to church today!! I GET to be on staff! I have responsibilities that only I can do today. I WANT to do them! Breath deep, finish your hair and let’s go …
Leadership pep talks. Often come from within. On those days when I am tired from the beginning, the days when I am beyond frustrated, the days when I just don’t think I can do another day of leading, these are the days that I must dig deep. I must change my internal dialogue. I must acknowledge my calling, my responsibility and the privilege that I have to serve in this capacity of leadership.
Does that immediately take away the fatigue? No. But, it does bring me to the point of embracing the day and all that it will hold. And, 9 times out of 10, the excitement and adrenaline that kicks in carries me well past what I thought I was capable of.
In the end, today was even busier than I had originally thought it was going to be. There were some big unexpected situations and conversations. And, on top of everything, I locked my keys and phone in my office after everyone had left.
I just thought I was tired at the beginning of the morning. I had no idea!! God knew. He prepared. He equipped. He sustained. Not in my strength, but His.
Looking for a read that will speak deeply to your soul?
This book will likely do it!!
For me, Soul Detox by Craig Groeschel impacted me on a deep level and caused me to reflect in areas that had not been tended to in a long time.